Some in Thalassa would argue that the Great Library is the heart of the republic and the real treasure of Sidonius’ dream. The Library arguably contains the sum of the knowledge that the Hundred brought with them plus massive additions contributed through the years by priests, wizards, bards and adventurers of all kinds.
The Library not only contains knowledge in the form of books and scrolls, it also contains rare artifacts, artwork, plans, diaries, and ephemera of all kinds that have a historical or academic impact. Over 750,000 works are held in the main stacks, with others of highest value or rarity found deeper in the labyrinthine chambers of the original library structure.
At any one time, a thousand academics, wizards, priests or laypersons of all kinds are in the library, perusing its materials. To support this, there is a staff dedicated to the maintenance of collection and its visitors. First are the Order of Clerks who help visitors, maintain the grounds, update the public chambers, and more. There are professional clerks as well as young apprentices who eventually leave for other careers including priests and especially bards. Second are the Order of Academics, who study the collection and draw insights from what they learn. Experts in their particular area, Academics use the library to create secondary knowledge, write treatises, and assist visitors (within reason) with their expertise and deep understanding. Some academics (lower-case) are visitors only to the library, others professional, and still others former Librarians who have left the ascetic life, but still are dedicated to the Library.
Lastly are the Order of Librarians. The soul of the Library, the aptly-named Librarians rarely if ever interact with the outside world except when gathering knowledge. They many times live and die in the Library compound with few outsiders ever knowing their names. The maintenance of the collection is to them a holy obligation and a spiritual journey. Librarians are dedicated to the attainment of pure knowledge within and without. Most are orphans taken in at a young age. They are usually helpful to visitors, but that is not their primary function. Rumors abound about these ascetics, where they came from, and what they do day to day. What is known is they copy unique volumes every day in extreme detail, deliver volumes to the Clercs or Academics from the deep chambers and even journey from time to time to acquire new and rare works. While the Academics are experts in a field of knowledge, the Librarians are exports in organization, discipline, and the wisdom acquired from a vast exposure to knowledge. They rarely marry, or if they do they often leave the Order, becoming Academics or Clerks. Only the inner circle of Librarians know the deep secrets of Sidonius’ plan for certain it is rumored. From time to time, Librarians retreat to the hills for solitude or do the opposite and join adventuring parties to gain new knowledge. Their martial expertise, unarmed even, is legend. Some are retained by patricians or even in the Periphery realms as advisors. Unlike the arrival of Wizards, which is oft times seen as a bad omen, the arrival of a Librarian is seen as a happy omen to the Outlanders.
The Library is governed by the Directorate with four members each from the three Orders. When there is an opening, the remaining eleven vote for the best candidate in the appropriate Order, not the most senior. One is named Director-General for participation in the government – this is almost never a Librarian. The three most senior Librarians, usually former members of the Directorate, serve as the Guardians of the Vault of Ages. their voices carry tremendous weight. No one enters the Vault without their leave.