The narrator tells the story of the Library as a kind of elegy. An elegy is a “poem of serious reflection” or a “lament for the dead.” He mourns his imminent passing, while wanting to pay homage to the Library that is his world. The story conveys the immensity and the grandiosity of the Library, but also notes the human cost of those living within its unknown, and unknowable, boundaries. The narrator knows that he is old and will die soon, noting that he cannot see the words he is writing very well, but is also determined to explain his best understanding of what the Library is and what it means to those who live there. He speaks sadly of the history of the Library, telling of the deep disappointment that befell those who desperately sought out the “Vindications” they believed must exist, as the Library contains every book that can exist. He expresses some anger at the “infidels” who have come to insist that the Library is nonsensical, but overall his tone is wistful and affectionate, in the same way it is possible to romanticize one’s hometown without ever wanting to return. He fears that the number of deaths is rising every year, both from suicides and violence between competing sects, but he is calmly certain that the Library will continue to exist with or without the people wandering the galleries.