Saturday, 31 March 2012

Book Review - The Library Book

Title: The Library Book
Authors: Various
Publisher: Profile Books
Release Date: 2 Feb 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1781250051

From Alan Bennett's Baffled at a Bookcase, to Lucy Mangan's Ten Library Rules, famous writers tell us all about how libraries are used and why they're important. Tom Holland writes about libraries in the ancient world, while Seth Godin describes what a library will look like in 2020. Lionel Shriver thinks books are the best investment, Hardeep Singh Kohli makes a confession and Julie Myerson remembers how her career began beside the shelves. Using memoir, history, polemic and some short stories too, The Library Book celebrates 'that place where they lend you books for free' and the people who work there. All royalties go to The Reading Agency, to help their work supporting libraries.
My Review
I don't normally read non-fiction, but this came in new to the library last week, and as a member of library staff I was interested to see what all of these authors had to say about libraries and great to see such support for them, so important in the current climates when so many are threatened with closures.
This book has 24 'chapters', each one is written by a different author and tells of their experience with libraries, how they first fell in love with the world of books and there are a couple of extracts from books.
I found it fascintating to find out how they all first encountered a library, or first found their love for books. Some are funny, some more in depth and others captivating.
I loved 'The Rules' by Lucy Mangan, her idea of what she would enforce is she ran her own library made me laugh. 
It's also interesting to hear how libraries have changed, many of them talk about big, important sometimes restricted buildings in which stern faced librarians ruled, or scholars ruled, the buildings large, intimidating. To think of the library I work in is like an entirely different world, gone is the days of silence in the libraries and children can have their choice of books, no rules on fiction/non-fiction.
This book is a great tribute to what we do and what we can offer, there are no limits to libraries, anyone can come in, borrow books, use computers, sit and look at papers, attend events. They have been around for years and should be round for many more. 
Hopefully this book will make people re-think the way they look at libraries.
It's also great that profits from the book go straight back into library funds.

My Rating


Katie Edwards said...

This was an impulse buy for me. It brought back so many memories associated with libraries over the past twentymumble years. I used to say that walking into a library was a good cure for writer's block. With so many stories held there, they must escape into the atmosphere!

barmybex said...

Katie - Being in a library is wonderful, it's like having multiple universes under one roof, the possibilities are endless- it really makes you realise that writing is the ultimate freedom, you really can write anything. I often find myself inspired whilst I'm at work in the library. :D