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The Library Book Hardcover – 2 Feb 2012

26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (2 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781250057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781250051
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 2.2 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A library is not a luxury, it is a necessity (Henry Ward Beecher)

When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equaliser (Keith Richards)

Book Description

Famous writers on libraries real or imagined, past and future; why libraries matter and to whom.

In aid of The Reading Agency

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a fascinating collection of essays about the importance of libraries. Even though I used to be a librarian myself nearly forty years ago I have felt recently that libraries have lost the plot and in some cases have ceased to provide a good service. Maybe things need shaking up and changing but having read this book I am completely opposed to closures of libraries. I believe they are absolutely essential to our society today.

If you have always been well off and able to afford to buy books then maybe you do not realise what it's like to live in a house with no books and no prospect of buying any. I was brought up by parents who enjoyed reading but who didn't own a large collection of books. As a family we visited the library on a regular basis and it was a highlight of my life. I too remember spending happy hours in Armley Public library in Leeds as did Alan Bennet who recalls his childhood and student life in and around Leeds in his contribution to this book. I too spent a great deal of time in Leeds City Reference Library - often reading about King Richard III, when I should have been writing essays on other subjects entirely.

I agree with Seth Godin `the scarce resource is knowledge and insight, not access to data'. He makes a powerful case for librarians to be regarded as guides and gatekeepers providing information and insight not just acting as forbidding custodians to the resources of their libraries. Books can change lives as demonstrated by Stephen Fry when as a boy of thirteen he read about the trials of Oscar Wilde. Books can inspire people to make huge changes in their lives and they can inspire children to gain qualifications even though their parents may not encourage them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ReaderWriter on 17 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
On first glance, this collection of essays by famous people about why they love libraries is the kind of book that could easily turn out to be terrible reading.

Except it isn't.

These pieces are all written by people with a genuine passion for libraries and fond memories associated with these havens of books.

If you need convincing further, read the list of contributors. From Britain's National Treasure Stephen Fry to the Grand Dame of Thriller Writing, Val McDermid to Manic Street Preachers' Lyricist Nicky Wire - every single one writing about their love of a library.

Read it, enjoy it and share the library-love!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Anna on 5 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you have ever benefited from a library in any way, shape or form you will love this book. The collection of stories and personal library experiences will make you laugh, smile and most of all want to jump up, dig out your dusty library card and go and explore your local library. At least that's how it made me feel! I loved it, definitely would recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 20 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Libraries gave us power! This collection of essays and short stories is, as these collections usually are, a mixed bag - some are very slight indeed, but most are good and some excellent - Alan Bennett's stands out. The essays are split between childhood memories of libraries and thoughts on what libraries could and should be in the future, but a sense of urgency unites them all. Libraries are under threat and this collection serves as a call to arms against the neoliberal / barbarian hordes who would have them closed. As one of the contributors says, "we need to shift our national view of libraries not as luxuries, but as necessities".
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By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
This collection of twenty-three essays and short stories celebrates the influence and importance of libraries. It was written as part of an initiative to secure greater funding for public libraries in the United Kingdom. Some persons, places, and events referenced by the authors will be unfamiliar to an American reader. But the book transcends its original purpose and can be entertaining and informative to readers and borrowers outside of the UK.

Some of my favorite chapters are:

Alan Bennett's "Baffled at a Bookcase" contains some well-chosen excerpts, such as this one from "Me, I'm Afraid of Virginia Wolf": "Hopkins was never without a book. It wasn't that he was particularly fond of reading; he just liked to have somewhere to look. A book makes you safe. Shows you're not out to pick anybody up. Try it on. With a book you're harmless. Though Hopkins was harmless without a book."

Seth Godin's "The Future of the Library" praises librarians as much more than custodians of books. "The librarian isn't a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user."

China Mieville's "The Booksteps" accompanies a girl who comes to school prepared for a visit to the library. Over-prepared, it seems at first.

Tom Holland's "The Library of Babylon" begins with a discussion of Jorge Luis Borges' "Library of Babel." The author then describes the historical library of Babylon and leads readers on a tour of other famous historical libraries. He lends depth to our sometimes simplistic view of libraries as unassuming buildings full of cluttered bookshelves.

Not all of the offerings are as entertaining.
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