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The Library Book Hardcover – 2 Feb 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 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 (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 221,377 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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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 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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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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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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By Bluecashmere. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The contents are all in a good cause and probably worth the price for the Alan Bennett contribution alone. Not all the entries are by any means as entertaining or illuminating, but overall a pleasant little book – and it is a slender volume – suited to a quick browse before sleep arrives. Nonetheless, despite a feeling that I should be charitable, I can’t help suspecting that with a little more energy the publishers might have found more lively contributors.
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
When I read the comment, "I have, thanks to twenty years of more-or-less frenzied purchasing, more books than I can now read in a lifetime," (Lucy Mangan) then I know I am in company I understand. This collection of essays, memoirs and stories, are a plea to value and keep our libraries. There are twenty three well known writers who have partipated in this book and they are often amusing, but always with a serious point to make. Several make the point that they owe their career to their local libraries. Val McDermid claims that "being a reader turned me into a writer," and the library is always viewed as a haven, a place of amusement, a place of study, a place of wonder.

In my own life I have worked in libraries, educational rather than local, but I know they are cherished places. They are where I took my own children as toddlers for their first experience of storytime and baby rhyme time sessions. Places I myself studied in, before helping students myself as a librarian. I am a mother, a reading mentor and an obsessive reader. There is a lot to be said not only for keeping libraries open, but for keeping them local. In my own area, we are seeing the closure of small, local libraries and the opening of central libraries. However, Zadie Smith makes the essential point that, "I know I would never have seen a single university library if I had not grown up living a hundred yards from that library in Willesden Green. Local libraries are gateways not only to other libraries, but to other lives." Central libraries require travel and for those children whose parents are not willing or able to make the effort, for the elderly, the ill and the marginalised, local services need to remain just that - within walking distance.
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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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