Did you know that February is Library Lovers’ Month? Celebrate libraries all month long with these library-themed reads. Comment below with why you love your library. We can’t wait to read your comments! Note: Descriptions are taken from the publisher.
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual false alarm. As one fireman recounted later, “Once that first stack got going, it was Goodbye, Charlie.” The fire was disastrous: It reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but over thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?
The Library: A Fragile History by Andrew Pettegree
Famed across the known world, jealously guarded by private collectors, built up over centuries, destroyed in a single day, ornamented with gold leaf and frescoes or filled with bean bags and children’s drawings – the history of the library is rich, varied and stuffed full of incident. In this, the first major history of its kind, Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen explore the contested and dramatic history of the library, from the famous collections of the ancient world to the embattled public resources we cherish today. Along the way, they introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world’s great collections, trace the rise and fall of fashions and tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanors committed in pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts.
The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer
In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world’s greatest and most brazen smugglers.
Long a site of peaceful resistance to the Assad regime, Daraya fell under siege in 2012. For four years no one entered or left, and aid was blocked. Bombs fell on this place of homes and families. A group searching for survivors stumbled upon a cache of books; in a week they had six thousand volumes; in a month fifteen thousand. A sanctuary was born: a library to escape the blockade, offering Arabic poetry, American self-help, Shakespearean plays and more. Over text messages, Minoui came to know the young men who gathered in the library, exchanged ideas, learned English, and imagined how to shape the future, even as bombs kept falling from above.
In BiblioTech, educator and technology expert John Palfrey argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. And libraries, which play a crucial role in making these skills and information available, are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible — by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online.
A History of New Jersey Libraries by Christine Keresztury
For the first time, a library history is focused on the way in which libraries of all kinds have developed within a single state. The growth of public libraries, the state library, school libraries, academic libraries, and special libraries are all considered in this one volume. New Jersey’s library history stretches back into the mid-18th century with the development of a small book collection by the colonial government. In addition to the local events that shaped the growth of libraries in New Jersey, this history also touches on the strong national trends that were at work, which link New Jersey’s development to similar occurrences in other states.
Happy Library Lovers Month!
-Jessica, Head of Adult Services & Acquisitions