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Excellent . . . Tracks the history of that greatest of all cultural institutions. --The Washington Post Libraries are much more than mere collections of volumes. The best are magical, fabled places whose fame has become part of the cultural wealth they are designed to preserve. Some still exist today; some are lost, like those of Herculaneum and Alexandria; some have been sold or dispersed; and some never existed, such as those libraries imagined by J.R.R. Tolkien, Umberto Eco, and Jorge Luis Borges, among others. Ancient libraries, grand baroque libraries, scientific libraries, memorial libraries, personal libraries, clandestine libraries: Stuart Kells tells the stories of their creators, their prizes, their secrets, and their fate. To research this book, Kells traveled around the world with his young family like modern-day "Library Tourists." Kells discovered that all the world's libraries are connected in beautiful and complex ways, that in the history of libraries, fascinating patterns are created and repeated over centuries. More important, he learned that stories about libraries are stories about people, containing every possible human drama. The Library is a fascinating and engaging exploration of libraries as places of beauty and wonder. It's a celebration of books as objects, a celebration of the anthropology and physicality of books and bookish space, and an account of the human side of these hallowed spaces by a leading and passionate bibliophile.
About the Author
Stuart Kells is an author and book-trade historian. His 2015 history of Penguin Books, Penguin and the Lane Brothers, won the prestigious Ashurst Business Literature Prize. Rare, his critically acclaimed biography of Kay Craddock--the first female president of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers--was published in 2011. An authority on rare books, Kells has written and published on many aspects of print culture and the book world.