In an effort to subtly promote the “Vote Yes for the Library” campaign while not crossing any ethical lines, I decided to create a small display called “Love Your Library” that lives at the reference desk of the Lawrence Public Library. It was fun to see what we had in our collection that could count; here’s what ended up on the display (As always, pix and synopses are adapted from WorldCat, Goodreads, & Amazon):
|America’s Library: The Story of the Library of Congress, 1800-2000
The American Library of Congress holds over 110 million items — many of them unique and priceless — and this charts the history of the Library and its holdings, from its initial 740-book collection begun in 1800 to its miles of bookshelves today. Vintage photos and illustrations pack a presentation which is a must for anyone who digs American book history.
|Book by Book
Drawing on sources as diverse as Dr. Seuss and Simone Weil, P. G. Wodehouse and Isaiah Berlin, Pulitzer Prizewinning critic Michael Dirda shows how the wit, wisdom, and enchantment of the written word informs and enriches nearly every aspect of life, from education and work to love and death. Organized by significant life events and abounding with quotations from great writers and thinkers, Book by Book showcases Dirda’s capacious love for and understanding of books.
What to read next is every book lover’s greatest dilemma. Nancy Pearl comes to the rescue with this wide-ranging and fun guide to the best reading new and old. Pearl has devised 170 thematic reading lists that cater to every mood, occasion, and personality. These annotated lists cover such topics as science for nonscientists, mysteries of all stripes, African-American fiction from a female point of view, books on bicycling, “chick-lit,” and many more.
|Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Dewey is the story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa, as told by Vicki Myron, the librarian who found him in the book drop on a frigid January morning when he was abandoned as a kitten. It is also the story of a small town which was almost shuttered during the farm crisis of the 1980s, before regrouping and rededicating itself to small town American values.
|Great Books For Every Book Lover: 2002 Great Suggestions for the Discriminating Bibliophile
Can’t decide what to read? Imagine a list of the greatest books described in concise, insightful and witty profiles to browse in search of the next perfect read. 2002 Great Books for Every Book Lover offers all this and more, reviewing each book with the wit and wisdom of a seasoned book critic in this unique reference that belongs in every bibliophile’s library. Indexes make it easy to find books by subject, title or author.
|The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
Part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), The Know-It-All chronicles NPR contributor A. J. Jacob’s hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to read the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z. The Know-It-All recounts the unexpected and comically descriptive effects Operation Encyclopedia has on every part of Jacobs’ life — his project tests the outer limits of his stamina and forces him to explore the real meaning of intelligence as he endeavors to join Mensa, win a spot on Jeopardy!, and absorb 33,000 pages of learning.
It begins so innocently when Goldberg starts moonlighting for an eccentric, aging conservative billionaire whose final wish is to leave behind a memorial library about himself. But the most memorable thing about him is a secret that must never be revealed — he’s part of a plot to steal the presidential election in the event that Augustus Winthrop Scott seems likely to lose. It’s one of those moments when knowledge is a dangerous thing, and the men with the guns want to kill the fellow indexing the archives.
|Library: An Unquiet History
On the survival and destruction of knowledge, from Alexandria to the Internet. Matthew Battles, a rare books librarian and a gifted narrator, takes us on a spirited foray from Boston to Baghdad, from classical scriptoria to medieval monasteries, from the Vatican to the British Library, from socialist reading rooms and rural home libraries to the Information Age.
|The Library at Night
Manguel, a guide of irrepressible enthusiasm, conducts a unique library tour that extends from his childhood bookshelves to the “complete” libraries of the Internet, from Ancient Egypt to the Arab world, from China to Google. He ponders the doomed library of Alexandria as well as the personal libraries of Charles Dickens, Jorge Luis Borges, and others. Oral “memory libraries” kept alive by prisoners, libraries of banned books, the imaginary library of Count Dracula, the library of books never written — Manguel illuminates the mysteries of libraries as no other writer could.
|Library Confidential: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangastas in the Public Library
Not long ago, the public library was a place for the bookish, eggheaded, and studious — often seeking refuge from a loud, irrational, crude, outside world. Today, libraries have become free-for-all entertainment complexes filled with rowdy teens, deviants, drugs, and even sex toys. Lockdowns and chaperones are often necessary. What happened?
Don Borchert was a short-order cook, door-to-door salesman, telemarketer, and Christmas-tree-chopper before landing a job in a California library. He never could have predicted his encounters with the colorful kooks, touching adolescents, threatening bullies, and tricksters who fill the pages of this hilarious memoir.
|Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love
Is a book the same book—or a reader the same reader—the second time around? The seventeen authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never. The editor of Rereadings is Anne Fadiman, and readers of her bestselling book Ex Libris will find this volume especially satisfying. Her chosen authors include Sven Birkerts, Allegra Goodman, Vivian Gornick, Patricia Hampl, Phillip Lopate, and Luc Sante; the objects of their literary affections range from Pride and Prejudice to Sue Barton, Student Nurse.
In this dark comedy of petty office politics in a library, it’s the head librarian versus the fresh-out-of-rehab book shelver in an all-out, deadly war of the wills. This film proves that everyone has an expiration date. May the best woman win this war of catfights, false accusations and competing story time circles.
|This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
This Book Is Overdue! is a romp through the ranks of information professionals. Blunt and obscenely funny bloggers spill their stories in these pages, as do a tattooed, hard-partying children’s librarian; a fresh-scrubbed Catholic couple who teaches missionaries to use computers; the quiet, law-abiding librarians gagged by the FBI; and a boxing archivist. These are just a few of the visionaries Johnson captures here, pragmatic idealists who fuse the tools of the digital age with their love for the written word and the enduring values of free speech, open access, and scout-badge-quality assistance to anyone in need.
I was dismayed to learn that we don’t own Quiet Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian , by Scott Douglas of McSweeny’s notoriety, but I did submit a request for purchase. Hopefully a copy will be arriving soon!