The Library Book Review
“The reading of the book was a journey. There was no need for souvenirs.”
The Library Book by Susan Orlean *
Three days after the melt down of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 , the Los Angeles Central Library was set on fire. The fire burned for over 7 hours in the four library stacks; destroying 400,000 books and damaging another 700,000 volumes.
This devastating event was overshadowed by the horrific news pouring out Russia about the ongoing nuclear crisis. However, for those involved, the patrons who were there, the librarians who wept as the watched the building burn, and the firefighters who bravely persisted in rescuing hundreds of thousand books and priceless art, photographs, and artifacts, the fire forever changed them.
From the wreckage, the City of Los Angeles, rebuilt the library collection, restored the historic building, and strengthened the community that existed there.
Susan Orleans walks through the history of one of America’s largest library systems - from humble beginnings as a members only reading room to the modern 72 branch system it is today. With a focus on the catastrophic events that almost closed the Central Library of LA, Susan Orleans delivers a heart-warming tale of the impact of hope following tragedy.
A moving work of non-fiction that will renew your love of libraries and open you eyes to the services that public libraries bring to the communities they serve.
Although Susan Orlean’s privilege is apparent in her description of the homeless and hard-stricken citizens of LA, she owns it and grapples with her preconceived notions of the library patrons that so many avoid while perusing the shelves. She sheds light on the invaluable hope and solace that libraries bring to people of all walks of life.
I thought that I was getting the tale of the library that burned without notice or attention. What I ended up with was a passionate love-letter to the libraries and librarians that persevere through economic recessions, bouts of religious righteousness , and relentless under appreciation.
If you are a lover of libraries, this book will speak to your soul. Not without it’s problems…tangents and seemingly irrelevant facts but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who has ever been to a library and felt grateful for it’s simple existence.
Have you read The Library Book? Tell me what you thought in the comments below and leave your recommendations for my next read!
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