Sunday, April 29, 2018

Every Library Has a Story to Tell

The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders
Libraries, writes Stuart Kells, a historian of the book trade, are “human places … full of stories.” Kells’s new book, The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders, offers a history that begins before the written word and follows the development of book collections through the digital age. At times, he takes a lofty view. “What exactly are libraries for?” he asks, after touching on the Library of Alexandria, medieval monasteries, erotic collections, the Vatican’s closed stacks, private collections, and university libraries, along with writers’ libraries, library fauna, and other curiosities. He takes a few stabs the answer. “Libraries are an attempt to impose order in a world of chaos,” he writes. “They are places of redemption.”

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