The Library Book

The Library Book

Book - 2018
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"Susan Orlean reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution--our libraries"-- Provided by publisher
"Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Simon and Schuster, 2018
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476740188
Characteristics: 317 pages : illustraions ; 25 cm


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Jun 16, 2019

Interesting story about the LA Public Library Fire in 1986 but I didn’t enjoy the style. It took too long to reveal the outcome of the arsonist. Some interesting history about some of the people who worked there.

VaughanPLAlison Jun 14, 2019

I'm a librarian, so this book had floated across my radar in our professional circles. What got me officially reading was a recommendation from my mother. This was a fascinating read. If you love libraries, history, personal stories, true crime, and want to celebrate libraries, the places that we gravitate towards for socializing, learning and enrichment, then this will be a read you won't soon forget.

SurreyLibrarian Jun 13, 2019

-Submitted by Kristen-
Read The Library Book by Susan Orlean! It’s an account of a fire in the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986 and its aftermath. It brings together research on arson and a suspected arsonist with a love of libraries and commentary on libraries and society. It’s suspenseful, witty and full of intriguing real life characters.

Jun 07, 2019

I have worked in libraries for over 30 years. When I saw this book arrive in our location, I knew I had to read it. I had no knowledge of this fire and the devastation it had caused. This book was a wonderful read and a mix of the history of the fire and the author's own history and her love of libraries and ready. Well worth the read, you will not be disappointed.

May 28, 2019

Orlean takes an affectionate, engrossing look at the history of the Central main library in Los Angeles; the many unique characters and events involved in its history and operation, and the circumstances surrounding the massive arson fire in 1986 that nearly destroyed it. Woven through the history are chapters detailing what life is like for those who work in the library today and how library service has both completely changed and yet remained the same. The story of the Central Library reflects both the story of Los Angeles itself and the realities of working in a modern library anywhere in the USA. As one of those latter folks, and as someone who grew up in the L.A. area, I took a particular interest in this book and found it quite fascinating.

JessicaGma May 27, 2019

It's both a love letter to the LA library that burned down in 1986 but also a good examination of the issues public libraries are fielding today. A fantastic read. One of my favourites so far this year

May 24, 2019

Using a fire at the main library in Los Angeles that was never solved, Susan Orlean takes us behind the scenes and makes us aware of all the moving parts of a large metropolitan library and then throws in the fascinating history and the characters who built the institution. If you love and revere books and libraries, you should read this!

May 08, 2019

I had seen this book on a few "must read" lists recently so I snagged my spot in line at the library (the wait-list was in the double digits when I joined it) and waited patiently. This was the first book I've read by this author, but I know it won't be my last. This was a story that was part mystery, part history. I really enjoyed it. Although I've lived in Southern California for over 13 years, I've never heard about the Los Angeles Public Library Fire in the late 80s. It burned for over 7 hours, had a heat of over 2000 degrees and damaged over a million books. Talk about a sad day in LA! The story did jump around a bit from chapter to chapter, but I really enjoyed how the book titles at the beginning of each chapter described what could be expected (super clever!). A few of the sections on past employees of the library seemed to drag a little longer than I would have liked, but otherwise I stayed interested and engaged the entire time. Shoot, it even motivated me to look and see if there were any positions available at my local library (AND APPLY TO ONE THAT WAS CURRENTLY OPEN!). I love how the research the author did for this book rekindled a love for physical books (especially in the age of e-readers) and the library as a whole. I fell in love with the library a couple years ago, so this book is right up my alley! I would give it a 9 out of 10.

May 06, 2019

Full of interesting characters, including the most interesting main branch of the Los Angeles public library.

May 01, 2019

Entertaining,informative . Also a mystery of sorts about the LA library fire.

All you wanted to know about libraries but were afraid to ask. 5 stars

Orlean is an interesting writer.

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Mar 19, 2019

"When I first learned that the library had a shipping department ... I couldn't think of anything a library needed to ship. I came to learn that what gets shipped ... [are] books traveling from one branch to another. The shipping department at Central moves thirty-two thousand books - the equivalent of an entire branch library - around the city of Los Angeles five days a week. It is as if the city has a bloodstream flowing through it, oxygenated by books." (p. 61)


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