by Ann B.
“To ask why we need libraries at all, when there is so much information available elsewhere, is about as sensible as asking if roadmaps are necessary now that there are so very many roads.”Jon Bing (1944-2014. Norwegian writer and law professor at the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law)
As we come to the end of National Library Week, we are so grateful for our libraries and library staff.
Libraries are a place of belonging, a place to find something about yourself or any other topic in which you are interested. And even with all the resources available on the internet, the library is increasingly important to all communities.
Speaking personally, I usually get two responses when I tell people I am a librarian.
“Really? That’s so cool! I love reading. It must be so nice to sit and read all day long.” For the record, I don’t get to read all day long; most librarians do not get to do this. We do spend time reading and reviewing titles but we are pretty busy otherwise.
The other response is “Do people still use the library?” which of course I answer with a resounding “YES!”
In honor of National Library Week, below is a short list of books, both fiction and nonfiction, centered on libraries and librarians.
This is one of my favorites in that it is a very good read. That being said, it is the factual account of every librarian’s nightmare. The Library Book by Susan Orlean chronicles the fire that ripped through the Central Library in Los Angeles, California in 1986. Over 400,000 books were consumed in the fire with another 700,000 being destroyed.
The New Public Library: design innovation for the twenty-first century by R. Thomas Hille.
This gorgeous book discusses the historical architecture of libraries and new modern designs. An examination of how library buildings have changed due to changing communities and services, I found this book inspiring and hopeful. Libraries, as an essential part of any community, are adjusting to new services and opportunities which should be reflected in their buildings. It’s not just about the books, but about the information and access we provide.
The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume de Laubier.
A book to inspire your wanderlust, the images in this book are too beautiful to describe. Twenty-Three libraries from around the world are explored visually and historically. Small and large libraries, public and academic, are detailed with gorgeous photos and descriptions.
The Library Book by Thomas R. Schiff.
Yes, this has the same title as Orlean’s but definitely happier content. Duplicate title besides, this book “beautifully captures the shifting architectural styles and missions of the library in sweeping 360-degree panoramas–from the very earliest American libraries to the modernist masterpieces of Louis I. Kahn and others.”
For the fiction readers, there are many, many stories centered on libraries and librarians. If Cozy Mysteries are your thing, we’ve got you covered. Fantasy? Check. Historical fiction? Yep.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman is the first book in a series of seven, so far. “One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction… Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities.” I mean, spies and librarians, how could you go wrong?
Another library-related fantasy is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. This is truly a winding tale described as “a timeless love story set in a secret underground world–a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.”
If you like cozy mysteries, check out (pun intended) The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates or Murder Past Due by Miranda James. ( Like most modern libraries, we do not have late fees. So, if you’ve been worried about returning late books, don’t! ) Most librarians are invariably curious which of course makes for great amateur sleuth characters.
A couple of newer titles are The Giver of Stars: A Novel by Jojo Moyes and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: a novel by Kim Michele Richardson. Interestingly enough, both of these books were written in 2019 and center around Eleanor Roosevelt’s Pack Horse Library Project. Both novels take place in 1930s Depression Era Kentucky and explore the women who took on this heroic endeavor.
We love being part of and serving the Santa Fe community. I hope these books inspire you to share your love of libraries with your friends and neighbors. We are still working for you during this time. You are still able to place holds on our website or phone. You can pick up your items during our curbside hours at all three branches. And, of course, you can return items 24/7 at our outdoor drops. We love serving our neighbors and we want everyone to have access to our collection which is really your collection!
For more information on our interim services or to browse our catalog, visit www.santafelibrary.org. Information can also be found on our e-resources, digital library, author events, and our Big Read.