Friday, 23 March 2018

A Library Miscellany - Claire Cock-Starkey


What can be found in the Vatican's Secret Archive? How many books did Charles Darwin's library aboard the Beagle hold? Which library is home to a colony of bats? Bursting with potted histories, quirky facts and enlightening lists, this book explores every aspect of the library, celebrating not only these remarkable institutions but also the individuals behind their awe-inspiring collections. From the ancient library at Alexandria to the Library of Congress in Washington DC, A Library Miscellany explores institutions both old and new, from the university library to that of the humble village. It opens the door to unusual collections such as herbaria, art libraries, magic libraries and even the library of smells, and charts the difficulties of cataloguing books deemed to be subversive, heretical, libellous or obscene. Packed with unusual facts and statistics, this is the perfect volume for library enthusiasts, bibliophiles and readers everywhere.


What did I think?

If you're ever looking for a gift for a book lover then this little gem by Claire Cock-Starkey will definitely fit the bill.  If you're really splashing out, make sure to pick up the highly recommended The Book Lovers' Miscellany too.

This pocket-sized book is perfect to read on the go, either reading cover to cover or dipping in and out as the mood takes you.  It's full of useful statistics, eye-opening facts and interesting titbits that amazed and entertained me.  I was amazed to read about the first mobile library in Cumbria in 1857 as horse-drawn carts provided access to books in remote areas without a library.

The timeline at the end of the book is an invaluable source of information as you see the evolution of libraries.  I was astounded to see the reference to e-books in the 1970's, when the world wide web was only a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee's eye.  It must have been a librarian's dream to think that books could be accessed by anyone anywhere in the world at anytime.  Of course the downside to e-books is the effect it has on the libraries we have come to know and love.  As lending of physical books diminishes, I sincerely hope that libraries are not under threat of closure.  Long live the library!

A Library Miscellany is an enlightening and entertaining pocket history of every book lover's favourite place; I loved it and I'm sure you will too.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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