Themed Book Lists

6 Books About Libraries

April 16, 2014

National (U.S.) Library Week is this week: April 13–19, 2014. Here are six books about libraries and library design from our contributors.

Libraries Photographs by Candida Höfer
Text by Umberto Eco

Candida Höfer, who has photographed public interior spaces for more than 30 years, in this book takes as her subject libraries across Europe and the United States, including the Escorial in Spain, the library of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Morgan Library in New York, Villa Medici in Rome, the Hamburg University library, the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, and the Museo Archeologico in Madrid.

The Library Text by James W. P. Campbell
Photographs by Will Pryce

# 1 Design Best Seller at Labyrinth Books, Princeton, NJ (November 2013). From the Publisher. A library is not just a collection of books, but also the buildings that house them. As varied and inventive as the volumes they hold, such buildings can be much more than the dusty, dark wooden shelves found in mystery stories or the catacombs of stacks in the basements of academia. From the great dome of the Library of Congress, to the white facade of the Seinäjoki Library in Finland, to the ancient ruins of the library of Pergamum in modern Turkey, the architecture of a library is a symbol of its time as well as of its builders’ wealth, culture, and learning.


Library Design Karen M. Smith
John A. Flannery

From the Publisher. The repositories of human wisdom and experience through the ages, libraries are one of our most valuable cultural resources. This stimulating volume showcases some of the most interesting library design trends and developments from around the world. Covering both public and private libraries, as well as bookstores, you’ll see a wide variety of ways to arrange and store books. Also included are descriptions and recommendations for the finest library fittings and furnishings available plus a directory of resources and suppliers.

The Public Library Robert Dawson

From the Publisher. Many of us have vivid recollections of childhood visits to a public library: the unmistakable musty scent, the excitement of checking out a stack of newly discovered books. Today, the more than 17,000 libraries in America also function as de facto community centers offering free access to the internet, job-hunting assistance, or a warm place to take shelter. And yet, across the country, cities large and small are closing public libraries or curtailing their hours of operation. Over the last 18 years, photographer Robert Dawson has crisscrossed the country documenting hundreds of these endangered institutions. The Public Library presents a wide selection of Dawson's photographs, from the majestic reading room at the New York Public Library to Allensworth, California's one-room Tulare County Free Library built by former slaves. Accompanying Dawson's revealing photographs are essays, letters, and poetry by some of America's most celebrated writers. A foreword by Bill Moyers and an afterword by Ann Patchett bookend this important survey of a treasured American institution.

Sou Fujimoto: Musashino Art Museum University & Library Sou Fujimoto

The Musashino Art University Library is Fujimoto’s largest building to date, and his first major institutional project. The library's users criticized Fujimoto’s original concept for lacking functionality. This led to an improved redesign that delighted Fujimoto himself. The tranquillity, clarity, and structural force with which Fujimoto completed his “forest of books” is captured  by photographers Daici Ano, Naoki Ishikawa, and Keiko Sasaoka, complementing the building’s plans and Fujimoto’s textual analysis.

The Artist’s Library Erinn Batykefer
Laura Damon-Moore
Introduction by Jessica Pigza

From the Publisher. Creativity, like information, is free to everyone who steps into a library. An offshoot of the Library as Incubator Project, The Artist’s Library offers that an artist is any person who uses creative tools to make new things, and provides the guidance and resources to make libraries come alive as spaces for art-making and cultural engagement. The book draws attention to the physical and digital collections and resources that may be of particular use to artists and writers, provides ideas for art education opportunities within libraries, and offers practical how-tos for artists and libraries alike. From the crafty (pop-up books) to the community-minded (library galleries); the documentary (photo projects) to the technically complex (“listening” to libraries via Dewey decimal frequencies), the case studies included in the book feature artists, writers, performers, and libraries that embody the “library as incubator” spirit.

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