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The Library Book (Audiobook) Bets On...

The Library Book (Audiobook)

written and read by Susan Orlean

December 2018

THE LIBRARY BOOK by Susan Orlean is a perfect gift for any booklover, perhaps even a “to me, from me” gift. I have spent a lot of time in libraries, remember the sheer joy of seeing the bookmobile on the corner when I was a child, have a number of librarians and library directors as friends, and have been to library conferences and programs, yet I still found myself learning so much as I listened to the audiobook. It is narrated by Susan, who not only writes a good book, but also knows how to tell a good story.

The book opens with a story I knew nothing about --- a fire at the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library in April 1986 that claimed almost half a million books and damaged 700,000 more. It took seven years for the building to reopen. Susan takes us down the road to explore if the fire was set on purpose and, if so, who did it.

But this is just a tiny part of a very big story about libraries that does a deep dive into the inner workings of the library. The coordination in the shipping room alone that handles the transport of books to 73 LA libraries is so interesting, and I bet you will think about it the next time you make an intra-loan request. The collection of maps will introduce readers to a young aide who is a savant about these treasured works.

We learn a lot about the history of the LA system and those who ran it --- a very colorful group of characters from whom we get a sense of the place’s storied history. We also get a sense of how today’s libraries are information centers and the librarians information specialists. Their day can find them answering questions on a variety of topics beyond books, including taxes, voting and job hunting. Homelessness has become a huge challenge to librarians; they are continuously on the front lines of this crisis. And I bet you rarely think about who is responsible for the upkeep of the library. A leaky roof, snow on the walkway and multi-million-dollar construction projects are all under the library staff’s responsibilities.

Every time I listened, I was more respectful of Susan’s detailed research. This is a woman who loves facts! THE LIBRARY BOOK would be such a fun book to read with your book group --- and would give you an opportunity to share your own library stories.

The Library Book (Audiobook)
written and read by Susan Orlean

  • Publication Date: October 16, 2018
  • Genres: History, Literature, Nonfiction
  • Audio: pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • ISBN-10: 1508266476
  • ISBN-13: 9781508266471