Orlean says she was moved to write this book by the Discovery that going to the library evoked memories of her mother and experiences she had visiting libraries with her mother. As she explored the meaning of libraries she shows they are places for the public exploration of ideas, not just book warehouses.
I began the book with the personal expectation that libraries were a dying institution because of electronic publishing. Orlean demonstrates that in fact they are places for the public and private exploration of ideas and our culture and as such are more vital to our society than ever.
I am a former collector of books who has now gravitated to the collection of ebooks. I would love to see Orlean do a book on publishing. This is the second of her books that I have read and I see that the thread she uses to hold them together is particular events and people that inspire her interest and curosity. Her thank yous and acknowledgements make it quite clear how much effort she puts into a book so I understand why she is reluctant to take on new projects. I am grateful she created this one.
Like a library, this book is filled with a number of different stories, most of them well told. It goes down like a cold drink on a warm day.