For centuries, humans have sought to preserve their literature and documents in a variety of libraries. Libraries have ranged from small local branches that provide the latest best-sellers and children's titles to massive buildings that cover city blocks and maintain a nation's archives.
Those of us who enjoy visiting a variety of libraries know that we probably won't ever see all the ones we want. No problem. We can stop in at any branch of the Beaufort County Library and check out the following titles, which will help us visit libraries far and near from the comfort of our own chairs.
"The Library in America: A Celebration in Words and Pictures"
By Paul Dickson
This book not only shows libraries throughout American history, but also how those libraries help make American history. Its 300-plus photographs recall a library world of card catalog drawers, deposit stations (an early form of bookmobiles) and gloriously massive reading rooms. Nostalgia doesn't get better than this for library lovers.
"The Library of Congress: The Nation's Library"
By Alan Bisbort and Linda Barrett Osborne
The Library of Congress, the most important library in the nation, was established in 1800 with a $5,000 appropriation that covered the purchase of 740 books and three maps. Today, it houses more than 119 million volumes. This book shows not only the architecture and arts of its building, but a great number of its treasures. This is a trip worth taking for any book lover, if not in real life, through the pages of this wonderful volume.
"Carnegie Libraries Across America: A Public Legacy"
By Theodore Jones
Perhaps no other name is attached to so many American libraries as Andrew Carnegie. Between 1893 and 1896, his philanthropy helped build more than 1,500 libraries across the nation, almost half of the libraries in the United States at that time. This book shows the vast array of Carnegie libraries, the styles and designs of the libraries and how they impact the communities in which they were built.
"The Library: An Illustrated History"
By Stuart A. P. Murray
This book not only tells you how libraries got to be what they are today, it also shows the process through prints and photographs. These illustrations illuminate not only libraries, but books and other documents throughout history. The final chapters in the book describe and show the variety of great libraries from around the world.
"The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World"
By Jacques Bosser, with photographs by Guillaume de Laubier
This book definitely lives up to its title. As one "wanders" through the libraries on these pages, one is simply dazzled by the grandeur and style. Perhaps you can't judge a book by its cover, but here you can definitely judge where it's shelved.
Scott Strawn is the youth services coordinator at all of the branches of the Beaufort County Library.