Monday, June 1, 2015

America's Library: The Story of the Library of Congress, 1800-2000 by James Conaway | Book Review

America's Library: The Story of the Library of Congress, 1800-2000
(The copy I read actually had a different cover, but I like this one better.  Thanks, Goodreads!)

The hubby and I went on vacay at the beginning of May to Washington, D.C.  While there, we visited the Library of Congress (obvs) and I saw this book in their gift shop.  I know the sales in there support the Library, but I still balked at the $40-something price tag and instead requested it from my library.  How meta is that?  Reading a book about a library from my library!  :)

This nonfiction history of the Library of Congress is highly readable.  It's rather slender, as far as adult nonfiction usually goes, and not dry at all.  The book is broken up into chapters spanning 50 years each, and talks about the creation of the Library, the succession of Librarians of Congress, and the different iterations and innovations of the Library over the years.

I've visited the Library of Congress three times and work in a public library myself, so I thought I knew quite a bit.  I was so wrong!  But that's ok; it means that I learned a lot in reading this book.  I found myself nearly continually reading little segments out loud to the hubby, I found it all so interesting.  

The information is broken up with lots and lots of pictures, all in color (except, of course, the really old pictures where color wasn't available).  They are scattered all through the text, not lumped in the middle of the book, and all have clear captions describing the content.

My only regret?  Not reading this before visiting the Library of Congress last month!  It only reinvigorated my curiosity about the place, and now I'm already itching to return!

*I checked out my copy of America's Library from my local library.

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