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Archive for the ‘Robert Dawson’ Category

PublicLibraryI readily admit that I’m a library geek. When I go on vacation I visit libraries. I also collect books about libraries, primarily photo essays. So, of course I’d end up reading The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson. Over a decade in the making, this book has photos of public libraries, big and small, fancy and plain. Some are Carnegie libraries. Some are shopping mall libraries. Some libraries were once gas stations or prisons or churches. One was even a bank and in the vault they show movies. Some are log cabins. There’s a seed library and a tool library. Some had air conditioning and some didn’t. Not every library is as well stocked as the suburban libraries that we’re familiar with. One library was founded by a widow, using the books her husband had.

This is an eye-opening and moving book. The captions explain the libraries, and mention those that have closed after having been photographed. There are way too many of these. There are essays by writers such as Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan and Ann Patchett examining what libraries mean to them and what the closing of libraries means, as well. There’s an essay from a Bookomobile driver explaining the satisfaction he gets from putting books in the hands of children and adults alike.

I remember going to Freeport, Maine one year to go to L.L. Bean. Walking down the main street I noticed that what once was the local public library was currently an Ann Taylor store. How disappointing!!!

In this economic climate, many libraries are shortening hours and are on the brink of closing. I marveled at the citizens who banded together to make sure their public libraries remain open.

The Public Library: A Photographic Essay is a marvelous book and I highly recommend it to library lovers and book lovers.

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