Libraries are for Lovers?

By Dan Blackaby, Reference and Instructional Services Librarian

Ah, February 14. A day for lovers. Lovers of books, I mean. It’s both International Book Giving Day and Library Lovers’ Day. Now, when I use the term “lover”, I don’t mean it in the way that Will Ferrell means it in Anchorman.

The Danish have a word, hygge, that means “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being; contentment from simple pleasures, such as warmth, food, friends, etc.” For me, and countless others, libraries and books, while often being tools of provocation, rebellion, and expressions of freedom, can also be a great source of comfort.  Libraries, in addition to their utility as stores of information, also engender wonderful senses of place, stability, and community, and that doesn’t begin to touch on the comfort that is gained from crawling into a good book.

So, in honor of all you Library Lovers out there, I’m going to point you to some of my favorite books on libraries. 

Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out by Keller Roberto and Jessamyn West.  An interesting look into the issues that librarians care about, and how they engage with them.

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeannette Winter. When Saddam Hussein fell, she had to rescue the history and literary treasures. How one librarian’s heroism saved thousands of years of culture.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.  One of my favorite books, the movie version featured Sean Connery as William of Baskerville, and Christian Slater in his film debut. A murder mystery in a medieval library.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean. The author of The Orchid Thief details how a fire at an LA Public Library cast light on the importance of libraries in our society.

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón . A gift sparks a journey to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.