Libraries: Non-Fiction

Updated: February 10, 2022

To better understand and appreciate the history of all libraries, please consider these books

American Libraries, 1730-1950
Breisch, Kenneth A,
Call Number: 727.8 B835

Historian and scholar Kenneth Breisch provides an overview of all types of libraries (public, private, academic), domestic and international.

America's Greatest Library: An Illustrated History of the Library of Congress
Cole, John Young, 1940-
Call Number: 027.573 L6965Co-2

A beautiful and informative book that is a history of our national library, which is supposed to be the largest library in the world. Find out why this library is for everyone, not just for Congress.

Books on Fire: The Destruction of Libraries Throughout History
Polastron, Lucien X.
Call Number: 027 P762

Central Library is not the only library to be hit by a fire. Polastron examines why, throughout the centuries, libraries have been destroyed.

The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
Call Number: 025.309 C2665

The Library of Congress presents color images of its many treasured books, and is an homage to the written word.

Feels Like Home: Reflections on Central Library
Call Number: 027.47949 L881Fe

Painful memories of the devastating 1986 fire, which destroyed one-fifth of Central Library’s holdings, are starkly juxtaposed with euphoric feelings about the library's reopening in 1993. Moving photographs reflect how the institution came back—with sizable public support—to a bigger and better facility after being closed seven years for renovation and expansion. An architectural landmark built in 1926 was greatly expanded and modernized. Bruckman Rare Books Friends Award for 2019

The Library at Night
Manguel, Alberto.
Call Number: 027 M277

Alberto Manguel’s memoir is an appreciation of why we have personal and public libraries, and of the many individuals who have fought for the freedom to read and access information.

The Library Book
Orlean, Susan.
Call Number: 027.47949 L881Or

On the surface, The Library Book is about the history of the Los Angeles Public Library, particularly about the devastating fire in 1986 that destroyed 400,00 books and damaged hundreds of thousands more. This part of the book is a true crime story as she explores the possible origins of the fire, and the investigation at the time. It is also a book about the sometimes eccentric City Librarians of the past, and the role of the library in the rapidly growing City of Los Angeles.

More than that, the book is a love letter to libraries everywhere, highlighting the importance of libraries to the vitality of a city and the value they bring to individual lives. While it was a delight to read about colleagues, and the history of the institution all of us proudly serve, the book is a poignant reminder of the personal love of libraries and reading that was fostered by many of our parents, as well as the necessity and relevance of the profession we love.

The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders
Kells, Stuart,
Call Number: 027.009 K29

Stuart Kells narrates the stories of real and imagined libraries.

Los Angeles Central Library: A History of Its Art and Architecture
Gee, Stephen
Call Number: 027.47949 L881Ge

Writer Stephen Gee and photographer Arnold Schwartzman are perfect partners in creating this carefully researched and exquisitely photographed history of Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library. They cover the history of why it took more than 80 years, from conception to acutalization, for a building to finally appear. The result is a compelling and engaging history of the political and social leaders, artists and architects who created a building that is home to the largest public library collection west of the Mississippi.

The Los Angeles Central Library: Building an Architectural Icon, 1872-1933
Breisch, Kenneth A,
Call Number: 027.47949 L881Br

The history of Los Angeles Central Library from 1872 to 1933, and how it changed and grew from a private library to become one of the largest public libraries in the United States.

The Meaning of the Library: A Cultural History
Call Number: 027.009 M4835

Crawford has compiled essays written by experts about how the role of the library has changed over the centuries, from scrolls to digitization.

The Story of Libraries: From the Invention of Writing to the Computer Age
Lerner, Frederick Andrew, 1945-
Call Number: 027.009 L616 2013

Through the centuries ancient and modern libraries have been vital and influential to the countries that have created and maintained them. Lerner’s history examines their purpose and influence.

This Is What a Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information
Cassidy, Kyle,
Call Number: 020 C345

You may think you know what a librarian looks like and what they do. Kyle Cassidy’s photographs and commentary present more than the hackneyed stereotype of a librarian and their work.