On April 29, 1986 there was a devastating fire at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles. As the fire burned for more than seven hours, it reached an astounding 2,000 degrees and destroyed or damaged over 1 million books. Thus begins Susan Orlean’s The Library Book, a fascinating story of the fire and its aftermath, a comprehensive history of the Los Angeles Public Library and a broader look at libraries and librarians everywhere. The book is filled with many quirky characters from libraries past and present, and gives a glimpse into the everyday life of a librarian. Orlean is a reporter for The New Yorker, as well as a New York Times bestselling author whom you might recognize from previous books like The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin. Her extensive research, wit and style make The Library Book an engaging and fun read. Orlean clearly shows us why libraries are such beloved and enduring fixtures in our communities.
Teresa Allessi is a youth services librarian at the R. H. Stafford Library in Woodbury. She has worked for Washington County Library for 30 years and lives in Stillwater with her husband, four children and two cats.