As book lovers, we all appreciate libraries. In these unprecedented times, it has never been more true that libraries continue to play a vital role in communities. While Mechanics’ Institute members shelter in place, librarians have been working diligently to bring you more digital resources and recommended readings. This is the first of several posts as all of our staff members are avid readers!
Since nearly all libraries are closed temporarily, naturally my thoughts turned to books about libraries. To celebrate reading and information delivery--whether it is a satchel on horseback, a cozy hometown branch library, or a beautiful historic building--I hope you enjoy these titles hand-picked by Celeste, Mechanics’ Library Supervisor. All are available digitally through the library’s website.
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes - Set in Depression-era Kentucky, this gracefully told story about Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library takes readers deep into the Appalachian mountains to deliver books to families that have never had any. Despite serious hardships, the “Horseback Librarians” as they came to be known formed lifelong friendships and lasting relationships with the Kentucky hill families. A richly rewarding tale, readers will admire the dedication and life-changing abilities of five daring women--a title not easily forgotten.
The Library Book by Susan Orlean - Prepare to be dazzled by this fascinating story of the Los Angeles Public Library’s 1986 fire that consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. While the mystery remains unsolved to this day, the Orchid Thief author will delight library fans with her own love of books, a unique cast of characters, and an examination of the library’s crucial role in our lives.. There’s still plenty of time to read Orlean’s bestselling title as it’s being adapted for television.
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - While not technically about libraries, this title may send you looking for further library reading. Part memoir and part classic love story, Hanff, a freelance writer in New York City begins a 20-year correspondence with a used book dealer in London. Rich with literary references, this touching story takes armchair travelers between picturesque London and bustling New York City. As a final treat, readers may want to watch the equally superb film with the same title starring Ann Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.