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The Obscure London Library Where Famous Writers Go for Books

Tucked into a corner of St. James’ Square, the exterior doesn’t so much scream library as it murmurs anonymous guest house, a remnant of the building’s former life as a private residence. But like Dr. Who’s famous TARDIS spaceship, the library is seemingly bigger on the inside. One million books on 17 miles of shelves are spread out across a cluster of four different buildings, creating a labyrinthine maze that director Philip Marshall says draws Harry Potter comparisons from nearly every visitor—myself included. Read more

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The Library: A Fragile History

Despite its subtitle, this history of libraries is anything but fragile. At more than 500 pages, it is a robust, near definitive effort, tracing the evolution of the institution from the clay tablets of the Assyrian Empire to the wired libraries of today … Much of this material is familiar, though in a welcome way, comprehensive like the rest of the authors’ admirable effort. Though its primary audience will likely be academics, the book is so accessible and well written that it may also find a general readership among all those who love libraries. May their numbers be legion. Read more

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