The Library Book

Photographs by Thomas R. Schiff
Text by Alberto Manguel

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14 ¹⁄₂ x 11 inches 232 pages including 6 gatefolds, 120 four-color images Clothbound with jacket 978-1-59711-374-8 Spring 2017

In pre–Revolutionary War America, libraries were member-driven collections for the elite; it was not until 1790 that Benjamin Franklin helped to establish the first public lending library. Throughout the subsequent centuries the library has evolved, but always remained central to the cultural life of the nation. Thomas R. Schiff’s photographs trace the history of the library through aesthetic and style while featuring legendary architects such as Charles F. McKim; Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge; and I. M. Pei.
The Library Book beautifully captures the shifting architectural styles and missions of the library in sweeping 360-degree panoramas—from the very earliest American libraries to the modernist masterpieces of Louis I. Kahn and others. In his introductory essay, acclaimed author and library lover Alberto Manguel considers the story of the library in America, its evolving architecture and cultural role, and how the American model reflects the archetypal idea of the universal library. Including brief descriptions of each unique library, this book brings bibliophiles into one hundred libraries across the nation.


Thomas R. Schiff studied photography under Clarence White, Jr. and Arnold Gassan while earning a BBA degree from Ohio University in 1970. Schiff began experimenting with panoramic photography in the mid-1980s, making use of a Hulcherama 360 panoramic camera. He has published six books: Panoramic Cincinnati (2003), Panoramic Ohio (2002), Panoramic Parks (2005), Vegas 360 (2008), Wright Panorama (2010), and Prospect (2012). Schiff helped establish Images Center in Cincinnati in 1980 and he is the founder of FotoFocus, a lens-based art biennial held in Cincinnati. He has just completed a book about the architectural legacy of J. Irwin Miller and the city of Columbus, Indiana.


Alberto Manguel is internationally acclaimed as an anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, and editor. He is the author of several award-winning books, including The Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading. He was born in Buenos Aires, moved to Canada in 1982, and now lives in France, where he was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre français des Arts et des Lettres. His honors and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, McKitterick first novel award, and German Critics Award, among others.

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