If we believe the prognosis, printed books are definitely on their way out. Yet there have never been as many, and as this surprising selection of libraries throughout the world shows, never before had they been circulated in a more original manner. From the discreet comfort of luxury venues such as The Library Hotel in New York, where the six floors furnished in books are inspired from Dewey’s decimal classification, to the Biblioburro in Colombia, the library carried on a donkey’s back, the ingenuity of librarians, true cultural go-betweens, is rejoicing. In trees as in Norway,in hamacs as in Burundi or in abandoned phone booths like in England, in junks like in Bangladesh, on elephants like in Laos, on camels like in the Gobi desert or on sidewalks like in Manila, in university glass and metal frames like in Aberdeen or on the beach like in Sydney: it seems book loaning has never been so popular. All these very diverse situations remind us that libraries bring together two qualities that seem a priori incompatible, the unpunished vice of reading and the pleasure of transmitting.
Review published in the newsletter #430 - from 12 May 2016 to 18 May 2016