The Public Library: A Photographic Essay

The Public Library: A Photographic Essay

Hardback Princeton Architectural Press

By (photographer) Robert Dawson

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  • Publisher: PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 206mm x 231mm x 23mm | 930g
  • Publication date: 1 May 2014
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 161689217X
  • ISBN 13: 9781616892173
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, colour illustrations, frontispiece
  • Sales rank: 231,780

Product description

Many of us have vivid recollections of childhood visits to a public library: the unmistakable musty scent, the excitement of checking out a stack of newly discovered books. Today, libraries in America also function as de facto community centres. And yet, across the country, cities large and small are closing public libraries or curtailing their hours of operation. Over the last eighteen years, photographer Robert Dawson has crisscrossed America documenting hundreds of these endangered institutions. The Public Library presents a wide selection of Dawson's photographs- from the majestic reading room at the New York Public Library to Allensworth, California's one-room Tulare County Free Library built by former slaves. Accompanying Dawson's revealing photographs are essays, letters and poetry by some of America's most celebrated writers. A foreword by Bill Moyers and an afterword by Ann Patchett bookend this important survey.

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Author information

Robert Dawson's photographs have been recognised by a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize. He is an instructor of photography at San Jose State University and Stanford University.

Review quote

"If you think all public libraries look pretty much the same, well, you need to take a look at this book. Oh, sure, there are plenty of grand ones, such as Philadelphia's own Central Library on the Parkway. But we also have the Fishtown Community Branch, featured in this volume, which used to be a firehouse and, before that, a stable. There's also the log cabin library in Cable, Wis. And many, many more, both grand and humble." - Philadelphia Inquirer