Emirates Literature Foundation Blog (ELF)

7 Books That Remind Us Why We Love Libraries So Much

Some places are worth checking out, over and over and over again...

It’s time to give a big SHOUT OUT to all the librarians! Oh sorry...better keep it down before they shush us.
Jokes aside, today we’re going to rekindle our love for the humble library. Whether you like piling up those TBRs at home, or spending hours perusing through stacks of books at the store, a true bookworm knows that there’s nothing quite like a library. Tilting your head sideways as you look for your favourite author, scrambling through index cards to find your next read, sitting on the floor between aisles as you rummage through which books to take home; days spent in our school or community libraries are like no other. And we’re so glad that even in today’s digital fast-paced world, libraries are still going strong across the globe. 

And of course, one of the reasons libraries are so special, is all the librarians who work there, building up collections of books and guiding readers young and old towards a selection that will hopefully speak to them. To celebrate the magic of libraries and the people who help run them, here's a list of books that capture why we love them:

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

This children’s bestseller is a warmhearted tribute to the beloved library. A lion wanders into a library run by strict librarian Mrs Merriweather and soon finds himself useful. As long as he abides by the rules, he is allowed to stay. He keeps quiet, does not run and even attends storytime with the other children. After a terrible incident occurs, the lion breaks a rule and is kicked out of the library. Will he ever return again? With delightful illustrations accompanying messages of friendship, rule-breaking and kindness, this book showcases the love for a library in a positive community.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Rich in history, fast-paced and with attention to details that would make you appreciate libraries and librarians more than you already do! Orlean chronicles the Los Angeles Public Library fire of 1986 in an unforgettable way. The unfortunate incident destroyed over 400,000 books, leaving a community devastated and scrambling to deal with the aftermath. Don't go in looking to learn more about the unsolved crime. This read takes you deep into a community reliant on a library, the history of its foundation and the passion that goes into curating and maintaining a library for generations to come. 

This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson

In this nonfiction read, Johnson celebrates the often unsung profession of librarianship. We learn how vast the knowledge and skills of a 

librarian can be, and how they keep up with the changing times. From traditional brick-and-mortar institutions to fluid virtual settings, libraries 

have adapted and kept up with the times for every generation and new technology that has come their way. Librarians and libraries continue to 

be relevant today, and this book shows us exactly how.

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

The master of Japanese fiction is at it again, this time with an illustrated short that takes you into a dream-like world filled with imagination and mystery. A curious schoolboy stops by a library to return some books when he gets trapped inside with a strange old man dressed in sheepskin and a mysterious girl. What ensues, in true Murakami fashion, is a fantastical tale that is extremely out of the ordinary. This book is suitable for young readers as well as adults. Allow yourself to get lost in a strange and bizarre world, much like a library, that takes you into a curious rabbit-hole.

Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn

A perfect read for the youngest library visitors, this book celebrates the little joys that children can find in a library. Meet Lola. Her favourite day 

of the week is Tuesday, because she gets to visit the library with her mum. Lola gets to meet her friends, listen to stories, choose new books to 

take home and see what new events are in store at the library. McQuinn’s writing paired with bright illustrations by Rosalind Beardshaw provides us with a kids-eye point of view, making this book perfect for storytime. Kids are going to love discovering what a wonderful place the library is.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Set in Nazi Germany at the start of WWII, The Book Thief follows young Liesel as she adjusts to life with foster parents. Zusak’s style of writing is fresh and we are presented with a coming-of-age story told through the eyes of Death. Liesel’s foster father teaches her to read, and she finds that her thirst for books surpasses her concern for safety. She steals books from piles that Nazis have set fire to, warms up to the mayor’s wife so she can sneak titles from their library and learns how books offer the perfect escape in a dismal world. The mayor’s library acts as a refuge for Liesel, luring her into ‘the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen’.

Do you have any fond memories in libraries you’d like to share with us? Are you still part of a library today? Tell us in the comments below. And if you know any good school librarians you think deserve an award for their services, then nominate them for the Emirates Literature Foundation's School Librarian of the Year Award

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Joanne Rodrigues is a writer, reader and dreamer — in search of stories that can change the world. One word at a time. You can find her work here and here