cover image The Inside-Outside Book of Libraries

The Inside-Outside Book of Libraries

Julie Cummins, Roxie Munro, Julia Cummins. Dutton Books, $16.99 (46pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45608-7

Munro adds to her Inside-Outside series with this portfolio of libraries located throughout this country, lavishing on each her customary affection for architectural details. Two spreads are devoted to each site; the first shows the building's exterior, the second provides a bustling, often brightly hued look at the interior of the library and its patrons. The choices here are imaginative: the tiny one-room library on Ocracoke Island, N.C.; the library tucked below the flight deck on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln; and the library in California's Folsom prison. Other selections expand popular perceptions of libraries: there's a lending ""library"" that circulates tools instead of books; and the Internet, ""a library without walls."" Cummins, the coordinator of children's services for the New York Public Library, throws in intriguing nuggets (e.g., the collection at the Library of Congress grows at the rate of 10 new volumes each minute), but she often writes as if she were addressing other librarians, not children: ""The value of a library is measured not by floor space or number of books but by its usefulness to the community it serves."" The volume boasts one particularly neat element: a segment about New York City's Andrew Heiskell Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped includes a close-up page of a braille book--complete with the raised dots. All ages. (Sept.)