I was excited about this book and truthfully, the reason I was interested in it turned out to be the best part of the book - the photography. The photos are amazing and I can't say which ones I liked more: the ones taken of the large, gorgeous libraries or the ones of the small, local ones. I love the beauty that can be found in the vast libraries of huge cities as well as the numerous books I'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else. And yet, the libraries I remember best are the small ones where the librarians knew my name and I can still head to the shelves that hold my favorite books. The selection might be small, but those are the ones I connect with most.
The photographer chose well and there were so many in here I wish to visit and see for myself. Some I want to see for the building and some for the community they clearly serve. I found the descriptions of the photographs very interesting and often wished they were longer and would tell more of his travels.
The essays, on the other hand, were hit or miss. Only two really spoke to me and one wasn't because the writing was exceptional, as it was written when the author was in school. The rest...well I generally greeted the sight of text with a groan and either read as quickly as possible or set the book aside to read later. I found them generally heavy-handed, not terribly interesting, and/or just not really connected with the supposed theme of the book.
The pictures alone make this worth a look but I'd don't plan to pick it up again anytime soon.