The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells

book cover image of the library

The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells (Text Publishing) 

Judges' Comments 

All booklovers will appreciate Stuart Kells’ The Library as a gorgeously crafted love-letter to manuscripts and their repositories. This is a fascinating, immensely detailed and evocative history of libraries based on extensive research at famous libraries around the world including the Bodleian, Smithsonian, Folger as well as the State Library of New South Wales. It provides us with a peek into the private print passions of Umberto Eco, James Boswell and Jorge Luis Borges, among many others.

The Library has an innovative structure, presented in short, sharp and wonderfully titled chapters. This means it can be dipped into or read at length. Its chapters include many of Kells’ musings and trace out his particular bibliomania, but offer much for all to learn, admire and laugh about. As an ode to books in our past and present lives, Kells’ work teaches us both to appreciate their beauty as objects and the significance of the libraries that house them.