Thursday, July 26, 2012

Books That Shaped America

The Library of Congress has begun its multi-year “Celebration of the Book” with an exhibition entitled “Books That Shaped America.” The books were selected by the Library’s curators, not because they were the best books, but because they were the most influential. The Library is soliciting public comment and suggestions for future extensions of the list through an online survey, available at The LOC website.

We at the Richmond Public Library are joining the Library of Congress in the debate, with our own exhibition of the 88 “Books That Shaped America.”

Intern Brad Krautwurst considered the 88 titles and organized them into seven broad categories, from "More American than Apple Pie: Influential Figures in American Mythos" (including books by American luminaries such as Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass) to "Movers and Shakers: Books that Changed Public Thought" (with titles running the gamut from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged to Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique) to "And the rest . . . Eclectic selections that defy categorization" (The Joy of Cooking, Alcoholics Anonymous). Brad's thoughtful commentary and selections from the Library of Congress's curators' comments accompany the books, some of which are coming up from the library's stacks for the first time in many years.

We invite you to visit the display, located in the General Collections department of the Main library, and complete our version of the Library of Congress survey. Tell us which books were most influential, which of the books most influenced you, and what books should be on the list but aren't. We will compare our patrons' choices with those compiled by the Library of Congress at the end of the exhibit, which will run through September 29th.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this display. It makes me want to re-read some books and read some others with a different perspective. Brad and Ellen did a great job pulling this display together. It may have been based on the 88 books selected by the Library of Congress, but their idea of placing the books into thematic groupings caused me to pause and readjust the way I thought about some of these titles. Thank you.