Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Inside-Outside Book of Libraries

The Inside-Outside Book of Libraries

Julie Cummins
Illustrator:  Roxie Munro 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Random House , 2008   ISBN: 978-0375844515

Libraries often are an important community center in the cities, towns, and villages where they are located. It does not really matter how big they are. Whether they are large, like the Library of Congress, or tiny like the one room Ocracoke Library in North Carolina, they serve an important function.

The Library of Congress owns over a 130 million items, with 10,000 copyrighted books being added to the collection daily. If you want to see a Mark Twain first edition or a map used by Lewis and Clark, this is a good place to look.

The library on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln is very modest by comparison but its books, videos, CDs, and magazines are greatly appreciated by the men and women who serve on the large aircraft carrier.

Books are not the only things that one finds in libraries. In the Berkley Public Library Tool Lending Library you can check out a wrench or a spade, a wheelbarrow or a power drill. In all there are more than 2,000 tools of all kinds in this very unique library.

In all, the creators of this book look at ten very different kinds of libraries, inside and out. We get to the see the exterior of each library with its environs, and then we step inside to see the shelves of books or, as the case may be, the racks of tools. They conclude by looking outside and inside some home libraries.

Anyone who has doubted the importance of libraries will, after reading this book, see how valuable they are. Libraries give people the means to be entertained, to be educated, and to connect with other people both locally and around the world. With a well written text and wonderful colorful illustrations, the creators of this title show their readers that libraries are special places that we can all enjoy.