John Bevis is a writer and book-lover on an eccentric quest: to obtain a membership card from every library authority in England.
In a ten-year mission criss-crossing the country – from Solihull to Slough, from Cleveland to Cornwall – he enrols at libraries of all shapes and sizes: monuments to Art Deco or Brutalism; a converted corset factory; one even shaped like a pork pie.
With the architectural eye of Pevsner and the eavesdropping ear of Bill Bryson, he engages us at every step with anecdotes and aperçus about the role of the public library in our national life, while ruing its decline in the age of austerity.
As interested in the people he finds as he is in the buildings and their history, he is a humane, witty and erudite guide. The result is a book to be treasured by anyone who has ever used a library.
Thank you, John Bevis and Eye And Lightning Books
About the Author
John Bevis has spent most of his working life with books: designing, printing and publishing them at Coracle Press; typesetting and proof-reading them at the Victoria and Albert Museum; retailing them at the Whitechapel Art Gallery bookshop; and purchasing them for a library agency.
Among his publications are collections of poetry; artist’s books, cards, prints and printed objects; catalogue essays; critical studies; true crime stories and biographies. Previous books include Aaaaw to Zzzzzd: The Words of Birds and The Keartons: Inventing Nature Photography.
He divides his time between Ironbridge in Shropshire and London.