• "Fascinating... Eloquently written and genuinely enlightening, Battles's book is a telling testimony to the way libraries can transform lives"

    Sunday Herald
  • "Performs a valuable service by blowing the dust off our stodgy, conventional conception of the library to reveal the living heart of cultures that beats beneath its stone facade"

    Los Angeles Times
  • "An erudite, companionable, joyful book... Thrilling"

  • "Matthew Battles touches on almost all the important subjects, through fascinating stories... The book is full of all sorts of treasures"

    Times Literary Supplement