This beautifully photographed book might appear, at first glance, as another "coffee-table book": that is, a book someone gives you as a gift, which thereafter sits on your coffee table unread. That hasn't been my experience. Since receiving it as a Christmas present from my wife, I find myself picking it up every few weeks, reading about how famous book collections were formed, and gazing at the stunning architecture of libraries built as temples to literature (rather than on the how-many-shelves-can-we-cram-into-this-square-footage principle).
There are university libraries (e.g., Oxford, Trinity College Dublin), royal libraries (Vienna, Prague), religious libraries (The Vatican, and several monasteries), and more democratic ones (The New York Public Library). Most of the libraries are European, except for three: New York, The Library of Congress (which is featured on the cover), and the Boston Athenaeum.
There could be more in the text about the contents of these libraries; the emphasis is more on the sheer physical beauty of these places. And beautiful they are, some of them decorated by leading artists.
Some of these libraries are easy to visit; some are accessible only to scholars with appropriate references. Some, like the library of the French Senate (a serene retreat overlooking the Jardin du Luxembourg), are available to a select few. This delightful volume lets us in, for a while. Enjoy.