Part history, party mystery, part memoir – this is a rather jumbled, if endearing, love letter to libraries.
Here, we cover the general history of the Los Angeles Public Central Library both before the devastating fire of 1986 and beyond. From its pioneering of women leaders, to its years through the Depression and World Wars, to the day in 1986 when a fire erupted (cause still unknown but arson is a possibility) and damaged or destroyed over 1 million books.
With occasional colorful anecdotes, this rather predictable read details the evolution of libraries as predominantly areas of scholarship to the glue that bonds and shapes communities. As such, this rather staid account of the LA Public Library unfolds. We also learn about the main suspect in the 1986 fire, Harry Peaks, a drifter a renowned liar whose alibi shifted on a moment by moment basis doesn’t elicit strong convictions either then or today. That combined with a lack of eye witness, physical evidence, or even clear verification of where and how the fire originated, means the mystery of the library fire remains unsolved.
Amazon link is here.