In pre-Revolutionary War America, libraries were member-driven collections for the elite; it was not until 1790 that Benjamin Franklin helped to establish the first public lending library. Throughout the subsequent centuries the library has evolved, but always remained central to the cultural life of the nation. Thomas R. Schiff 's photographs trace the history of the library through aesthetic and style while featuring legendary architects such as Charles F. McKim; Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge; and I. M. Pei. The Library Book beautifully captures the shifting architectural styles and missions of the library in sweeping 360-degree panoramas-from the very earliest American libraries to the modernist masterpieces of Louis I. Kahn and others. In his introductory essay, acclaimed author and library lover Alberto Manguel considers the story of the library in America, its evolving architecture and cultural role, and how the American model reflects the archetypal idea of the universal library. Including brief descriptions of each unique library, this book brings bibliophiles into one hundred libraries across the nation.