The Library

The Library

A World History

  1. James W. P. Campbell
  2. Will Pryce
  • ISBN 9780500342886
  • 30.80 x 24.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 328pp
  • 292 Illustrations, 275 in colour
  • First published 2013

Ambitious and wide-ranging, this is the first single volume to tell the story of libraries around 
the world, from the beginnings of writing to the present day

‘A fascinating read for anyone who appreciates books and the beautiful buildings they’re housed in’ – Elle Decoration
‘A glorious study’ – The Sunday Telegraph
‘In a lavish tribute to the architecture of libraries, the culture of learning and our ever-changing relationship with the written word from ancient to medieval modern, this great book is itself a rich library’– Saga Magazine

Click to see more press reviews

The Library

Book collections have always served 
to display their owners’ culture and learning and the word ‘library’ has come to 
mean not only the books themselves, but also the buildings that house them. Each age and culture has moulded them to reflect its own priorities and preoccupations – mirroring the history of civilization itself.

In its highest form the library became 
a total work of art, combining painting, sculpture, furniture and architecture. From their designs for the libraries of ancient Rome to those of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, architects have sought to outdo each other by producing ever more spectacular settings.

The author and photographer have travelled the globe, documenting some eighty libraries. Architectural historian James Campbell contributes an authoritative and highly readable account. Will Pryce is one of the world’s leading photographers of interiors and architecture. Arresting and technically flawless, his photographs are both lucid and deeply atmospheric.

James W. P. Campbell is Fellow in Architecture and History of Art, Queens’ College, Cambridge. 
His most recent books include Building St Paul’s and Brick: A World History, also with Will Pryce.
Will Pryce is an award-winning photographer of international acclaim. His previous titles include Architecture in Wood: A World History, Brick: A World History and World Architecture: The Masterworks. See Will Pryce's own website

    The pictures in this book may be licensed for re-use.
    If you are interested, please email: