About the book

Libraries are filled with magic. From the Bodleian, the Folger and the Smithsonian to the fabled libraries of middle earth, Umberto Eco's mediaeval library labyrinth and libraries dreamed up by John Donne, Jorge Luis Borges and Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Stuart Kells explores the bookish places, real and fictitious, that continue to capture our imaginations. The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders is a fascinating and engaging exploration of libraries as places of beauty and wonder. It's a celebration of books as objects and an account of the deeply personal nature of these hallowed spaces by one of Australia's leading bibliophiles.

Book cover - the library by Stuart Kells.
Published by: 
Text Publishing

About the author


Stuart Kells is an author and book-trade historian. His 2015 book, Penguin and the Lane Brothers, won the Ashurst Business Literature Prize. An authority on rare books, he has written and published on many aspects of print culture and the book world. Kells lives in Melbourne with his family. His most recent publication is Shakespeare's Library.

Author - the library by Stuart Kells.

Judges’ comments

This is a beautifully written account demonstrating that the library truly is a catalogue of wonders. A book that will appeal far more broadly than just to bibliophiles. This is a book for readers, for lovers of libraries and for those who like to think about knowledge and how it is conveyed across the years.  Kells has given gravitas to the very first libraries as he ponders the rich archival nature of stories and culture provided in Australian Indigenous song lines. Kells skilfully illustrates how important knowledge, books, archives and the narratives these contain are for understanding human history.

Elegantly written The Library is both delightful and charming.