April 20, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault On Paper

Current Status
In Season
We gave it a B

A polemic about library preservation practices is probably not going to appeal to fans of Baker’s whimsical fiction, but the facts he presents are irrefutable and important: American and British libraries are destroying newspapers and ”brittle” books in the name of shelf space, strip-mining ”…a hundred and twenty years of…history.” Baker’s research in Double Fold is impressive, and he uses his novelistic skills to flesh out his real-life characters, both heroes (preservationists fighting to keep original documents intact and accessible) and villains (microfilmers and shortsighted librarians). The lovely reproductions from the New York World clinch Baker’s argument about the glory of the real thing.

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