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The Private Library
with Reid Byers
In-Person class with online option available
An Overview of the History of the Architecture and Furnishing of the Home Library. The Private Library is the domestic bookroom: that quiet, book-wrapt space that guarantees its owner that there is at least one place in the world where it is possible to be happy. The story of its architecture extends back almost to the beginning of history and forward toward a future that is in equal parts amazing and alarming. In this talk, Mr. Byers examines with a sardonic eye the historical influences that have shaped the architecture of the private library, and the furnishings, amenities, and delightful anachronisms that make the mortal room into what Borges so famously called Paradise.
Reid Byers, author of "The Private Library: The History of the Architecture and Furnishing of the Domestic Bookroom" (Oak Knoll Press, 2021) has had careers as a Presbyterian minister, a C language programmer, and a Master IT Architect with IBM, not to mention time as a journalist, a welder, a TV newscaster, a choral director, and a Navy sailor. As a bibliophile, he is a member of the Grolier Club in New York and serves as vice-president of the Baxter Society in Portland. The writing of "The Private Library", a project de longue durée, has itself extended through part of the history it describes and was equally divided between Princeton, New Jersey and Farmington, Maine. Mr. Byers, a member of the Maine Humanities Council, is currently writing a book about Imaginary Books.