Publication Date

January 16, 2024

Perspectives Section

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

I greatly appreciated “My Libraries: Finding a Third Place” (October 2023). As a writer and editor, in addition to being a historian, I have found that libraries can be places of refuge and discovery. From 1986 to 2005, I worked as the assistant editor of Libraries and Culture (formerly the Journal of Library History) published at the University of Texas at Austin, where I was also working on my doctorate in European history. Working at the journal raised my awareness of the importance of libraries throughout history in all parts of the world. Then, when I began my research on the French Revolution, I was privileged to be able to work in the Bibliothèque nationale–Richelieu (BN) in Paris, where I passed many rewarding hours. That was my “third place” for about 25 years, as I visited twice a year to continue my research.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I made good use of past research to write two “memoirs” (dedicated to “librarians everywhere”), narrated by a fictional librarian, who worked at the BN during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire.

Thank you for calling attention to the importance of libraries, especially ones that still contain actual books.

Bette Oliver
Austin, Texas

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