10 CLIMATE CHANGE BOOKS TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND OUR ENVIRONMENT

In case you haven’t heard, a climate disaster is looming. The effects of climate change—like rising seas and intensifying weather patterns—are already here. Even though the worst is yet to come, there are still things that we can do to fight for our planet. One thing you can do right now is to educate yourself by reading climate change books.

10 Climate Change Books to Help You Understand Our Environment

CLIMATE CHANGE BOOKS ABOUT SCIENCE

HOT, HUNGRY PLANET: THE FIGHT TO STOP A GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS IN THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE BY LISA PALMER

By the year 2050, Earth’s population will be closing in on 10 billion people. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Journalist Lisa Palmer’s book Hot Hungry Planet digs into the possibilities of famine and food scarcity and the innovations that might save us all from hunger.

sixth-extinction-coverTHE SIXTH EXTINCTION: AN UNNATURAL HISTORY BY ELIZABETH KOLBERT

What will the future look like? The past may have a clue. Over the ages of our planet’s history, there have been five mass extinction events, one of which all but wiped out the dinosaurs. In the Anthropocene period, the next casualty may be us. In The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert takes a closer look at the past to tell us more about our future.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE BOOKS ABOUT HEALTH

FEVERED: WHY A HOTTER PLANET WILL HURT OUR HEALTH—AND HOW WE CAN SAVE OURSELVES BY LINDA MARSA

We’re getting more used seeing images of stranded polar bears and hearing about our dwindling bee population, but most reporting on climate change leaves out what it can do to our own health. Linda Marsa’s Fevered delves into the increasing rate of illnesses associated with global warming, like asthma, allergies, and mosquito-borne diseases, just to name a few.

THE GREAT DERANGEMENT: CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE UNTHINKABLE BY AMITAV GHOSH

The past few generations have taken advantage of the planet, polluting the oceans, ravaging the land, and filling our skies with smoke. What were we thinking? In The Great Derangement, Amitav Ghosh argues that we weren’t, we have been deliberately blind to the disasters looming in our future—until now.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE BOOKS ABOUT PEOPLE

PLASTIC: A TOXIC LOVE STORY BY SUSAN FREINKEL

One of the scariest things about plastic is that it’s kind of immortal. It can churn in the ocean for hundreds of years before it finally breaks down. Humans fell in love with this toxic material in 1950s, and since then, it has managed to work its way into almost everything we touch. Susan Freinkel recounts this love story in Plastic by digging deeper into the ways plastic affects our lives and the life of the planet.

STAYING ALIVE: WOMEN, ECOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENTStaying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development book cover BY VANDANA SHIVA

Originally published in 1988, activist Vandana Shiva’s seminal work, Staying Alive, explores the relationship between women and our natural world. In many places, the freedom of the women is directly related to a country’s outlook. More recent research has shown that women’s rights directly impacts sustainability. You could say that Shiva is the mother of that idea.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE BOOKS ABOUT POLITICS

THE MADHOUSE EFFECT: HOW CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL IS THREATENING OUR PLANET, DESTROYING OUR POLITICS, AND DRIVING US CRAZY BY MICHAEL E. MANN AND TOM TOLES

Research has shown that climate denialists do, in fact, have brains. It’s just that they haven’t been using them. We have been manipulated, and logic has been twisted to distort the truth. In The Madhouse Effect, climate scientist Michael E. Mann comes together with cartoonist Tom Toles to create a funny, sad portrait of the mad world we’re living in.

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING: CAPITALISM VS. THE CLIMATE BY NAOMI KLEIN

From the author of The Shock Doctrine, this book delves into the war between capitalism and the planet. In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein argues something that many of us already know: we have to change our destructive habits that are rooted in capitalism. It may be the only way we can save our environment before it’s too late.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE BOOKS ABOUT RACISM

DUMPING IN DIXIE: RACE, CLASS, AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY BY ROBERT D. BULLARD

Not everyone will experience climate change equally. The poor and working class are already disproportionately affected by the problems of climate change. In Dumping in Dixie, Robert D. Bullard, a professor and environmental justice activist, asserts that living in a healthy environment is a right for all Americans, regardless of their race, class, or social standing.

Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential MobilityTOXIC COMMUNITIES: ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM, INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION, AND RESIDENTIAL MOBILITY BY DORCETA E. TAYLOR

For years, poor and minority communities have found themselves becoming the dumping ground for businesses hoping to get rid of waste on the path of least resistance. Shockingly, entrenched segregation and zoning laws have paved the way to make this possible, making communities of color sick for years—literally.

By , January 
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It wasn’t all glum solemnity.

Although, you could understand how it might have been.

humor of lincoln

Libraries are beautiful! Well, these libraries are at least.

Planning your holiday or maybe even spring vacations? Don’t forget to check out the local libraries. You never know what you’ll find.


The 20 most beautiful libraries in the U.S.

Stunning buildings designed for architecture-loving bibliophiles

Geisel Library on the campus of the University of California-San Diego.
 Nagel Photography / Shutterstock

From museums to churches, architecture in U.S. cities ranges from jaw-dropping modernist masterpieces to historic gems hidden on side streets. But an oft-overlooked category of Instagram-worthy architecture is our country’s libraries.

Although the first function of a library is to house books and manuscripts, they also serve as places to study, research, and contemplate. Historic libraries from New York to California feature massive reading halls—many with coffered ceilings, chandeliers, and the warm glow of reading lights.

More modern buildings—like the Seattle Central Library or the Billings Public Library—are not only architectural marvels, but also function as community gathering spaces and technology hubs. Today’s libraries don’t just stop at books; new designs include recording studios, computer labs, and even art exhibition spaces.

In honor of their beauty, and to underscore their continued relevance in an increasingly digital world, we’ve rounded up 20 architecturally significant libraries throughout the United States.

The Seattle Central Library in Seattle, Washington

The Seattle Public Library in downtown Seattle. 
Shutterstock

After a landmark bond measure in 1998 that proposed a $196.4 million makeover of the Seattle Public Library system, the original downtown library was redesigned by Rem Koolhaas and his Office for Metropolitan Architecture in partnership with the Seattle firm of LMN Architects.

The Pritzker Prize-winning architect designed an 11-floor, 362,987-square-foot library that features a diamond-shaped exterior skin of glass and steel. The new Central Library—which opened in 2004—also features a “Books Spiral” that displays the entire nonfiction collection in a continuous run, a towering “living room” that reaches 50 feet in height, and a brightly lit “Red Room” on the 4th floor that uses deep crimson and red lights.

Boston Central Library in Boston, Massachusetts

Bates Hall in the Boston Public Library on July 27, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. 
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock

The crown jewel of the Boston Public Library system, the Central Library is made up of two buildings by Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson. The McKim Building in Copley Square was constructed in 1895 and houses a massive reading room—called Bates Hall—that’s full of green lamps and classic wooden tables.

Bates Hall also features a barrel vault and coiffured ceiling, all surrounded by 15 arched and grilled windows. A $50 million restoration of the reading room that began in 1996 recently added new woodwork.

The Fisher Fine Arts Library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Image result for the fisher fine arts libraryDesigned by American architect Frank Furness in 1888, the library at the University of Pennsylvania rejected the popular marble or granite designs of the late nineteenth century in favor of fiery red brick. The building contains a mix of towers, chimneys, and sky-lighted rooms that mimic the factories of downtown Philadelphia.

The library experienced several additions and alterations over the years, and went through a major restoration in the late 1980s and early 1990s before taking on the name of the Fisher Fine Arts Library.

Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.. 
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

No round up of the most stunning libraries in the United States would be complete without the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. The largest library in the world, the Library of Congress is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill.

The most famous structure is the Thomas Jefferson Building, which opened in 1897 and houses the iconic Main Reading Room. Inspired by the reading room at the British Museum Library, the domed Main Reading Room is the central access point for the Library’s collections and is open to any researcher 16 and older. Interested in seeing more of Washington D.C.’s beautiful libraries? Head over here.

Phillips Exeter Academy Library in Exter, New Hampshire

New Hampshire — Phillips Exeter Academy Library

Image Source: Flickr user gnrklk

Phillips Exeter Academy may be a boarding school, but it has an oversized library; its shelf capacity of 250,000 volumes makes it the largest secondary school library in the world.

The library is also famous thanks to its design by celebrated American architect Louis Kahn. Commissioned in 1965, Kahn structured the library in three concentric square rings. While the brick outer rings hold the exterior walls, middle rings made of concrete house the heavy book stacks, and an inner ring creates an Instagram-worthy atrium.

New York Public Library in New York City, New York

Photo by Jonathan Blanc and courtesy of NYPL

The reading room of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in the New York Public Library. 
Photo by Jonathan Blanc and courtesy of NYPL

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library system is a masterpiece of Beaux-Arts architecture, centrally located next to Bryant Park on Fifth Avenue and 42nd street in Manhattan.

Construction began in 1902 and was eventually completed for $9 million in 1911. Today, it houses some 15 million items, including medieval manuscripts, ancient Japanese scrolls, and contemporary novels.

The library’s Rose Reading Room—with its iconic 52-foot-tall ceilings and vibrant cloud murals—recently reopened after a renovation that required the entire room to be sheathed in scaffolding. Read more about the renovation and see a time lapse of the incredible project, over here.

Arabian Library in Scottsdale, Arizona

The exterior of the Arabian Library in Scottsdale. 
Courtesy of the Arabian Library

Designed by richärd+bauer architects and opened in 2007, this modern library pays homage to Arizona’s desert environment. The sloping angle of the roof line and the earthen and stone roof echo the stone walls of the state’s desert slot canyons. The library’s exterior—made up of weather steel plates—also mimic the color of the terra-cotta walls of stone.

State Library of Iowa’s Law Library in Des Moines, Iowa

The State Library of Iowa’s Law Library in the Capitol building.
 Shutterstock

This library in Des Moines, Iowa, provides Iowa lawmakers, government employees, the Iowa legal community, and the general public access to 105,000 volumes of legal treatises on state, federal, regulatory, and case law.

Originally created thanks to an act of Congress in 1838, the law library’s collection moved from location to location until 1886 when it settled on the second floor of the State Capitol Building in Des Moines. The library’s grand hall is intricately decorated in the Victorian style, boasting painted ceilings, stained glass inserts, and book-lined alcoves forty-five feet in height.

Billings Public Library in Billings, Montana

An exterior shot of the Billings Public Library in Montana. 
Via Will Bruder Architects

Recently completed in 2015, the architecture team at Will Bruder Architects designed this building to be a sustainable, transparent, and dynamic gathering space for the community. Sitting along Billings’ busy 6th Avenue, the light-filled library cost $20 million to build.

According to the architect, “The library’s architecture is thus a hybrid of both the handsome and beautifully restored 19th century main train depot on Montana Street and the powerful block long warehouse buildings of brick masonry and metal that serve to shelter the transfer of resources at this point of commerce.”

George Peabody Library in Baltimore, Maryland

The interior of the Peabody Library, a research library at John Hopkins University. 
Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock

Housed in the Peabody Institute of Music, the George Peabody Library has often been described as a “cathedral of books” and it’s easy to see why. Constructed in 1878 and designed by Baltimore architect Edmund D. Lind, the library contains a huge open air atrium in the center that allows each level of the library a view down below.

Huge skylights allow natural light to filter in, and the library’s iconic marble floors and ornate railings make it a popular wedding venue. Although you won’t see many students perusing the stacks, the George Peabody Library remains a non-circulation library open to the general public.

Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago, Illinois

The Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago. 
Shutterstock

As the Chicago Public Library’s main branch, the Harold Washington Library Center broke ground in 1988 after a competition to design a new central library in the South Loop. An 11-member citizen jury selected the design by Thomas Beeby from Hammond, Beeby & Babka, Inc., and the building opened in 1991.

The building’s design has always been controversial, with some deriding the classical facade and the rooftop ornaments. But many love the postmodern structure, saying it celebrates iconic Chicago architecture and blends in well with its nineteenth-century neighbors.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library in New Haven, Connecticut

The interior book tower at the Beinecke Library. 
Beinecke Digital Studio

One of the world’s largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts, the Beinecke Library sits on the Yale University campus. The building—made of Vermont marble and granite, bronze and glass—was designed by Gordon Bunshaft, of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Work began on the building in 1960 and was completed in 1963.

While the white and gray exterior of the building looks intimidating, the interior is simply stunning. A huge glass tower of books rises through the core of the building while two stairways ascend on either side to the mezzanine level. The Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed from movable type, and Audubon’s Birds of America are on permanent exhibition.

Geisel Library in San Diego, California

Geisel Library on Gilman Drive on the campus of the University of California-San Diego.
 Nagel Photography / Shutterstock

Located at UC San Diego, the Geisel Library was designed in the late 1960s by William Pereira as an eight-story, Brutalist concrete structure. It sits at the head of a canyon near the center of the campus, and the lower two stories form a pedestal for the six-story, stepped tower.

It is named in honor of Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The building houses seven million volumes, including the Dr. Seuss Collection—an extensive portfolio of original drawings, sketches, proofs, notebooks, manuscript drafts, books, photos, and memorabilia.

William W. Cook Legal Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The reading room of the Legal Research Library at the University of Michigan. 
wsifrancis/flickr

Located on the University of Michigan campus, the William W. Cook Legal Research Library was built in 1930 and looks a bit like a modern-day Harry Potter library.

The grand building has large spires, stained glass windows, and metal work by the best metal worker of the time, Samuel Yellin. But the most stunning aspect of the library is likely its huge reading room, where large desks, wooden paneling, and elegant chandeliers create a peaceful and elegant hall.

Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas

Photo courtesy of Gould Evans

Set in downtown Lawrence, Kansas, the Lawrence Public Library—originally constructed in 1974—had struggled with poor attendance before the community rallied to expand and renovate the building. A $19 million expansion added a 250-space parking garage and opened in 2014.

The new design—from the firm Gould Evans—uses glass and terra-cotta to create a welcoming space that’s bright and airy. A wraparound reading room was a major addition, and the renovation also included new communal meeting spaces, a music recording studio, and teen gaming zones. Outside the library, locals can enjoy a butterfly garden in the summer and an ice skating rink in the winter.

San Francisco Public Library in San Francisco, California

The central atrium at the Main Library building of the San Francisco Public Library. 
Thomas Hawk/Flickr

The Main Library of the San Francisco Public Library system opened at its current site in 1996 and features seven floors with two million items. The building was designed by James Ingo Freed of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (New York) and Cathy Simon of Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein & Moris (San Francisco) and represents the largest public/private partnership in the history of San Francisco at a cost of more than $122 million.

The most recognizable feature of the library is a dramatic skylight in the building’s five-story central atrium. Bridges connect the floors across lightwells, and the design includes a grand staircase that rises four stories.

The Doe Library in Berkeley, California

The Doe Library on the campus of UC Berkeley. 
Shutterstock

Set on the UC Berkeley campus, the Doe Library—which sits adjacent to the Bancroft Library—features a Neoclassical-style building completed in 1911. Named after its benefactor, Charles Franklin Doe, the structure’s iconic columns and grand scale make it one of the most recognizable buildings on campus.

Sawyer Library in Williamstown, Massachusetts

Related image

Photo courtesy BBL Construction Services

Williams College demolished a 1970s-era library building to make room for the new Sawyer Library, but the architects of the project—Bohlin Cywinski Jackson—also had to incorporate the classical styling of the historic Stetson Hall, built in 1921.

The result cost $66.8 million and is a blend of old and new, with a modern five-story facility housing the new Sawyer Library, the Chapin Library of Rare Books, and the Center for Education Technology. The new section features a central atrium that prioritizes natural light and offers beautiful views of campus.

Los Angeles Central Library in Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Public Library in downtown Los Angeles, California. 
Shutterstock

As the largest public library in the west, the Los Angeles Central Library has been captivating book and architecture lovers since its construction in 1926. The building’s architect—Bertram Goodhue—drew upon design elements from ancient Egypt to create a geometric facade that is an early example of Art Deco.

The library’s most recognizable feature is the tiled pyramid at the top that has a golden hand holding a torch. A 1993 addition added 330,000 square feet of space—called the Tom Bradley wing—and helped to restore the original Goodhue building as well.

Suzzallo Library in Seattle, Washington

The reading hall of Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington. 
Shutterstock

Designed in the early 1920s by Seattle architects Carl F. Gould, Sr. and Charles H. Bebb, the Suzzallo Library boasts a facade made with sandstone, precast stone, terra-cotta, and brick. Reminiscent of a large European cathedral, the library’s Collegiate Gothic style makes it one of the best-known buildings on campus.

While the exterior is impressive, the 65-foot high and 250-foot long reading room is simply awe-inspiring. A vaulted ceiling with bright colors and gilded details is accented by oak bookcases and hard-carved friezes. Large leaded-glass windows let in natural light and long desks provide plenty of study room.

What are your favorite libraries in the United States? Let us know in the comments!

By 

5 BOOKS TO READ FOR THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF KRISTALLNACHT

On November 9–10, 1938, approximately 7,500 Jewish homes, stores, hospitals, and schools were destroyed and looted, hundreds of Jews were arrested, and 91 Jews were murdered. Thirty thousand Jewish men were sent to concentration camps. These attacks were carried out in Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland (parts of the former Czechoslovakia) by civilians and paramilitary groups at the urging of the Nazis, and police officers and firefighters stood idly by because the Gestapo told them not to stop the riots. Directly following this, the Nazis blamed the Jews for the events and heavily fined the German Jewish community.

This was Kristallnacht, or “the night of broken glass.” It was a turning point, marking the change from “merely” anti-Semitic rhetoric and laws, to actual violent actions. The Holocaust didn’t happen in one fell swoop; Hitler slowly added more and more restrictions; started lying more and more; and kept on riling up his base. The Nazis built up to the mass round-ups, deportation, and mass murder of Jews, gay people, Roma, the disabled, and anyone who didn’t fit their ideal. Human rights atrocities don’t just happen overnight. It builds up gradually and then all at once. There are warning signs. It’s just a matter of whether people recognize the signs, take them seriously for what they are, and decide to take action against them.

It’s often said that those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it. Clearly, that seems to be a bit simplistic, given the current events—but learning about the past is important if we are to change the future. This November marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht. If you’re looking to learn more about Kristallnacht or the Holocaust, here are some books to get you started.
ANNE FRANK’S DIARY: THE GRAPHIC ADAPTATION BY ARI FOLMAN, ANNE FRANK, AND DAVID POLONSKY
If you’ve never read this—or even if you have, pick up this version. In fact, get both, because obviously, this isn’t the full diary. This was a monumental task, I imagine, converting this classic text to a graphic memoir. But Folman and Polonsky did an admirable job of bringing the diary to life on the page, and the art feels right with the text. A haunting, important book that has become only more so as time goes on.

 

ASPERGER’S CHILDREN: THE ORIGINS OF AUTISM IN NAZI VIENNA BY EDITH SHEFFER
Although Asperger syndrome is no longer in the DSM, it still remains in our everyday conversations. Hans Asperger was a pioneer of autism, and while most people celebrate his contributions to the field of psychology, this book sheds light on a not-so-great aspect of Dr. Asperger: his ties to the Third Reich and his complacency in the abuse and murder of children. The Nazis targeted anyone different or dissenting, including those who were disabled. This book was a tough one—excruciating at times—to get through. Sheffer does a wonderful job of discussing the nuances of Asperger’s work, and how his research was eventually used to pathologize different kinds of thinking and how it was used in a fascist regime.

 

THE HIDING PLACE BY CORRIE TEN BOOM, WITH ELIZABETH AND JOHN SHERRILL
Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who, along with her family, became active in the Dutch Resistance against the Nazis. They hid Jews and other members of the Resistance from the Nazis, until an informant led to their arrest. Ten Boom was sent to prison, then several concentration camps, and eventually released because of a clerical error. Even after her release, she helped disabled individuals hiding from the Nazis. She and her family have been honored as Righteous Gentiles for their work—and this book is their story.

 

HITLER’S WILLING EXECUTIONERS: ORDINARY GERMANS AND THE HOLOCAUST BY DANIEL JONAH GOLDHAGEN
When many people think of Germany during the Third Reich, a common refrain is “how did this happen?” The world was more aware than you might think, although the news about it was buried in the back pages. The informants that told Nazis where Jews were hiding, or those that rounded up Jews in their neighborhood were simply ordinary Germans. Not everyone who killed Jews was an SS soldier. Plenty of “good Germans” simply turned the other way because whatever was going on didn’t affect them. They didn’t speak up because each new law, each new restriction, each new decree, didn’t infringe on their rights or their lives. Their neighbors and friends disappeared, and they went on with their lives. Hatred flourishes thanks to the complacency of ordinary people. This book is a detailed account of how ordinary Germans played a critical role in the Third Reich, and how their inaction was used to Hitler’s advantage.
BRANDED BY THE PINK TRIANGLE BY KEN SETTERINGTON
Berlin was a cultural hub prior to the Holocaust, and a tolerant city for gay men and women. Once Hitler came into power, that changed. This book compiles first-person accounts of being gay during Hitler’s regime and stories of camps, along with research and anecdotes. Like the yellow star for Jews, the pink triangle was used to identify gay individuals, and the Nazi regime was brutal toward them. This book is a good start to learning more about this subject, with a detailed bibliography for further reading.

By , November