What would you find in the Vatican’s Secret Archive? How many books were in Charles Darwin’s library aboard the Beagle? Which library hosts a colony of bats? Bursting with potted histories, quirky facts and enlightening lists, this book explores every aspect of the library, celebrating remarkable institutions and the individuals behind their awe-inspiring collections. From the ancient library at Alexandria to the Library of Congress in Washington DC, this book will take you on an exploration of institutions both old and new, from the university library to that of the humble village. It opens the door to unusual collections such as herbaria, art libraries, magic libraries and even the library of smells, and charts the difficulties of cataloguing books deemed to be subversive, heretical, libellous or obscene. Packed with unusual facts and statistics, this is the perfect volume for library enthusiasts, bibliophiles and readers everywhere.