Bethnal Green Library

We're highlighting Rowan Hisayo Buchanan's work over the next week. This morning we have a link to a piece she has over at The Paris Review about the history of the Bethnal Green library.

Though the London Civil Defense Region did not think this was the most pressing issue in time of war, they agreed that fifty pounds could be put toward the provisions of bookcases or cupboards, and the librarians carried four thousand books down into the tube.

This was how, during the Blitz, the Bethnal Green library became the first, and possibly only, bomb-shelter library in all of Britain. As bombs and fires cratered the city, Londoners hunkered underground, and librarians handed out poetry, plays, novels, nonfiction, and children’s books.
— from "The Library of Books and Bombs"

Much gratitude to librarians, those committed to supporting libraries, and those digging up the details to keep us interested.