This Kindle edition e-book actually goes by the full title, Libraries in the Medieval and Renaissance Periods: The Rede Lecture Delivered June 13, 1894. Regarding the author, John Willis Clark, go here for information on the Medievalist and all around book lover. The reason why I am reviewing this comes from the fact that this talks about architecture, a huge subset of art history.
Despite that I am not a big fan of architectural history, it did not stop me from enjoying this book. It does drag at the beginning but do not let that discourage you. Because once we get to the history of libraries, it picks up greatly. I enjoyed John Clark’s delightful prose, and I suggest imagining Terry Jones’s voice narrating this. In this lecture, he talks about the history and evolution of libraries from the orders of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance era universities. Throughout this book, he shows that as they produces more books, they made more libraries. In short, architects built and modified libraries around a book collection. He also stresses the importance that the proper reading environment was essential to these libraries, right down to the proper desk and cushion. He also gives out documents written by the medieval and renaissance authors who wrote about what they wanted in a library. Clark even lets us know what kind of book reading rituals that library visitors used when reading. Regarding the Kindle edition I bought for free, it does not have photos of these libraries. It only has captions of what these photos contained. In other words, I recommend reading the Google Books version or just buying the Kindle versions that cost money.
Speaking of Terry Jones, I recommend watching this episode on the Monk from his 2004 series, Medieval Lives.