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Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Portals to all the knowledge in the world, libraries are also created universes of a multitude of imaginations. Librarians guide us to enlightenment as well as serving as the captains, mages, and gatekeepers who open the doors to delight, speculation, wonder, and terror. Both inspire writers of speculative fiction to pen wonderful tales woven around them.
This captivating
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Prime Books (first published July 11th 2017)
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3.79  · 
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 ·  136 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Apr 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
After doing the math, despite some REALLY blow your mind stories, it averaged out to 3.09 stars for me.

The best, to find and read somewhere, if not from this anthology.

1) "In the House of Seven Librarians" by Ellen Klages. First story in the book, starts off with amazing awesomeness, had high hopes for the rest of the book due to this story. 5 stars

2) "The Books" by Kage Baker. Not quite as great as the first one, but VERY good. 4.5 stars.

3) "Summer Reading" by Ken Liu. You will need a hanky or
That libraries and librarians are often found in fiction should come as no surprise. Cultural reflection aside, writers usually know both well and are fond of them. And, since authors need reading and readers and libraries and librarians nurture such, authors have a vested interest in their ongoing success.

This is my second collection edited by Paula Guran and it's another exceptional piece of work. The story quality is consistently fantastic - there's a couple here and there I wasn't a fan of,
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bibliophiles, duh
Recommended to Alan by: The Multnomah County Library's Belmont branch, a spot-on theme, and previous work by Guran
My father died, and it was as if a library had burned down.
Laurie Anderson, during an interview on NPR

Odds are that the people who shelve books in your local library, and check them in and out for you, are not librarians. Their work is important too—I've done it myself—but librarians are degreed professionals, and their jobs are normally rather less routine—more research-based, even managerial. I should know; I'm married to an academic librarian.

Similarly, the editors of anthologies are not the
Anna Tan
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, review-copy
As anthologies go, Ex Libris a mixed bag. It wasn't as dark as I expected it to be (hah), nor half as weird. In fact, it started off almost downright wholesome with Ellen Klages' In the House of the Seven Librarians, which I totally loved.

The libraries depicted in this book are often wonderful, magical places, some of which hold more magic than can be reasonably contained. In Libres (Elizabeth Bear) is a hilarious case in point, emphasising how dangerous it is (can be), where one browses at the
Alex Sarll
Ah, the perils of the anthology on a single topic, in this case libraries: as a wise man once observed, stories with a twist can lose much of their impact if you read them in 50 Stories Where The Heroine Turns Out To Be A Vampire - and even when it’s not a matter of twists, diminishing returns can easily set in. Particularly if you have an advanced copy* with a ticking clock and are obliged to get through all 23 tales in a month or two. So for all that I love a good library, there were points he ...more
Bea  Charmed
Libraries are one of my favorite places to be so I when I saw this on Edelweiss, I eagerly requested it. The stories celebrate libraries, librarians, knowledge, information, and the power of words. The stories covered sweet, whimsical, odd, strange, hopeful, funny, and a couple were dark. The quality ranged from good to meh, exciting to boring, inventive to cliched. It's a LONG book as it has a lot of stories. It would have been a tighter collection with fewer stories, a quarter to a third less. ...more
Full review to come!
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
This anthology is made up of reprints, taking from other anthologies or magazines such as Uncanny and Subterranean, so some you may have come across before. Of these, I've already read the shorts by Elizabeth Bear, Kelly Link, Scott Lynch, and Tansy Rayner Roberts - but as these are my favourite authors I eagerly reached for the rest. After all, what better subject than libraries.

Unfortunately I struggled with this anthology. Usually I love to review each story individually, but I didn't find my
Lizabeth Tucker
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries & Lore
Edited by Paula Guran

Twenty-three tales of fantasy and science fiction that contain libraries and librarians as well as the magic of books. An absolutely wonderful collection, only one disappointment. And that was more about style of writing than the premise of the story itself. 4 out of 5.

“In the House of the Seven Librarians” by Ellen Klages
When the old Carnegie library was closed and much of its newer content moved to a brand-new librar
Michael Cook
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it
(2.5 out of 5)

I ended up not really caring for this anthology. It's not bad, per say. But it's not really that good either. A few of the stories are nice, particularly the first one, "In the House of Seven Librarians", but the rest failed to leave any kind of real impression on me. The quality of the shorts varied greatly, some being much better than others. But overall, the anthology itself was a bit of a trek to get through. It wasn't as enjoyable as I'd hoped it would be. Perhaps some will en
Catherine Girard-Veilleux
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This collection of fantasy short stories explores the relationships of readers and librarians, the wonderful work librarians do, the fantastical places that libraries can be… and all of that mixed with lore.

Now, I must say this book really caught my interest when I first saw it! Stories about librarians, libraries, and lore in the same book? Count me in! Also, the Latin title got me. I think it speaks for the them
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for librarians and library lovers to be sure, but it is quite uneven*. Still, the five stars are earned on the merit of the best stories and the very existence of this collection. (*To someone who hasn't been searching out every story about magical and fantastical libraries they can find for the last thirty+ years, many of these stories will likely be more original than they were to me.)
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended for libraryfolk and bibliomanes. Includes some stellar short stories including "In the House of the Seven Librarians" and "Magic for Beginners."
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
See Full Review:

Paula Guran, the editor of this anthology, has compiled 24 short stories that have been previously published in Sci-fi and Fantasy magazines like Uncanny, and Clarkesworld which have at its core the topic of libraries and librarians. Some of the authors include Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Ray Bradbury, Ken Liu, and Xia Jia. These writers are contemporary giants in the Science Fiction and Fantasy community, and I was pleasantly surprised b
A delight for book lovers everywhere, every story in this collection features a library, librarian, or some form of book cataloguer. While in some of the stories libraries and the like are only given a cursory mention, in the majority they are integral to the story and you can soak in your library-love for page after blissful page. As a bonus, read the introduction and discover even more books based around libraries!
In the House of the Seven Librarians by Ellen Klages – Abandoned by the erectio
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Except for a jog or three pretty insipid after the first couple of stories. I thought these stood out:

Klages, In the House of the Seven Librarians. A true A++ classic. "Olive had been the children's librarian since before recorded time, or so it seemed. No one knew how old she was, but she vaguely remembered waving to President Coolidge. She still had all of her marbles, though every one of them was a bit oddd and rolled asymmetrically." Also: Blythe "had bright, dark eyes like a spaniel's, whic
Alexia Polasky
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley and Diamond Book Distributors for the ARC!
Sci-Fi, Gothic, Mystery, Existential, you name it. This book touches on a variety of topics and genres, all revolving around the theme of books, libraries and librarians.
A book that is alive, another acts as a philosopher's stone, a baby as payment for a late return, witches, authors living after their deaths through their books, and much more.
Curious about my favorites? Find them in the full review

3.5 stars.
As a librarian, how could I NOT want to read a book titled Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries & Lore?

I found the collection to be a mixed bag. Meaning that there were one or two horror tales included. [Note: When given a choice, I normally do not read horror.] But I wanted to read every story in this collection so I pushed on. And I certainly would not have wanted to miss some of the other, utterly delightful stories included in this anthology!

"As for the contents of this anthology.
Kelly Link’s “Magic for Beginners” is about five teenage friends and the pirate tv show they are addicted to called “The Library.” “In the House of Seven Librarians” by Ellen Klages is about seven librarians and a library raising a child and it’s delightful! In “Death and the Librarian” by Esther Friesner, Death comes for a librarian who holds a story hour for ghostly children; he gives her a pass, for now. “In Libres” by Elizabeth Bear the main characters attend a magical university and need on ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love books, I love libraries and I love books about books and libraries. And I genuinely love this book, it is easily one of my favorite anthology collections ever.
The tone of the stories was pretty varied, mostly whimsical, but there were stories that were more melancholy, stories that were dark and threatening, all of them touched on the magic and value of libraries and learning…and the dangers. Some knowledge comes with a steep price.
As with most short story collections there are a smatte
Do you like libraries? Or do you fear libraries/librarians? Do you know what actually happens in library stacks? Well, read this collection of previously published tales that all deal in one fashion or another with libraries or librarians and find out. The book opens with a child being raised by seven feral librarians and ends with a librarian destroying the future equivalent of the Internet to save the books from abuse. In between are tales of libraries helping save civilization, would-be-wizar ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks
Read in the Nook epub edition.

Stories about libraries and librarians, mostly fantasy. As usual with anthologies, some stories work better than others, and my dislike of the works of some authors was reinforced by their stories here.

I liked the voice in "King of the Big Night Hours" (Richard Bowes) more than I did the story and very much enjoyed "Death and the Librarian" (Esther Friesner); Sarah Monette is always fun to read; and those who don't enjoy horror will not want to read "Special Collect
This anthology is nothing less than an homage to the keepers of the books, those who treasure and preserve them, those who read them, abuse them, destroy them. Whether printed on pages or floating in the digital world, books remain a constant source of desire, frustration, controversy and the occasional bout of madness.

The stories run the gamut, from magical libraries with malevolent, violent unbound pages that attack the unwary to tales that barely seem to feature books at all, as in “A Woman’s
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I will never look at a library or librarian the same way again

Kudos to editor Paula Guran for her selection of short fantasy/science fiction stories. I loved about two thirds of them and liked about another four, but in an anthology, I certainly don’t expect to love all the stories. I would list my favorite stories but it would too closely resemble the table of contents. But I will say that some of my favorite authors are there, including Elizabeth Bear, Esther Friesner, and Ray Bradbury. This a
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found the concept for this book to be intriguing as I love libraries. The stories themselves have all been published elsewhere, but with the number of authors it would be difficult to access them all otherwise. The stories are all speculative, science fiction, or fantasy and are all associated with libraries in some way. I really enjoyed the different stories, which range widely in tone, voice, and whether libraries are positive or negative places/powers.

I received a digital ARC for review thr
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable collection of stories, all about libraries--real, magical, horrible, futuristic, bogged down in the past--and the various people who work in them or are somehow connected with them. As in any multi-author compendium, you'll like some more than others. With luck, you'll find some new authors to look for in the future.
Adam Williamson
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
A hit-or-miss collection of short stories. A few of the short stories were excellent (Bradbury's "Exchange" and Wise's "With Tales in Their Teeth"), but most seemed to follow rather similar story beats. It's a lovely set of stories about loving books and the places where they live, but it's ultimately no bigger than the sum of its parts.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent collection, especially for people who love libraries and stories. It was intriguing to see how different authors could use the same setting or type of characters and create unique stories. I would highly recommend this collection to anyone who appreciates libraries or who has a love of books and storytelling.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books-read
Great sci-fi/fantasy collection of stories about Libraries and Librarians. This was a really fun read and exposed me to lots of new authors I am going to be checking out in the future. Most of all this was one of my favorite genres addressing some of my favorite subjects; books, libraries etc. Nice one.
Karla Kuhn
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read. I liked the different stories and takes about libraries and librarians. Probably my favorite line is in the last story, the librarian state " I am on of the secret masters of the world. I am a librarian. I control information. Don't ever piss me off."
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Paula Guran is senior editor for Prime Books. She edited the Juno fantasy imprint from its small press inception through its incarnation as an imprint of Pocket Books. She is also senior editor of Prime's soon-to-launch digital imprint Masque Books. Guran edits the annual Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror series as well as a growing number of other anthologies. In an earlier life she produced we ...more