For immediate release | April 22, 2011

A constellation of stars celebrates books and libraries

CHICAGO — In his new ALA Editions book “Reading with the Stars: A Celebration of Books and Libraries,” American Libraries Editor-in-Chief Leonard Kniffel offers a compelling collection of interviews with prominent figures -- all of whom have special connections to libraries. From President Barack Obama to actress Julie Andrews; from basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to former First Lady and librarian Laura Bush and many others, stars of literature, politics, entertainment and the public arena speak with Kniffel about the ways libraries have been critical in their lives. Other highlights of this delightful volume:

  • TV icon Oprah Winfrey talks about library books as "her pass to personal freedom";
  • Hard-boiled wordsmith David Mamet claims the public library as his "alma mater";
  • Software mogul Bill Gates discusses his groundbreaking library computerization project and why he feels libraries are an important focus of his investment;
  • Former Vice President Al Gore addresses the "information ecosystem," including how libraries contribute to the informed citizenry that's required to manage today's challenges

Kniffel is a publishing executive for the American Library Association in Chicago. He was editor-in-chief of American Libraries magazine from 1996 to 2011 and worked as a librarian for 18 years at the Detroit Public Library. He is also the author of “A Polish Son in the Motherland: An American’s Journey Home,” a travel memoir.

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