August 17, 2001 Henry Petroski to Discuss "The Book on the Bookshelf" on September 26

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-5221

Henry Petroski, who has been called "the poet laureate of technology," will discuss his latest book, The Book on the Bookshelf (Knopf, 1999) at the Library of Congress at noon, Wednesday, September 26, in the West Dining Room, sixth floor, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. Part of the Center for the Book's "Books & Beyond" author series, the program is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

An imaginative, well-illustrated history of the storing of books, The Book on the Bookshelf includes a description of the design and "invention" of the Library of Congress's bookstacks by civil engineer Bernard R. Green (1843-1914). The Library's Collections Management Division, cosponsor of Mr. Petroski's talk, will offer tours of the Library's stacks immediately following the program.

A professor of civil engineering and history at Duke University, Henry Petroski is the author of the highly acclaimed The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance (Knopf, 1990), The Evolution of Useful Things (Knopf, 1992), and five other books. In its praise of The Book on the Bookshelf, the Christian Science Monitor said that the book's charm "lies in the way that it helps us to take a fresh look at an old, long-familiar object, seeing it, as did its various inventors and innovators, for the first time."

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books, reading, and libraries. Its program is supported by tax-deductible contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. For information about its projects and publications and the activities of its affiliates in 42 states and the District of Columbia, consult its Web site at


PR 01-111
ISSN 0731-3527