Beth Reinker, MSLS, Manager, Collection Development Adult Materials
In many libraries, biographies are some of the most popular titles. Why? People love to read stories about others, and biographies and autobiographies are some of the most captivating stories out there. The fact that they are true only makes them more fascinating. Where else can you get an in-depth glimpse at the real lives of athletes, actors, politicians, musicians, well-known business people, supermodels, and everyday people who have experienced extraordinary situations? You can watch a movie or a documentary, but unless there is strong narrative to help you understand what the person is thinking and feeling, you miss a big part of the person’s story. Reading a biography is often equal parts surprising and reassuring—the stories inspire empathy, sadness, laughter, amazement, or disgust. But almost always, they remind us of the similar threads that bind all of us to the human experience.