What You Don't Know Will Make a Whole New World: A Memoir (Paperback)
From one of California's most celebrated librarians and public historians, a coming-of-age memoir about the thirst for knowledge and hometown pride.
"What You Don't Know will inspire for its grace, zest and courage." --Joan Frank, San Francisco Chronicle
Dorothy Lazard grew up in the Bay Area of the 1960s and '70s, surrounded by an expansive network of family, and hungry for knowledge. Here in her first book, she vividly tells the story of her journey to becoming "queen of my own nerdy domain." Today Lazard is celebrated for her distinguished career as a librarian and public historian, and in these pages she connects her early intellectual pursuits--including a formative encounter with Alex Haley--to the career that made her a community pillar. As she traces her trajectory to adulthood, she also explores her personal experiences connected to the Summer of Love, the murder of Emmett Till, the flourishing of the Black Arts Movement, and the redevelopment of Oakland. As she writes with honesty about the tragedies she faced in her youth--including the loss of both parents--Lazard's memoir remains triumphant, animated by curiosity, careful reflection, and deep enthusiasm for life.
About the Author
Dorothy Lazard was born in St. Louis and grew up in San Francisco and Oakland. A librarian for nearly forty years, she joined the staff of the Oakland Public Library in 2000. From 2009 until her retirement in 2021, she was the head librarian of OPL's Oakland History Center, where she encouraged people of all ages and backgrounds to explore local history. Lazard is the 2023 recipient of the Oscar Lewis Award in Western History from the Book Club of California. She lives in Oakland.