In order to get more accurate results, our search has the following Google-Type search functionality:
If you use '+' in front of a word, then that word will be present in the search results.
ex: Harry +Potter will return results with the word 'Potter'.
If you use '-' in front of a word, then that word will be absent in the search results.
ex: Harry -Potter will return results without the word 'Potter'.
If you use 'AND' between two words, then both of those words will be present in the search results.
ex: Harry AND Potter will return results with both 'Harry' and 'Potter'.
If you use 'OR' between two words, then bth of those words may or may not be present in the search results.
ex: Harry OR Potter will return results with just 'Harry', results with just 'Potter' and results with both 'Harry' and 'Potter'.
If you use 'NOT' before a word, then that word will be absent in the search results.
ex: Harry NOT Potter will return results without the word 'Potter'.
Placing '""' around words will perform a phrase search. The search results will contain those words in that order.
ex: "Harry Potter" will return any results with 'Harry Potter' in them, but not 'Potter Harry'.
Using '*' in a word will perform a wildcard search. The '*' signifies any number of characters. Searches can not start with a wildcard.
ex: Pot*er will return results with words starting with 'Pot' and ending in 'er'. In this case, 'Potter' will be a match.
The secret library is in the basement of a bombed building in a heavily shelled area of Darayya. Around it, shattered buildings that were once homes and offices lie in crumbling, treacherous piles. A desert of shattered grey concrete festooned with twisted metal and charred wires. Deep beneath this scene of frightening devastation lies the secret library. No signs mark its presence. Locals fear that Syrian government planes will bomb it if they know where it is.
While the streets above echo with rifle fire and thunderous shelling the secret world below is a haven of peace and tranquillity. More than 14,000 books are stacked neatly on home-made shelves according to author and subject, and are checked in and out meticulously. Those within read quietly, drinking tea on comfortable sofas and chairs. A small oasis of normality in a country at war with itself.
The secret library was the brainchild of a group of former university students whose education was interrupted when war broke out and then was ended altogether by the siege that followed. Teams of young enthusiasts regularly dodge snipers' bullets and barrel bombs to bring the books to the library. Timber for the bookshelves is collected in a similar way.
Darayya's secret library is an extraordinary place, but this book is about more than that. It is also the stories of the many people who treasure it and the central role it has in their lives.