I’ve been talking about libraries the last few days (Part I and Part II). It’s amazing I’ve had the attention span—squirrel!—but I’ve given this a lot of thought.
I love books. This is not news to you, I know. But I have always loved books. Mostly fiction. Mostly amusing fiction, although I have cried over my fair share of sad stories too. Books are escape, they are magic (with or without wizards), they are a way to try on other people’s lives, thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
It is impossible for me to imagine a world without books since I consider them an accessory almost as important as a great pair of shoes and sparkly earrings.
The time between books is a weird time. On the one hand, it’s freeing in that for a short time I don’t have to obsessively stay up until two in the morning frantically reading to find out what happens next. On the other hand, I feel a little adrift not having a book (or two or three) in progress. On the third hand (I like science fiction too), it is a wonderful feeling knowing I get to choose something from all the books in the library.
Libraries do not only offer printed material these days. There are audio books (love!), music, movies, tv show…the list goes on. It is wonderful that all sorts of electronic media are there for the borrowing.
But as more and more people use e-readers, I worry that books may disappear. It is horrifying to think that at some point in the not too distant future children might not go to a physical library. Or even if they do that there will be only three books on display for historical significance.
Reading a book is a wonderful tactile experience that just isn’t the same as an iPad.
Then again, I wonder what people said when scrolls first replaced clay: It’s terrible! The parchment will tear, if you don’t have to work as hard to write people won’t take it seriously!
And then when books replaced scrolls: It’s terrible! Books will take up too much space, who can even afford books, all that page turning will cause carpal page-turning syndrome!
And when the first audio books appeared: It’s terrible! Books are meant to be read, not listened to, people will forget how to read!
Happily, books are still here, audio books are still here, movies are here…there’s room for all of it.
Visit a library, Kid. There’s whole world there.