Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Love and Hate for the Public Library

The library, a bitter sweet institution of acquired knowledge and learning. Dedicated to preserving the accumulated writings of the world. In so doing so, though, it has also taken actions against books that make any true bibliophile cry in horrid despair. In an attempt to provide free books to read to the masses, they have taken to rather destructive practices. At cross purposes within itself, the library is an unpalatable gruel of life sustenance that I frolic in with overabundant joy. It's a curse.

The experience of a library is meant to be enjoyed and savored like a fine meal or wine. One must allow ample time to browser and select books with care. Rashness or hurried browsing more often than not leads to making a bad selection. The library opens doors and windows of possibilities that may not usually be explored. Every avenue of literary delight should be rooted out and devoured with happy abandon. Libraries offers the hope of mankind. If more people would stop for a few moments to read a book, there would be a lot more understanding in the world... and a lot less stupidity.

In the libraries unwavering stampede towards complete and total access of all books to everyone, they have also set about to destroy the very things that libraries were originally set up to protect. Don't get me wrong, everyone should have access to books. There just has to be a better way to go about it while protecting the books. It use to be that books where chained to the shelves with just enough slack to take to a nearby table.   There are still plenty of libraries who's books are not open to circulation. For sure every library has those few reference books that can not be taken out or, if the library is lucky enough, a collection of rare books, but I'm talking about libraries that do not let any of their books out. The Grolier Club is a great example. Perhaps I should look into a better way and do a blog about it in the future.

For many people the library is their only source of books and is an indispensable resource when it comes to research. The shear number of books written is staggering and it is impossible for one to get all the books. When those people that collect only certain topics will have a hard time getting everything. What will be interesting to see is what happens to the library with the coming ebook craze. How will they adapt and change? While the slip slowly into obscurity, relegated to preservation only with access to their books only available to academia? I hope not.


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