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Madam Librarian

March 12, 2008

If you didn’t know I was a book nerd already, you will be convinced of it when I tell you I totally love my job at the library. I don’t even work with books all that much and I love it just for the fact that I get to be in the library. My favorite part of every day is when the mail comes in and I get to sort all the mail and then deliver it in my mail cart.

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A more infrequent but equally delectable duty I have is to retrieve books from the stacks. There is something so sexy about being surrounded by shelves and shelves full of books; and not just because it would be an amazing place to make out. A book is a sensual experiece. Books are the  source of so many of my most profound joys that to be in the midst of endless books is a breathless thrill.

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I hate to stand in the way of progress, but the transition from books to e-books and electronic resources gives me pain. Working at the library, I have seen a lot of this transition firsthand. The collection of current periodicals gradually thins as the journals each go electronic, and I sadly send the hard copies we receive down to recycling. I guess for periodicals, going electronic isn’t so bad. It is definitely more convenient. But what do we lose to this convenience? The tactile experience of holding the book, cradling it, and connecting with it emotionally as a tangible object that you can cherish. It would just be hard for me to say, “I love that book!” of a book I had read electronically. Beyond the bareness of the words on the screen, it does not even exist for me to love.

However, change is a part of life, and I have to wonder if this hasn’t happened before. Did monks feel the way I feel now, at Gutenberg’s hailed invention? Did they grow nostalgic for the feel of the ink on the parchment and the beauty of their calligraphy? Did they miss their scrolls the way I would miss the very books that replaced them?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. strawberrygirl88 permalink*
    March 12, 2008 12:34 pm

    I’m sorry the pictures on this post are such poor quality. I took them with my cell phone because I did’t bring my camera to work today. As much as I love my job, I am not in the habit of taking pictures of it regularly!

  2. strawberrygirl88 permalink*
    March 12, 2008 9:15 pm

    Here’s a link to the song that is my inspiration! hehe.

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