A lot has been said this past week about digital libraries and again this morning I saw an article here talking about libraries in the internet age. I, for one, am always one of those people in a library trying so hard to be quiet and reverent. I hear my mother’s voice: people are reading! It’s just so hard to find a book I’vewanted to read forever and not do a happy dance and let out a woohoo! in the middle of the aisle.
I like the ideas of libraries as social gathering places. If you’ve ever been to a Barnes & Noble in a metro area, you know how packed it can get with teens looking for somewhere to study and drink coffee, while taking occasional breaks to browse the stacks. It’s also really nice to pick up and hold a book. I want to turn the pages and not have to deal with a lazy scroll bar on a weirdly coded webpage that has gone on far too long.
Even being a youngster (no matter what my sister says) I can’t find the point in a fiction novel being an e-book. I want to take a book on the train with me and not worry about someone thinking it’s valuable enough to take. I want to sit in the tub and flip pages without worrying about dropping it and electrocuting myself. I want to be able to look at a page that does not have a glare from an LCD or plasma screen on it. I want soft, evenly spaced printed words to look back at me and don’t mind if I hold them too close to my nose after I’ve taken my contacts out for the day.
I work on a computer, for a dotcom, all day long. I don’t want my relaxation to be computerized either. God only forbid that my battery ever go dead too… I like the least amount of working crap possible when I’m looking for relaxation time. The less amount of things that do stuff = the possibility of something fucking up goes way down.
I also love the way books smell. A machine cannot absorb the heavenly scent of pipe tobacco and dust and turn it into something completely unique. Our minds and bodies recognize scent memories more readily than any other sensory trigger. Just holding a book, breaking open an antique book, and flipping the pages on a brand new book have completely different scents and memories. I for one, particularly enjoy getting a book in the mail. Something about the smell of a book in an envelope does it for me.
I’m telecommuting today, so I’m sitting at my desk in my home office looking at all the paperbacks lining the shelves of my desks and the bookcase behind me. I know each story and it feels like being in a room of close, comfortable friends who don’t mind when you just want to sit quietly. I love working from home because I can see all my books and tape notes to my wall. I write comments and quotes from my favorites on the white storage cabinet and I love to read them when I’m stressed.
God is really heavy – from Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. Written inside a sketch of a flower and vine, tattoo styled on the left door.
So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. – from the Quran, Chapter 88 verse 21-22, quoted in Velvet Elvis. Written on the diagonal in light blue in a larger font above the ‘tattoo.’
If your faith story is boring, take someone else’s. – I don’t remember where that’s specifically from, but it’s written in hot pink in a vertical stripe up the door of the cabinet.
This year, I think my goal is to touch every book I own even if it’s to reshelve it, clean it, and make sure it’s catalogued. I’ve moved so many around lately that I don’t know where anything is right now.
Soon, though, I will have more storage space than I know what to do with. I can’t wait!