Monday, June 7, 2010

Books Through the Ages

Recently, I was asked how I, as a librarian, felt about e-books and e-readers and the truth is I really like them. I have the Kindle app on my iPhone and my computer. They are great for when I travel as books get heavy fast when they are in your bag. However, when I was working at the library at Kiplin Hall, I realized how much you miss when you read an e-book compared to a printed book.

When I opened these books from the seventeen and eighteen hundreds, I could feel the history within them. From the pages and the breaks in the spine you could tell if a book was well read by the family. Also, many of these books had a family bookplate or a signature in them. Some even had inscriptions in them that told you that the book was a gift from one family member to another. The history in these books are amazing and it makes me want to go home and write my name in all of my books so later on people will know who they belonged to.

I truly realized what was missing when one afternoon after I returned to my room after cataloging these books all day and pulled out my iPhone to read a chapter of a book. There is something about the feel of the cover in your hand that makes you know that a book is real. And I admit that I feel more satisfied that I'm making progress in a book by physically turning a page rather than tapping the screen on my cell phone. I don't know if I could ever read Austen or Bronte on a Kindle, I think it would just feel wrong to read a classic on an electronic device, but I will enjoy it for more recent books.
~Virginia W. Blake

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