I Love Books: A Campus Library Evolves

I love books.

I love smelling them, touching them, stacking them, unwrapping the plastic from a new purchase, and cracking the spine when I’m halfway through a hardback. (My wife *hates it* when I crack a spine).

I love books.

I love downloading them, searching them, copying-and-pasting passages, reading them to my kids at night when it’s dark save for the glow of my iPad (I read them the whole Lord of the Rings over the space of about five months a few years ago), and carrying scores of them around in the iPod in my shirt pocket.

I’m sad that unloved, unused books are taking up space in the library.

I’m not sad enough to force my students to use physical books when the electronic alternatives meet their needs better. (I do put in an artificial “Your bibliography must use at least one book” requirement in my freshman writing class, but I don’t check to see whether that book actually makes it into the final paper.)

I love that my campus library is packing up the unloved, unused books that are just taking up space in the library, and reimagining that space to reflect the way today’s students learn and the way today’s professors teach.

I love that our campus librarian is documenting the latest stage in our library’s evolution.

I love that we’re not getting rid of all of the books; many are going into more compressed accordion-style storage in the basement. (We’ve all had more than enough chance to speak up in favor of the physical books we want to keep on hand.)

I love books.

I collected some of the most beautiful ones in the discard pile, and gave them to a local theater company’s prop department.

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Did I mention that I love books?