I open Neil Gaiman’s book “Art Matters” and find myself transported to a childhood memory of a community library. Libraries have always been special to me, and as I talk with my friends, I realize they adore them too. Why do we love libraries so?
I think it’s because libraries are a holy place where they teach us to revere books. In the book store, books get graded on profit and loss. In the library, the old, hardbound classics take pride of place. There’s a silence, a very comfortable silence as you and the book are in communion. And in that silence, you are transported into magical worlds.
The high priest (aka the librarian) worships books and will take the utmost care to ensure that everyone behaves appropriately in the haloed place. And should she see you are a devoted patron, she may share other treasures from in the hidden, dusty book-shelves! Good libraries have layers that you can breach only through devotion!
Libraries teach you patience. Today, if a book is not available in your local shop, you can order it online. In a library, you queue up and wait for its return. Waiting for the arrival of a book is a joy – I am sure all you library lovers would agree!
I miss some of the curated little shops that sold handpicked collections. It was a treat to listen to the curator talk about how he discovered a book and why it’s unique. Books benefit from formal introductions too – and the curator was doing just that and helping you get acquainted with a potential best friend.
I think there’s a place for the library, little curated shops, and the modern bookshop to coexist. Together, they can make our lives so much richer. Would you agree?