Thursday, February 07, 2008

Speaking of health

My wife volunteers in the high-school library here on the island. Recently, she brought home a book that was about to be discarded, a battered copy of The Best Short Stories, 1936, English and American. Published in the year we were born.

According to stamps and labels inside, the book made its way to the island from the "Ranfurly Library Service, Kensington Palace Barracks, London," which seems to have acquired it from a Scottish county library. What interests me is a printed label on the inside cover, with instructions for Scottish borrowers. Among the instructions: "Readers should report to the Local Librarian any case of infectious disease occurring in the house while a library book is in their possession."

We forget sometimes just how impressive has been the progress of scientific medicine even in our lifetimes.