Thursday, September 05, 2013


Re: Paul's library link:

Thirty-four years we've summered in this cottage, and each summer accumulated books. Bookshelves are piled high, all in a jumble, no rhyme or reason, no organizing principle. The rhymes of Yeats or Heaney are cheek-by-jowl with the reason of Dawkins or Dennett. Now where is that novel by Michael Cunningham? The Living room? The studio? The loft? The pile on the floor at the top of the stairs? Give me twenty minutes and I'll find it.

And so it's about the time each summer when I start hankering for my nook in the college library. Any book I want, essentially, and I know exactly where to find it. Rhyme and reason: Ps and Qs.

The day will come to my college, I am sure, as it already has to many other academic institutions, when our library will decide it doesn't make much sense to keep all those tens of thousands of paper books when hardly anyone one uses them. I sit in my comfy chair in the third floor stacks and see almost no one all day long. The computer terminals downstairs are crowded with students doing research (when they aren't Facebooking and Instagramming). We could get rid of all the rows of books and add a hundred more computer terminals -- or so they say.

And I'm still ruing the demise of the card catalog.

OK, OK, I use Wikipedia too. But my soul is inked on cellulose, sewn in signatures, glued along the spine. Look for me on the third floor, between the Ps and Qs.