Last night, while slurping up spaghetti and meatballs, my husband, daughter and I shared some lively table conversation. After reading an article in our small, community newspaper that addressed the possibility of our city building a local library in the next year or two, we launched into discussion about responsible use of tax dollars, cost-benefit analysis, convenience of location, and necessity. We tossed around our opinions like meatballs and marinara and came up with some interesting questions. One took me, a voracious reader, by surprise. “Are libraries obsolete?” My daughter, a sophomore in high school, sees her school library losing its luster and wondered if the same would be true of a community one.
Due to the availability of e-books, computers, cell phones, and the internet, are hard books becoming the dinosaurs of the literary world?
Our city council members are basing their decisions on a 2012 poll of residents whose responses revealed a library was on their wish list for the community. While 2012 wasn’t that long ago, I shudder to think of the changes and improvements in technology in just a few short years. Since 2012, our household alone has added a few laptops, an iPad, upgraded cell phones and faster wi-fi. E-books and online dictionaries are at our finger tips and the technology of reading is still unfolding. Our World Book Encyclopedia set is boxed up in the attic and our big, heavy, Webster’s Dictionary collects dust on a shelf. But, in spite of all of our modern technology, we have shelves and shelves of books that we continue to fill. Paperbacks. Hard-covered books. Magazines.
Our girls may prefer to read and study on a screen, but my hubby an I are both old school readers, preferring to read from an actual book; not a Kindle or Nook or iPad. When I read a novel, I want to feel the weight of it in my hands. I want to turn the smooth pages, appreciate the cover art, and experience the closure of gently folding it shut when I am finished. I love being able to share it with a friend—the act of passing it into the hands of another reader to enjoy brings me joy. Kind of like sharing spaghetti with the ones I love.
So here I sit, writing on my laptop, before I drive to a nearby city to pick up some books (that I reserved online) at the library there. I wonder what 2015 and beyond will bring to our community, our home, our family, and the future of reading.
How do you prefer to read? Are you old school like me? Or a techie-reader? Kindle? Nook? iPhone? Please share your preference and why. Something tells me this conversation will resurface again and again at our house. I’d love to hear your opinion.