When Libraries Were About Books

When growing up as a young boy, one of my most enjoyable pleasures was reading. I would read sports books, novels, and other books that happened to strike my fancy. Later on in my teenage years, I got into reading dystopian novels like ‘1984’ ‘Brave New World’ and other such novels. A bit later I got into the self help books as I suffered from a very pronounced low self esteem. My brother Tom on the other hand was constantly reading Steven King, Edgar Allen Poe, Western novels, etc. The point is, back then everyone was reading something and libraries definitely filled a void for many of us. I used to spend a good bit of time at the local library and being a shy lad, it was one of my favorite places to go, and to borrow actual ‘hold in your hand’ books!

Nowadays, I don’t read as many books and it’s probably the same for most people as you can find just about everything you need online. In the rare times that I go to the library, I will usually borrow books on tape, or go for some other purpose, but not usually to borrow a book. While the internet has brought forth a lot of fantastic changes in our life, it has definitely changed the way we get information and reading. Where you use to rely on the library to find information, you can now find most of what you need to online, and if you actually need to get a physical version of a book, Amazon will get it to you in a day or so.

While libraries today offer so many more services, I sort of miss the times when libraries were mainly about books and reading. They call it ‘Creative Destruction’ when one technology replaces another like when the car replaced the ‘horse and buggy’ and in the long run it usually improves the lot of people in society. While I don’t anticipate libraries going away, they have certainly had to go with the flow and are much more than just the place to go to borrow a book or record.

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