June 27, 2010
The Time Machine - A trip to the Library Stacks
I'm trimming my budget and not paying for books delivered to my Kindle via Amazon. I wanted to read Flow by Csíkszentmihály and could have had it in 60 secs on my Kindle device for $12.95. Instead, I left my office and set out to find our library's stacks. I asked our student consultants where the stacks were and they told me they won't go up there, "It's scary."
Three flights of stairs later, I asked a young man behind the library's check-out desk where I could find the book. He directed me to a stairway hidden by racks of old books and told me to go to the second floor. I opened the door and the smell of aging books took my back to my childhood. I paused in the doorway inhaling the smell like a fresh apple pie straight out of the oven. Ah, aroma therapy. Agendas and deadlines left my thoughts and I was a third grader, again, exploring the racks of books at the public library. Books, real books.
I suppose this setting would be "scary" to our young students. They're not use to sifting through racks of books on library shelves. What's a dewey decimal system? If they want information, they google it. They download articles from electronic journals and books. Are they missing anything? No, not according to them. Are they missing anything? No. Someday, they'll reminisce about entering a keyword on a search engine and the feel of hitting the enter key with their right pinky finger. I'm sure that process will be outdated by the time they are in their 50s. They have their own memories. Time marches on.
For me, opening the door to the library's stacks was like stepping into a time machine. The smell of the books and walking through the rows of racks, running my finger across the worn, faded spines, looking for BF.L223 was a trip back to my school-age years. I now know where to go to de-stress, save a few extra bucks, and become a little girl again.