I took a quick Colorado vacation last weekend. We went out to Montrose, then to Ouray, then back through the Black Canyon, with a stop in Salida. Amidst all the natural splendor, we also had the chance to do something I rarely can do these days: be a regular library patron. I tour a lot of libraries.
Part of me is always sizing up the competition. What have they done that we should do?
Last Saturday, I attended two weddings. The first was of Kevin Watkins, the library's crackerjack Network Administrator. Kevin was most dignified; I was proud of him. It was a lovely service, and the Best Woman (Kevin's sister) did a particularly fine job. The bride, in the grand tradition of brides, was radiant.
The second service was for a couple who have lived together for the past 25 years. It took place by a tree, along a river. Participants read poems from the Bible, from the Sufi poet Rumi, from Gerard Manley Hopkins, and from various other sources.
Back in college, I had an American History course that took an odd twist. Our teacher wanted our final project to be a sort of historical skit. The students got to choose among various roles, but those roles were pretty vague. I, for instance, volunteered for the character of a gentleman farmer. The play was set in New England, around 1774.
The teacher gave us various scenes, but no script. For instance, he said, "Suppose you just finished dinner with your father. In walks a guy who favors Revolution. What do you say?"
I keep coming back to this subject: the future of the book. Why?
For one thing, it's because books are so important to me. I care about what might happen to and with them.
For another, books are a big part of our business -- still somewhere around 85% of everything that people check out.