Rambling thoughts about libraries and old books

Remember when libraries were full of old books alongside the new ones? And older ones had been read so often that they started to fall apart so they were rebound? I miss those days. As a person who loves books, I don’t only like reading them (although that is admittedly the best part about them), I like picking them up, smelling them (ok, so I’m a little weird), and thinking about their history. Who read it before me? Did they love it? How many times did some other person check out this same book because it was her favorite? That’s also why I love old pockets with cards that had a due date stamp on them. I like to look over the old due dates and see when the book was circulating.
Today when I walk into a library, there are lots of shiny new books. I notice this mostly in the juvenile fiction section. If books published long ago are there, they are a new edition. Do kids these days not pick up books unless they are new? As a kid, and really, still today, I would pick out books based on age and how worn they were. Also the cover. I love covers and dust jackets. A worn book just seemed like it might be interesting because of how many others had read it.
My collection of books at home includes lot of library discards. There are so many out there. And I must rescue them.

One Reply to “Rambling thoughts about libraries and old books”

  1. What a lovely thought!  I’ve never stopped to wonder who’s read the book before me, but sometimes I find checkout receipts in the books (which makes me think the borrower didn’t actually read the book!) and I’m always curious to see what other books were borrowed at the same time, it makes me feel like I’m getting a glimpse into the borrower’s life.  And one of my high school teachers introduced us to the marvel that is cloth-bound books, and ever since I’ve always stopped to appreciate any cloth-bound book I find.

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