"The Future Deserves a Past"

"The Book Mechanic," an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Some years ago, Terry Belanger found a striking way to reveal the reverence that many citizens of the digital age continue to feel for old books. It is a sentiment he finds fascinating but only rarely appropriate or useful. Belanger, who retired in September as director of an educational institute called Rare Book School but who continues to teach there, brings an old volume to class, speaks about its binding and typography, and then, still discussing the book, rips it in half and tears it into pieces. As his horrified students watch in disbelief, Belanger tosses the shards into a nearby trash can and murmurs, "Bibliography isn't for sissies."
Interesting article about an interesting character. The author deals with the "death-of-the-book" canard well, and makes a point that I, as a special collections librarian, love to make: the book is one of humanity's most enduring technologies.
What is too often forgotten is that the book itself is a remarkable technology, easily one of the most socially significant in human history. Amazingly, books are still among our most reliable tools for preserving information. They never give you an error message or fail to open because of incompatibility with newer technologies.

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