Saturday, March 26, 2011

Timely quote

I love the imagery in this quote from Geoffrey Nunberg in the New York Times Book Review section on March 20, 2011 about the enormity of data in our world today. He is speaking of the proliferation of information and internet chatter that has removed writing and reading from a solitary pursuit to a community activity.

"It's as if we've torn down the walls of the library, and now the
reading room is full of street people."

I picture the area around the New York Public Library  suddenly becoming the basis for all the chatter and cross-talk taking the place of lovely books. On my first visit to that venerable institution, I enjoyed the beauty of the reading room, years before technology overtook quiet. Not finding a single book available for browsing, I asked the desk attendant, and was told "If you want a book, fill out this slip to ask for it and wait while someone brings it to you."  Growing up in Chicago where I could browse the library from the age of 5, and take home as many books as I wished, the New York experience left a mark on me. I've been collecting books for my personal library ever since.

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