Small Chirp: The Book as Artifact

From the desk of Melissa, the Library Canary:

There’s so much talk about the future of books lately. As readers turn increasingly to electronic alternatives to paper and the internet book-trade, the usual fingernail-nibbling questions emerge. What will happen to the book?  What will happen to brick-and-mortar libraries and bookstores?

Maybe books will become our bricks and mortar.

A recent trip to Vancouver, BC had me pondering the idea of the book as artifact. In Vancouver, book-oracles seemed to whisper from every street corner, prophesying the destinies of our discarded, unwanted and remaindered books. Here is what they showed me:

The Book Beyond Art:

An art installation at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia suggests one possibility. Continue reading

[ Small Chirps ] Digital Libraries the Future?

I am a library kid. Around age 9, I discovered that our local library had the entire Baby Sitters Club series on its shelf. Ever since, I’ve been a loyal library goer. My motto when it comes to books is, Why buy when you can borrow?

With my reading speed, that’s good news for my wallet.

However, last night I realized something. I don’t go to the library anymore.

Instead, I’m borrowing all of my library books online.

Now, I’m all for brick and mortar bookstores and I’m a strong advocate of physical books. There’s something wonderful about holding a real book in your hands, etc., etc… But let’s face it, digital books are really convenient. More than that, downloading audiobooks onto my mp3 player is a snap with my online library account.

So what do you think, canaries?

Is this a new and more convenient way to read for a new generation?

Or is this yet another symptom of a dying era of real readers and ‘real’ books?