Jeff would be so proud.

I have in front of me four books. One is to be expected: it’s Lawrence Lessig’s The Future of Ideas. The other three, well, less likely: they’re all tomes on the history of the library in American culture. Now, obviously, there is a link here — Lessig writes about the state of American culture, in terms of the accessibility and reusability of our heritage; libraries stand for public access (though the definitions of “public” do vary). And in fact, I’m hoping to use them all for the same paper, on how intellectual property legislation has abridged the possibilities open to library users for access to their cultural heritage. But walking back down to the reference desk from the stacks (that’s right, blogging at work again — but sue me, there’s nobody here), it occurred to me that my old boss at that purple university, Jeff, would probably get all misty at my sudden interest in library history. That, in fact, is his field, though he tends to veer towards the baroque obscurity of the German monastic library. But, before I came to SI, I remember him once asking me (with a fair degree of skepticism) whether I could really ever see myself taking a class on the history of the book and liking it. He was trying to see if I could ever get excited about the sorts of things librarians geek out about. And obviously (to many who know me, at least), I am capable of geeking out about just such things. I think these books help prove that (even if they are for a paper). So, Jeff, here’s to you {Holds up books as though toasting}.

God, I think this shift is really getting to me.


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