Ah, libraries.

NYPL

NYPL

“Sit in your local coffee shop and your laptop can tell you a lot, especially if you wield your search terms adeptly. But if you want deeper, more local knowledge, you will still have to take the narrower path that leads between the lions and up the stone stairs. There – as in great libraries around the world – you will use all the new sources, all the time. […] But these streams of data, rich as they are, will illuminate rather than eliminate the unique books and prints and manuscripts that only the library can put in front of you. For now, and for the foreseeable future, if you want to piece together the richest possible mosaic of documents and texts and images, you will have to do it in those crowded public rooms where sunlight gleams on varnished tables, as it has for more than a century, and knowledge is still embodied in millions of dusty, crombling, smelly, irreplaceable manuscripts and books” (Anthony Grafton, “Codex in Crisis,” Worlds Made by Words).

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
This entry was posted in Books, Historical episodes, Items of the academy / learning. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ah, libraries.

  1. Alex says:

    “Of human knowledge as a whole and in every branch of it by far the largest part exists nowhere but on paper – I mean, in books, that paper memory of mankind. Only a small part of it is at any given period really active in the minds of particular persons. This is due, in the main, to the brevity and uncertainty of life; but it also comes from the fact that men are lazy and bent on pleasure. Every generation attains, on its hasty passage through existence, just so much of human knowledge as it needs, then follows a new generation, full of hope, but ignorant, and with everything to learn from the beginning. It seizes, in its turn, just so much as it can grasp, or find useful on its brief journey, and then too goes its way. How badly it would fare with human knowledge if it were not for the art of writing and printing! This it is that makes libraries the only sure and lasting memory of the human race, for its individual members have all of them but a very limited and imperfect one.” -Schopenhauer

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