Because life is a series of edits

Learner’s Second Home: The Library

In Seminary Tychicus on June 23, 2005 at 11:44 am

I must confess I am impressed with what the concept of “library” has come to mean since my day; what is in existence now compared to what we had centuries ago is rather extraordinary. And, since Learner is spending most of today in the seminary’s library studying, I thought it appropriate to make note of his surroundings and a few of his reflections on them.

As Learner will tell you, the most gratifying mark of a good library is the patrons’ commitment to the covenant of silence. Granted, there are moments when this covenant is broken, but typically these are few and far between; thus, when little more than the white-noise hum of the ventilation system floats in and throughout the stacks of books and corners and crevices of the facility, ah…

In addition to the sanctity of such silence is the positive peer pressure of going to the library to read and study and little more. This, of course, has become complicated in recent years by the technological advance/regress (depending on one’s discipline) of Wi-Fi, but Learner does well balancing his studies and his surfing, “rewarding” himself every 45-60 minutes with a 10-15 minute Internet break.

Another benefit of libraries is they are generally free, with patrons needing only a library card to check out its resources. Whether rich or poor, one’s access to ideas is without charge, one of the most beautiful and powerful concepts to Learner in all of existence.

Libraries, of course, can be both inspiring and discouraging; inspiring in that the culture has produced so many books on so many different ideas, and discouraging in that no one could fully tap into the wealth of information in the course of a mere lifetime. Ecclesiastes 12:11 comes to Learner’s mind often regarding this: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”

Still (and for the most part), libraries are an introvert’s domain. Unlike so much of culture and its emphasis on the loud and the brash and the public, libraries are quiet, courteous, and private, much like Learner can be himself (and the way he often wishes the world was). Still, the good ideas will eventually end up in here, where Learner can deal with them on his own turf and in his own way and time.

And that’s a quiet little idea that makes him very, very happy.

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