the benefits of building a library

A messaged popped up on the screen of my first generation 8GB iPad a few nights ago – “You have run out of space.” It asked me to please consider removing items to make room for the book I was trying to download. Like the smart little techie that I “sometimes” I am, I checked out what took up the most room on my iPad. I had no photos, no videos – I really only used my iPad to read on the go and maybe check some emails from time to time. There was an overwhelming amount of space being taken up by books. So, I opened up my “book shelf” and stared at the covers trying to decide which ones to delete.

That moment sounds like it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it was SUCH a big deal for me. I didn’t want to get rid of ANY books.

So I wrote them down on a piece of paper and started adding gently used copies of them to my Amazon cart and vowed to stop using my iPad to read.

Digital culture provides convenience but it also provides a lot of downfalls that we tend to overlook. We can take photos anytime, anywhere with our cell phones – but those photos are no longer developed and stored physically, they, at any point, can be lost and deleted. They, at some point, may even need to be deleted. Maybe the cloud stores them (somewhere?) or they have some kind of digital footprint that I don’t understand – but when it comes to the things that you cherish the most, I have absolutely no faith in technology. (Maybe it comes from having a computer that crashed on me 4x in college, but even with better technology, I don’t think I’ll change my viewpoint on the reliability of technology!)

So I decided to join the fight for paperback books and, you know, singlehandedly start the one-person campaign of #SaveTheBooks! Beyond the amazing smell of paper in a fresh book, the ability to see just how much you’ve read and how much you have left to go, those worn in dog-eared pages (or in my case stickies) there are numerous benefits to building a physical library. Please don’t forget them.

  • Books need to be read more than once in your life – that’s what makes a good book a GREAT book. Case and point, the three books in my cover photo. They were all assigned to me to be read in college, and I didread them. But I REALLY got them when I left college and had a few years of experience under my belt. I felt these books. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell needed to be read 4 years into my career, at the point where I could really understand how the small things that I took for granted or even let frustrate me, impacted where I stand in my career. Sound Moves by Michael Bull, which was assigned to me in my (favorite) music theory class is all about how the iPod changed modern society. But you know what it’s relevant for? It has an amazing account about how people view their worlds and the way that media can play a part in that world. Great insights for a social media marketer. Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson was assigned to me more than 5 years ago, when Kim Kardashian’s rear hadn’t broke the Internet yet. But it’s gold to understand how we have come to interact with modern day culture and pertinent in innovation and understanding.
  • Books need to be shared. Books are written to pass knowledge. And pass it again. And again. But have you ever experienced what it feels like to read a book and pass that knowledge onto someone else? Or to know that, any point in your life, a book you once read is no longer best kept in your library, but is actually an absolutely staple in someone elses’s? It’s unlike any feeling in the world to share your books. And if you’ve deleted them – you are going to miss out on that opportunity. You don’t want to.
  •  Books stand the test of time. Physical “books” have been around since people wrote on clay tablets. And a quick Google search tells me that the first printed book dates back to 1377. That’s over 700 years of books. Investing in a library is investing in the “future” as much as it is the past.

Invest in building a library and really, please ditch the tablet for something as important as books are to personal success, happiness and growth.