By the book

Mechelen_OLV_over_de_Dijle_Roman_MissalEvery few weeks I get an email from my local public library.

It is a reminder that the library is one of the categories on my property-tax bill.  Like most of the other categories, I have a sense that I pay for more than I get in return.

Ah…I have such fond memories of my college library.  Many floors of row after row of books.  The musty scent of yellowing paper, old leather bindings, millions of pages with imprints created by lead type.

The library emails usually don’t mention books.  There are features about new online resources (most of which I can access from my home computer).  There are features about how to enjoy various video streaming services (I likely can learn more from the teenager working at the local electronics store).  And there are promotions for various library events and exhibits.

Being a member of the pre-tablet, pre-cell-phone, pre-personal-computer generation, I continue to stubbornly believe that a library should be all about books.  Well, maybe a few movies and recordings, but mostly books.

Also, the library is going high tech and digital, like more everywhere else in the world.

But I have high hopes that one bastion of the noble book will remain forever sacrosanct:  The altar of the Catholic Church.

I’ll all for the fanciest, biggest, heaviest, oldest lectionary that the craftsman can create.  I’m talking leather binding, parchment pages, heavy ink with an old typeface, illuminations, etchings, golf leaf, silk page markers and, perhaps, a few jewels on the cover.

I don’t want a practical book on the altar; I want a work of art.  Maybe the library is losing its books, but I have faith my Church will hang onto its book.

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