I, like most librarians, am an avid reader. I read fiction, nonfiction, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and the occasion cereal box. Quite often when I am with a group of friends or associates, I am asked, “What are you reading these days?” Since I typically read two or three books at a time, it’s an easy question to answer.
More recently, though, I have been asked, “What do you think of eBooks?” My answer is one that I am frankly recycling from years ago when I was asked, “What do you think of books on cassette?” I think eBooks, like books on CD, cassette, Playaway or MP3 are simply another way to make reading and books accessible to a wide array of people. I own a eReader and regularly download books from the Library’s eBook database, the Ohio eBook Project. I enjoy reading eBooks while traveling, on the treadmill, or waiting in line at the supermarket.
I also love turning pages in a book, a pleasure I don’t see myself giving up anytime soon. Starting a new book feels much like Christmas morning to me–a delicious anticipation. I turn the pages of a book sitting in my living room, propped up in bed, or in the backyard.
And I also listen to books on CD, Playaway or MP3. Listening to books adds another dimension to the experience, I think, because many narrators are talented actors and actresses who speak to my love of storytelling. Who doesn’t like to listen to a good storyteller relating a wonderful tale? I always have an audio book in the CD player of my car.
What am I “reading” now? On my eReader, I am reading Unbroken: A World War II Airman’s Story of Survival, Resilence and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (it’s wonderful and I highly recommend it!). I am turning the pages of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, an interesting tale of Ernest Hemingway’s life in Paris in the early 1930’s. And I am listening to a terrific suspense novel about the unsolved 1932 murder of “Superman” comic book creator Jerry Siegel’s father called The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer.
Put succinctly, I think the mission of a public library is to help customers understand that reading makes you think and it’s good to ask questions. Providing opportunities to “read” a book in a variety of ways helps to meet different needs for different people. Regardless of how you “read” a book, I can only hope you enjoy the experience to the fullest!