Friday, September 23, 2011

Magic Powers

Due to various staff changes, I'm now working in the library again, doing traditional library things. I am somewhat irrationally excited by this, because no one else around me seems to think that Interlibrary Loan is as exciting as I do. It's sort of magical, this ability to request a book from literally anywhere in the country and have it show up a few short weeks later. Suddenly people are much happier to hear from me, because I'm calling to say that I have the thing they want (instead of asking them to do work they don't like).

The mere existence and huge scope of the Interlibrary Loan system is something of a testament to the enduring power of the printed word and of physical books. Perhaps some day it will all be replaced by electronic transfers (something that's happening already for journal articles), but for now there are still thousands of boxes and envelopes winging their way around the world, carrying books to their readers.

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