Tap, tap, tap...That tell tale sound of a manual typewriter. We can all recognize it when we hear it, although many of us haven't been around one in years, if ever. It is one of those sounds that bring to mind our days in high school typing classes or, better yet, the images of great writers like Hemingway and Poe trudging for hours, days, years, on a masterpiece of works that we can never put down.
Fifty years ago, this was the mainstay of writing a novel. The typewriter. Before that, the invention of the printing press brought the books, however slowly, into our neighborhood bookshelves. The placing of each letter and punctuation carefully chosen so that the writer's ideas can come to us. There was a time when each book had to be ascribed by hand in a painstaking process of repetition. Books were rare in those days.
Now, here we are in the twenty-first century. The invention of the computer and multifaceted printing devices has made it possible for us to own hundreds of books for our own. Authors who could not dream of writing and publishing their ideas are now published or, at least, can be. There are those of us who still write our first drafts on paper with pen or pencil, and I hope that nuance never changes as it is the only part of the writing process that hasn't, other than the idea procurement. What did change with that is we no longer have to have an ink well close by when we get an idea we must quickly write down.
Recently, the advancement of technology has given us the ability to read our favorite books through our electronic devices. E-books can be read through e-readers, phones and computers with ease. I love the feel of a book in my hands, however. The feel of the pages as my fingers turn them, the smell of a newly printed paperback, it is exciting for me to know what knowledge or adventure I have in store for me in those off-white pages. Then again, the convenience of having a library at my calling whenever I want it is always pleasing. I use both. Also, when I am in the car, busy cleaning house or taking a walk I thoroughly enjoy a good audio book, especially if I can find one with just the right voice for the story. With all of this in mind, it makes me think. What will reading and writing be like in another hundred years?
So much has changed already. Will we be able to step into a hologram of Pride and Prejudice and experience the story that way? How about a chip in our computers that can take images from our picture files and animate them to play out the story? It is a puzzle. I doubt the printed book will ever go our of style. I have no fears of that happening, but I am curious as to what new advancements will improve our reading and writing experiences.
What kind of ideas do you have for our library future? I can't wait to hear your ideas.