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Trifecta: Week Sixty-Four … Dwell

February 15, 2013


I work in a library; to dwell would not perhaps be an attractive notion.  Books, having  a lot to say would be good company; but the subject matter might be dry.  The hefty tomes would not make good bedfellows.

However,  the books do dwell in me and my colleagues, not quite 24/7 but certainly from 9-5, five days a week. The cataloguer liaises with academics and students, trawls catalogues, explores exhibitions and data bases.  She exposes the subject matter to the ‘fine tooth comb,’ and her ‘eye for detail’ while she mulls over the Dewy Decimal System to exact the best classification.  Then, she gloriously fills the shelves with gleaming delights to maintain the needs of the academic world.
I, a library assitant more in contact with the elderly and incunable.  Caring more for the  welfare and security of many books some over 500 years old.  Each day, precious items arrive from more recent times; finding their way to our perfect preserving conditions. Where they can be observed in congenial and gentle atmosphere and not subjected to the hustle and bustle of a the public thoroughfare.
While their subject matter goes above my head I can absorb their aesthetic qualities. An early tome with fine wood engravings, a pleasing font, with rich illuminations. Protected with a hand tooled leather binding barely marked by  its previous centuries. Not to mention, the exotically marbled end-papers, this  secret method of decorating paper that  originated in the Far East, would be a sin. I still delight in the touch of gilt edged finely milled paper.
Some less attractive items can excite a jaded mind. Reading, in recent times became a ‘popular’ pastime not only for the landed few. The books became smaller, accessible and less ornate a ‘Yellowback’ for instance;  a cheap and usually a sensational novel sold in yellow board or paper covers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries always a delight  to add one of these ‘disposables’ to our growing collection… 



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