Friday, July 15, 2011

The sanctity of books

In our house books are treated kindly, almost revered. We do not mistreat them, we do not write in them, and tearing them is punishable by law--children are not allowed another book at bedtime until they can prove that books are not confetti. So it goes without saying that books that are not our own should be held to an even higher standard. I even go so far as to put mangled books in the recycling bin rather than donating them. Nothing bothers me more than donated literature with torn pages or crayon marks.

In our single income state I've begun pulling from the library shelves more than usual. This week I collected an Elizabeth Gilbert ILL (Inter Library Loan--love the acronym). About a century in I gasped--okay I am appalled. Mind you, I'm not at all appalled by the content. . . . But the binding contains the leftovers, yes, I said leftovers, of someone's blueberry scone and the outside edges are marred by a cappuccino.

If I had so much as dripped a drop of tea on the book I'd have been embarrassed, even ashamed. If I had dumped a cappuccino on the edges and my scone was embedded in the ink I would have purchased a new copy for the library, and with a face full of shame, declared the book lost. But never would I have returned it to the library for it to be delivered to another and read in her bed with my scone crumbs falling out on her sheets.

Lord, help protect his or her tainted soul and banish them from all public libraries.

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