During the hottest part of the day, I found myself strolling carefully through my neighborhood on an errand that couldn’t wait. It seemed like I was the only person alive wandering about outside. Everything was very still, even the birds were too hot to sing, and the only sign of life were buzzing insects hovering over wilting flowers and the constant chug of air-conditioning units battling against the oppressive heat.
Busy watching my feet while traversing a tricky patch of old, cobble stone sidewalk on Dante Street, I was slow to see this small, wooden cabinet rear up till I was almost upon it. Surrounded by ivy, this Little Free Library urged me to “take a book and return a book” and when my eyes ran over some cherished Edward Eager titles, I was tempted to accept the offer.
Standing there in the sweltering sun staring at the small, simple hutch, it came to me why I struggle with the digital revolution, especially when it comes to books. I already recognized I would miss the musty smell and the feel of the pages between my fingertips. But what I realized is that with Kindles and Nooks, we may be able to store thousands of works for oh-so-much convenience to those who could afford such devices, but we will no longer be able to share them…and wouldn’t that be a pity? The words would no longer be free.