Saturday, April 3, 2021

A Bookworm's Dream: Open Library

Open Library is even better than ever...
By Laurie Allee
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So the mission of Open Library isn't ambitious or anything...

It's simply "to make all the published works of humankind available to everyone in the world. This dedication to open and accessible knowledge warms my utopian heart in ways I can't begin to express.  I want everyone to have access to books.  Lots of books.  Weird books and silly books and banned books and books never mentioned in a Buzzfeed list or a YouTube video.  When I see bookshelves, I feel like I'm in front of an oracle, and it's just waiting to point me to a revelation or a warning or a great, big cosmic secret.

Books have done more for me than just entertain and inform; they have helped make me who I am.  And they aren't finished with me yet.  

The basic kindle is great for e-books
I think of bookstores and libraries as holy places, offering insight and revelation to any seeker who shows up to look around.   So, too, are the apps and websites that deliver books to me.  Even though I've written for the internet since 1994, I'm still awed by its scope and potential.  Prime book delivery in a day!?  Digital libraries on Overdrive!?  It's dizzying.  I still look at my kindle like it's a holographic librarian.  It supplies my near insatiable jones with as many library e-books as I can check out, literally plucking them out of thin air and making them appear before me on my e-ink screen.  This librarian is always on call, no matter what time of day, as long as I remember to charge the kindle battery.  Every book delivered provides something useful or inspiring or thought-provoking or even life changing.  (It's a little bit like this librarian, come to think of it.)  

Preordering from Amazon means shiny hardbacks from my favorite authors delivered on the day of publication.  Sometimes signed!   Audible delivers famous actors reading classic works for under $15, and Hoopla gives them to me for free.  I have a teetering stack of books by my bed.  I'm always halfway through at least a dozen reads and I usually have an audiobook playing as I do chores or take a bath or make dinner or drive so that no matter what mindless task I'm doing or errand I'm running, I'm reading.

So what, you might ask, could I possibly get out of Open Library?