I was checking out a book at my school library last week, and saw the librarian do something I hadn’t seen in a while. He date stamped the “DATE DUE” sheet glued to the first page of the book with “March 24, 2011.” Above that date were four others “May 15, 2006,” Jul 16, 2003,” “Mar 19, 2003,” and “Feb 19, 2003.”
I LOVE seeing those dates. I can’t explain it, but knowing the “history” of the book’s lending experience brings me joy. It doesn’t make sense because I don’t know who had it, but knowing that others read the same book gives me a sense of satisfaction. It’s almost like a secret we share, even though I don’t know who I share it with.
In today’s information age driven by computer technology, (which I fully embrace) I still like this old-fashioned ink-on-paper record-keeping system. Maybe this comes from my experience growing up in the public school system. Every September we would be assigned a textbook that did have the names of those who used it in the previous few years.
I always wondered about those students, and for some reason, looked for names that were familiar to me. The older brother or sister of a classmate of mine would bring secret joy. I guess it all comes back to connections, and that we had a shared experience that brought me closer to understanding what someone else had been through. Or maybe I was just reassured that someone else survived the class and lived to talk about it!
Talk to you soon,