As I floated through the Twitterverse today, I came across this great link I want to share with everyone. Apparently, for the past several months, there have been mysterious discoveries at libraries throughout Edinburgh, Scotland—delicate, intricate creations that are carved from paper, mounted on books, all of which form small yet fascinating works of art. These complex pieces have been left at places such as the Scottish Poetry Library and the Central Lending Library completely anonymously. My favorite is the most recent, which includes a small note: This is for you in support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas…LIBRARIES ARE EXPANSIVE.
Looking at these creations and their deeper meaning brought me back to my days within library walls. Throughout my college years at NYU, four to be exact, I worked at the school library. I began at the very bottom of the totem pole—shelving books and assisting harried (and usually rude) graduate students—and worked my way up to a research assistant in the course reserves and archives department. Besides meeting and working with some of the best people whom I now consider my second family, my time there exposed me to so many different elements of academia and taught me skills I couldn’t have learned elsewhere. I’ll never forget shelving first edition copies of books—printed in 1896—and marveling at the fact that they still existed and were accessible to anyone if only they knew where to look. Likewise when I worked in archives, searching through row upon row of microfilm reels, holding documents from all over the world that were several centuries old. The large majority of my fellow students probably never even knew these things existed.
In an age where articles, and sometimes entire books, can be found on the internet, libraries are becoming increasingly necessary. I think of how much material could potentially be lost to digitizing and it makes me concerned for the future of libraries. I certainly hope that discoveries like those made in Edinburgh will remind people of the importance of places like these.