From books chained to lecterns at which the reader stood to today’s personal e-readers. This article about James W. P. Campbell and Will Pryce’s book The Library: A World History offers a selective visual evolution of the college library. Some fascinating architectural photographs that raise interesting questions about how the form of libraries reflects and determines the way we view and interact with information.
That medieval book chained to a lectern wasn’t going anywhere. Its reader had to carve out a unit of time to spend with the book: no coffee cup in hand, no multi-tasking, no reading a little now, a little later, maybe on the bus or while in the bath. No highlighting or underlining!
It also raises questions about ownership, the personal and communal dimensions of books and their content. That medieval book was shared physically. Today we all want our own copy but our information is easier to share, especially electronically. Yet, our information is claimed and restricted by copyrights and intellectual property claims in a way that the contents of medieval books was used and appropriated more freely.
Just something to think about. Yet not everything is different: that medieval lectern reminds me a lot of the currently trendy standing work station!