In Defence of Private Libraries
Having One’s Own Library
Many of us lament that there are not so many public libraries in our towns. Of course, public libraries are necessary for the dissemination of knowledge. But huge funds are required for building them and then maintaining them efficiently and continuously forever.
It is a pity that at least some of us who can afford to have our small private libraries, never endeavor for that in our life. Let us see what a learned writer has to say about the tools of a worker. Whatever is true of an ordinary worker is also true of us.
“A good workman chooses his tools carefully and uses them well. He would not like to have to do important work with anyone else’s.”
Thus, we see that like a good workman every human being has the tendency to be self-dependent. Essentially, like a toy in the hands of a child, a book in the possession of a reader is more precious to him than any other book. The writer says further:
“None of us is too poor to buy books, at least to save up for them.”
The learned writer thus breaks the myth and misunderstanding in our mind that we are too poor to buy a book. We would remember that in the modern world everybody is expected to be literate one, and every literate person essentially needs books for enhancement of knowledge or career, or amusement. Thus, books are in the modern world as important as meals. It will not be an exaggeration to say that books are even more important than meals to a modern common man.
Some people are fallaciously under the impression that with the coming of the computer and the Internet, the era of books probably coming to an end. Whatever knowledge may be conveyed through computers and the World Wide Web, there can have course, be no substitute for books.
Strange enough, large-scale essays and even books and long pieces of fiction have been written on a world without books. In real life, however, we see that the sale of books has risen instead of getting diminished with the coming of the computer. The reality is that now more attention is paid not only to the contents of the books but also to their appearance and their get-up.
Whatever may be the situation, a true bibliophile does not believe so much in the philosophy of utility. He has his own tastes and reading of books is his hobby or aim in life. Such a man will continue reading, come what may.
Let us suppose that there is likely to be a situation where a demand for books may decrease, if not totally stop. Then, of course, new books will not or only rarely be published. In that case, the public libraries will also run out of the new supply of books, and whatever books there are already there in those libraries, will be desired to be read by so many book lovers. This means that every member of such a library will have to wait for weeks or months and even years till his turn comes to get a particular book. And then from overuse, most of the books will get defaced and even torn and practically become nonreadable.
Then what could be the solution in such a situation? Certainly, those who have their own private libraries and have stored the books of their taste and choice, will be luckier, and they will be the privileged ones in the matter of reading books.
However, contemplation of such a thing seems a bit selfish and egoistic. We should remember that the necessity of having our own private library also arises from the fact that thus we can keep our books well-arranged and well-groomed and we can find them handy whenever we need them for reference or entertainment. Books in public libraries are often so mixed up by the unwary and unenlightened readers that sometimes even a conscientious librarian who generally wants to help you in locating a particular book, finds himself in a bind and simply expresses his regrets.
Moreover, these days not only books but also CDs and other such material are also stored in public libraries, and that can possibly be done in the private libraries also. One can install a computer in one’s private library in which he can store a lot of information and the computer, indeed even the Internet set practically becomes a part and parcel of one’s private library.