A room full of books

From an interview with Christopher Hagan, owner of Loome Theological Booksellers.

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Der Bücherwurm (The Bookworm) by Carl Spitzweg, 1850.

Der Bücherwurm (The Bookworm) by Carl Spitzweg, 1850.

What do so many people do when they walk into a room full of books?  They get closer to the books. They scan the shelves reading titles on the spines. They soon find themselves pulling volumes off the shelves and looking at the table of contents or reading a page or two. When parishes, schools, seminaries, etc., have fewer and smaller rooms of books then people don’t interact with books and are impoverished for it.

Perhaps the poverty of a landscape without rooms full of books is best seen by the positive power of a room full of books. A room full of books has a profound impact on a person. He is struck with the magnitude of what he doesn’t know. There are simply so many books to be read on so many important topics. This realization engenders humility. Good books, even just sitting on shelves unopened, silently beckon him to a life of virtue by their presence. Knowing that each book in a room was selected by a librarian or other caretaker of the books draws out of him submission to the authority of another mind. The great rooms of books are the realization of a great mind, a mind at which to sit and learn.

Lastly, a room full of books inevitably leads to unexpected delightful discoveries. Every room of books has titles he didn’t know about and would never have found except that it is THERE in front of him now. So there are varied and powerful ways that a room full of books impacts persons for the better.

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