The Atlantic

Letters: ‘There’s a Joy in Interacting With the Printed Word’

Readers discuss the decline in the use of library books at colleges and universities.
Source: Phil Noble / Reuters

The Books of College Libraries Are Turning Into Wallpaper

University libraries, Dan Cohen wrote last month, are seeing steady, and in many cases precipitous, declines in the use of the books on their shelves.


There’s a path to making print live and breathe beyond this wallpaper role. We need to make the stacks beckon users by showcasing their interests. At my home library, we recently held a public poetry reading, letting university personalities choose a favorite poem to read and say a few words about the importance of the chosen poem. At the end of the lineup, several audience members asked to join, their books lovingly marked to the important pages. There’s a joy in interacting with the printed word that we need only provide the opportunity to

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