Why Books Matter: Preservation and Disposal
James W Watts [+]
Contemporary debates over the nature and function of libraries and the books that they contain are cast in a different light by the study of iconic books. Because iconic ritualization reinforces the legitimacy of individuals, institutions, nations and religions, its study inevitably becomes a study in social values and expediency. An iconic books perspective highlights the values that societies have invested in books and libraries. It helps us understand the values attached to browsing stacks, to physical books, to book disposal, and to library architecture. The study of iconic books therefore provides a new assessment of the common feeling today that these values are being threatened by technological, economic, and political changes.