Once upon a time the idea was to have wall-to-wall bookshelves stacked with tomes of great literature and dazzling academic brilliance. Over the years it turned into paperbacks; Penguin classics Everyman editions – pulp fiction of the very worst sort. Acht, the best laid plans of mice and men. Four house moves later and the tonnage of Pratchett and Wodehouse has become more of a millstone than a centre of learning. Alas, I have come to the decision that the library has to be streamlined. Today the first consignment of pre-loved books was hauled out to the exchange at the Community Partnership in Ballymun; in exchange I was delighted to take my bags filled with empty space. Funny, isn’t it, how things change? A few years ago I would have been broken-hearted to part company with my precious things. It only got to the stage where keeping them longer was breaking my heart.
What changed? It was an e-reader. It struck me as strange that Dublin’s largest bookshop would be willing to sell e-readers, but it does. The wood of its own scaffold I thought. A friend was given one for Christmas a couple of years ago, and, not being an e-reader or reader of any description, he re-gifted the thing to me. In all the time that I have had this e-reader I have bought no more than five books. The result is that the great library project has become redundant. I still hope that someone else will love them.