Definitions of Bibliophile: (be sure to click the read more button for this post)
A Lover of Books especially for qualities of format, also a book collector Merriam-Webster
A person who loves or collects books, esp. as examples of fine or unusual printing, binding, or the like. Dictionary.com
A bibliophile loves books, but especially "for qualities of format." Wikipedia
I appreciate the elaboration in wikipedia where they distinguish between bibliophilia and bibliomania. They even touch upon compulsive hoarders. PHEW! I suddenly feel normal.
Unfortunately I think we need another term or definition. You can’t call me a book lover because that doesn’t begin to touch upon the intensity of emotion I feel when surrounded by books. I’m not a hoarder because I realize books must be shared, not just possessed. I do not focus upon only certain "qualities" of books, although I am very conscious of attributes like smoothness of paper, size of cover and whether it fits into my small hands, font, illuminated letters, creative end papers, amusing tables of contents, etc. So why am I even fretting about this?
Last week I dreamed about the Capstone warehouse three nights in a row. I have volunteered in the Scholastic warehouse during their special sales and enjoyed being surrounded by thousands of books. I thought I knew what I was going to see in Mankato. Hah! While I dreamed of books, I discovered two major sections of a warehouse – stock and pick.
The stock rose high to the ceiling. I watched a worker operate a forklift-ish device HIGH off the ground and balance on the edge of a pallet while unloading books. Since I have a fear of heights, I was quaking at the thought that he could fall. Jay Thomas, the warehouse manager, reassured me that the ropes and devices attached to him would catch him if he fell. Plus there were controls at the bottom in case he was dangling in space and needed to be brought down. I didn’t ask for a demonstration. Bungee jumping and falling are not my fav activities.
My heart began to race at the sheer possibilities those simple white boxes contained. What if I had a set of 25 copies of a nonfiction title to teach students? We have "essential literature" titles for every grade level in Nashville. Why don’t we have a set of nonfiction titles to teach? Hmmm?
We kept walking through the warehouse over to the pick section with each title in a neatly labeled bin and workers racing around fulfilling each order VERY CAREFULLY. My excitement was building to a point where I could hardly contain myself. Argh! Stop asking questions, I wanted to shout. Let me go. Let me see what’s here. I asked if we could climb up to another level of the three tiers high shelves. Fortunately Lynn distracted our guide Jay so I could slip away and sneak up and down every row.
I soon lost all control and was thundering down the aisles peering in each pick bin and ooing and ahhing at the newest titles in series. I saw some of my favorites, some new, and several series that I had dismissed in the catalog but became very appealing in person. Standing on the edge of the last row in the third tier looking down at workers and books stretching far and wide, I became flushed and breathless. Was it the height? Was it being surrounded by the books? My breathing grew heavier and I felt a rush of ecstasy being surrounded by so many books.
Still, there was something missing, something nudging at the back of my mind. I raced back to grab Becky and drag her over to specific titles I wanted her to see. That helped ease the frustration, but there was still something wrong.
The third night I dreamed of the warehouse after we’d visited and I replayed our actions. AHA! I was missing children there with me. In my dreams I recreated the experience with my students. There you go. Now that was paradise. A warehouse of books was practically paradise, but it took the students to make it complete.
When I shared my insights the next morning with my friends, they exclaimed, "You have kids in your paradise!?!" Yes, I do. It wasn’t enough to possess or be surround by the books. I had to be sharing them with others.