When they excavated the library at Herculaneum they found hundreds of scrolls. Mostly stoical philosophy, but to have a library and a country estate two thousand years ago meant the owner had wealth. You can see them looking at the scrolls and after years of collecting knowing where to look for what they wanted to recall, taking them out to read, unrolling them to known passages. Annotating the margins.
You can see the same in libraries of books. The same passage of time from handmade books, to mass printed books. The worn pages, the signature marks of famous editions, the endless editions, the pocket ‘fold’ in garments to carry them around.
And now the digital editions when one won’t have to do anything, not even collect editions because they have been collected for one. No need to recall passages when the search engine will find it for you. A library of thousands of books on smaller and smaller metal surfaces. With pleasant voices to read them aloud so we never need to leave behind our childhoods. Eventually those voices will be people we love and know if we want them to be. They will even have the ‘author’ option and we can listen to the writers reading their own work. Agony!
In rare places people still make scrolls. People will still make books. The transfer of knowledge goes on, the conversation between generations continues. That never ends.