The library’s demise: tearing down the temple

“Tear down the temple; we’ve got shrines at home.” True enough; we can erect little altars to literacy on our bookshelves and nightstands. But how long can we justify this quaint luxury in a digital age? Printed books will become relics: hallowed icons mounted to the wall–first decoratively and then ironically.

Spouting the “spiritual, not religious” cliché, we’ll eschew reading’s rituals: type-set paragraph, licked finger, page at the ready, musty incense. Digital evangelists will shrug off these losses, proclaiming sola scriptura (“Content alone!”). Literary Reformers, like the iconoclasts of old, will sweep away the traces of a sacred era.