What at first seemed to me a somewhat “forced” friendship, turned out to be a very enriching and interesting experience. During the year, and especially with coming into contact, this old book has become more and more my friend. So that now I have the impression not only to be friend with an old book, my book, but indeed with old books in general. I’m happy to have been followed, and in a way forced to establish this friendship, because this knowledge can, and will probably be useful in the future.
The thing I liked the most about this exercise was the visit at the library of Werner Oechslin. Even if, I must admit, I wasn’t until then excited about becoming friend with an old book; while being there, looking at the shelves full of books from all topic and size, I suddenly felt very interested about it. So I found myself wondering about the size, cover and smell of my book. I was expecting a very cold and official meeting with my book, where I would have to put on white gloves, because the book is really old! But on the contrary it was much more relaxed and pleasant. The atmospheres inside the libraries are always very magic and it was really incredible get in touch with such an old and valuable volume. It was the first time for me and I felt very excited. Although I didn’t like the fact that I had to film myself while browsing my book. This took away a lot of magic and made the meeting less spontaneous and intimate.
I looked at the pdf from e-rara before getting to Einsiedeln, but as I opened the actual book, I recognized the beauty of the images printed on the paper, the weight of the pages and his fragility. Of course I wasn’t feeling that before, while looking at the pdf through the screen of my computer. Books are not just made of words. And, if most of the time we need a rapid consultation of his content, leaf through a book can be really enriching, like a slow talk with an old men. Just listening, without demand, letting yourself be carried away by the stories and the life that transpires from the pages of the old volume. I’m not denying the privilege of the online sources of these books, on the contrary I am impressed by the strength of this library system which manages to make books accessible and therefore keep them alive. But, what I learned from this visit in Einsiedeln is to be aware that this does not only bring convenience, but also a kind of superficiality. And therefore I’m extrem glad from the opportunity we had, and always have, to access the library.