Saturday, November 2, 2013

Filipino Friday (4): This is Still Reading Right?

This Filipino Friday, the questions that must be answered are:

Do you read (or have at least tried to read) books in other formats aside from print? How was your experience with these different book formats?

Yes, I do read books in electronic format. In fact, my decision to buy an iPhone was prompted by reading on mobility. I just have to read to while away the time at the doctor's clinic; in the FX terminal; in long lines at the grocery store; or when I'm stuck in traffic going to work and back home. I find these gaps as precious reading time. Books come in handy, but, the iPhone is, handier.

In the library where I work, I have set up an e-reader and e-book collection. We have four Kindles for circulation. Each Kindle  has an assigned Dewey Decimal Classification group or division. 800 (Literature) and 900 (History) are both grouped with Fiction. I like the ease of book acquisition in a Kindle. Amazon sure knows what good service is all about. It even has a way of knowing what I order so it recommends titles very so often. I spend time, a lot of time, analyzing the content of Amazon's recommendations. So this means, I read a lot online too! I check reviews of recommended e-books not only in Amazon but also in blogs of book reviewers. With my knowledge of the library's readers' profile, preference and the school's curriculum, I decide which ones to buy. The budget for e-books has been prepared over the summer.

So, if you think librarians simply sit behind the desk all day, think again. There's a lot of cognitive activity going on behind a librarian's desk. I hope to set up a digital library collection soon but studying on a suitable app is an investment on time and money.

This year, I've read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, The Magicians, Peaches for Father Francis, Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, The Fault in Our Stars and a host of paranormal, erotic romance on my iPhone's and Mac's Kindle. Nothing changed for me, as far as the reading experience is concerned, except that, the sensory experience of smelling paper and feeling its texture was diminished. For deep reading that require analysis and synthesis, like non-fiction reads I do for my paper presentations, I still go for the printed format. I need to take notes, physically and manually to remember important sentences, phrases and paragraphs. Such writing from these non-fiction reads I go back to when I prepare my citations and when I actually compose a conference paper or an academic article.

I think what the digital age require of us, readers and book lovers all, is the knowledge of how to read and why we read. Purpose and function. Reading from a variety of formats can be taught and  learned but the reason for reading and the application of reading in real life is a wisdom that grows and develop over time.

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