I like books. I like holding them in my hands. I like browsing through them. I'm all in favor of electronic books, and I look forward to being able to access books through an ebook reader. I don't become overly sentimental about what seems to me a rather inevitable format change in the way we hold our books. I do, however, still enjoy holding books in my hands in the traditional manner. Frankly I see no reason why we shouldn't continue to do so for long into the future.
Perhaps even more than books, I like libraries. After all, I know quite well that I'm not going to read all the books available to me. But in a library I can browse the shelves and read their titles, and get a picture in my mind of what they may be about and how they tell their stories. It's thus distressing that on this day, in 1986, a vast fire broke out in the third largest municipal library in the United States, the Los Angeles Public Library.
Though I visited that library only a few times, I feel as though I knew it well - it was certainly a Los Angeles landmark. The damage the fire did to the library's collection was distressingly extensive. And the report from the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society is as captivating as a Hollywood movie.