In many ways, some traditional libraries are going the way of the dinosaur. Transformed forever by the computer. I grew up on books because my parents were book readers, and my older brother really pushed me. I couldn’t exactly tell you what a dewy decimal system was.
I think my brother would agree with Jorge Luis Borges though who said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Recently my sister’s school converted the library to a learning center with modern furniture, and it was stripped of most of the paper books. I think there is a good case to make that this is where things are and should be headed; however, I do miss the deep burnt orange couch that use to be in the library at my school. It was a spot that I frequented to flip through magazines and read my favorite novels. While there are tradeoffs, I think it is important to have a bridge to the creature comforts of paper. And I miss the numbering system of Dewey who I only knew for a brief time, although I have replaced my love of that with Penless QR codes.
Penless is bridging a gap for me of sorts. It is bringing together technology of the electronic messaging and combining it with the experience of paper. That is what the QR code messaging capability and scanning lets you do. It feels right to send a note or greeting card on paper for special occasions. I just do not like giving electronic cards anymore than I like reading from a tablet. Will I give an electronic card? Of course I will. Will I read a book on a tablet? I will do that too. But when it comes to my closest friends and special occasions, or my favorite books, I would just rather have the paper.
The technology is so new with a QR code writer that the look my friends give me when I send a message like that is priceless. And I have gotten to the point where I use the stickers a lot. I put a thought for the day in the window of my car. Of course I always put it in a safe spot. People can read the message any QR code reader. They have gotten use to my car and reading the messages. Every once in a while, I will put a message in my window that only my girlfriend can read. The Penless Messages have a privacy feature right on the QR code that only the person designated to read the message could read it.
One month I read a poem everyday, and another month a few pages out of a book. As people got the idea and would walk on by, they would just scan the message and keep walking as they viewed the screen.
During one week there was seminar in town and people would stop me to ask directions. I put a note on the window of my car and said directions here and pointed to the QR code. They could scan the code and follow my direction to the room that the presentation was in.
But to come full circle on libraries, books and paper, I have a friend that loves ancient history. So for his graduation I got him the book, SPQR, A History of Ancient Rome.
I got his history teacher to do a brief introduction and record a graduation message. I then recorded the message on the QR code of a Penless Sticker and affixed the sticker to the inside front page of the book with the professor’s signature. For me it does not get much better than that. A personal greeting and it is all on paper. And I have the added advantage of a Penless Message video. Long live the library, and long live Penless.