Karen Austin

Only books can stir the imagination to ask the questions you hadn't thought of

As members of the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association, we have dedicated at least a portion of our lives to the care and maintenance of used and rare books. Our shops preserve books and make them available to new readers.

So it's no surprise that we were horrified to learn of the proposal by the administration of our state's public university to eliminate physical books from the institutions they lead. To paraphrase Cicero, a library without books is like a body without a soul.

Learning should not be conflated with the mere acquisition of information, any more than a college education should end with learning any particular set of skills.

Rather, education - and the books that fill libraries (and, of course, our bookstores) - should be pathways to opening our minds, to developing our curiosity, and to the extraordinary pleasure of pursuing that curiosity to wherever it leads.

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