The University of Chicago Magazine

August 1997

Book nostalgia? As information increasinglytakes a digital form, the Chicago Tribune asked area bibliophiles to predictthe future of books. Interviewed for the June 1 story, Alice Schreyer,curator of the University's Department of Special Collections, argued that"preserving the historical record of books" would remain essential"no matter what happens to the future of publishing." Researchlibraries like the U of C's must lead the way in ensuring that "studentsand citizens have access to information about how books were produced andread in the past," said Schreyer, while tackling the new job of preservinga "notoriously unstable" digital record. "In fact, we maylook back at paper...and it may look rock solid compared to the electronicformat." And there's something else we might miss about old-fashionedbooks. "The physical form in which a book is published does have...aninfluence on the reader," Schreyer said. Personalized touches suchas underlined passages and notes help reveal "what books meant inthe lives of people who held them in their hands..."

As well as reading books, Hyde Parkers areloyally keeping alive another fine old tradition. The July 9 Tribune reportedthat the Lakeside Lawn Bowling Club has been sponsoring lessons and competitionsfor the past 73 years on the club's official green just south of the Museumof Science and Industry. Popular since Roman times, the game spread toEngland and then the U.S., but in recent years Americans have lost interestand new recruits arrive mostly by happenstance, such as Douglas Pinksy,a U of C grad student who discovered the green one day while jogging. "It'sa gentlemanly game," said club instructor Cal Wright. "Beforeevery game, you shake hands with your...competition and then wish them'Good bowling.' " And in line with old British traditions, play--whichusually starts around 10:30 a.m. Thursdays and 1 p.m. on Saturdays andSundays--halts at three-ish for a spot of afternoon tea.--T.A.O.

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