The ethics of underlining library books?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by BayouHuguenot, Jul 25, 2015.

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  1. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    I don't accept your premise. I would submit that they are generally plain and clear. Which is why we have to devote so much effort trying to figure out an 'exception'.
  2. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Those Irish - so ornery! LOL
  3. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    No post-it notes? What are you, 106? LOL
  4. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Thou shalt not marketh upeth thy neighbors bookeths. - a biblical text usually relegated to the margin.
  5. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    They weren't generally available at retail until 1980. A prior test marketing effort in 1977 was a failure.

    The guy who invented them sang in a Presbyterian choir. He used them to keep his placemarkers from falling out of his hymnbooks.
  6. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    At SBTS the library offered a research orientation course. They told us to read the books with either a notepad or a laptop beside us. The suggestion was simple but effective: outline the chapter briefly, jot a few summary bullet points at the end of each chapter, and note any pertinent quotes/insights. This practice, they said, would preserve the Seminary's books and sharpen our research skills.
  7. gkterry

    gkterry Puritan Board Freshman

    Bad idea. In this computerized age librarians have ways of tracking when and how many times a book circulates. Also, if a book is damaged and needs replacing that costs the library money. Library funds are decreasing every year. . . . I know because I work at a library.
  8. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Edward,

    You said about my using Scotch tape, "That's probably even more damaging to the books than the underlining would be."

    Actually I had earlier read the article you referenced; I'm a librarian myself, and study the care of books. The article, when speaking of cellophane tape, had in mind the repairing of pages using that stuff, and indeed it can cause great damage—can really ruin books . . . as I've learned when using such tape to fix torn Bible pages. It was a bad move, and I learned not to do that anymore!

    What I occasionally do (though I'll think twice before doing it further, after your thoughts), is use a large Post-it or a piece of paper and using a very small piece of Scotch tape attach it to the inside front or back cover to take notes on (I read a lot on the subways, or waiting in various offices). When I am done with the book I very carefully remove the tape and paper—and I examine the book part I had taped to—to see if I had done any damage. Which I haven't so far, being careful, and making sure the area of the tape on book is very small.

    I do value having the use of library materials—particularly InterLibrary Loan, which accesses seminary and university libraries—and the librarians note what care I take of their books. (Once I had a book of Greg Beale's—John's Use of the Old Testament in Revelation—long out of print and extremely rare, and I saw on Amazon the only copy available in the world, as far as I could tell, would cost $6,000 if I had to replace it; I took very good care of that book! And brought it back to the library quickly.)

    But thanks for your thoughts—they'll just make me the more careful.
  9. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, I rarely lend out cement mixers because people seem to like to write on them....
  10. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Steve, and anyone else who may be interested, this tape is supposed to be just the ticket for repairing Bible, and other book pages, while doing no harm. A bit too pricey for me to bite that bullet just yet, but I hear/read that it is the real McCoy.
  11. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    I note that you sneakily moved the wink from its original positon. ;)
  12. gkterry

    gkterry Puritan Board Freshman

  13. psycheives

    psycheives Puritan Board Freshman

    I fully agree with everyone who indicated that treating someone else's property against their express wishes is ethically wrong. And so marking borrowed books in any possibly damaging way without or against the owner's consent is wrong.

    However, to move a little away from the question of right and wrong (since this has firmly been established), I do appreciate Jacob's thought that as readers, we do OFTEN find the highlights and markings of others helpful. When writing research papers, I have found others' underlines very helpful. Unfortunately, while some people have a knack for highlighting especially key passage, others tend to find everything a key passage. :p Underlining is helpful to many of us. But it is also distracting to many others. This is exactly why Kindle books share the "most frequently underlined sentences" in a book by underlining them for Kindle readers and make this a feature you can turn on or off. :)
  14. tabrooks

    tabrooks Puritan Board Freshman

    Ben: I question that guy's call : ).
  15. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

  16. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Even though I don't want to stir the pot, when I have time I will reframe the question. We agree that we shouldn't underline in library books, but at the same time we haven't addressed the telos of a thing, nor its use. When I get my notes on Oliver O'Donovan's Christological Moral Realism in the Medieval Neo-Platonic Poverty Tradition (yes, that is a real and viable position) ordered, then I think I can reframe the debate and perhaps we can all gain knowledge.
  17. Warren

    Warren Puritan Board Freshman

    The librarian is a public servant, and it serves me that I write in her books. I've {redacted}, why can't I write in public books? Should I not walk on the sidewalk, either? Careful: public property, here! :rolleyes:

    *Edited by Moderator. Reason: TMI*
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2015
  18. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    My thinking is that if it's not your property then you are to use it the way they say you can use it. Your notes on the margins might not ever be seen by anyone thus not distracting to the next viewer, or your notes might be seen by the next reader and be helpful or distracting, but all of that is neither here nor there. It's not yours to do with as you see fit. Getting permission to write in it would be the proper thing to do. :2cents:
  19. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Years ago, I had a pastor friend mark up a new book that I lent him. But he bought me a new one.
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