In the ever-evolving age of technology society now finds itself, it is important to remember why it all began: a need for communication. If you want to get technical, perhaps you could say it was the cave paintings of our Neanderthal ancestors or the great Rosetta Stone of Ptolemy that brought us language, and you would be absolutely correct. But, for most of what we consider modern history, it boils down to one thing: paper. Roll it up and call it a scroll, or bind it with leather and call it a book. Walking into a library or bookstore is akin to entering a temple or cathedral, lets us experience the the peak of nostalgia. An almost reverential silence is palpable, and the familiar scent of paper-from magazines, books, newspapers, comics, 'zines-hits, opening a floodgate of memories. We figuratively (or literally, truth be told) embrace the volumes as if we're greeting old friends.
Paper by itself can't do much, but add some ideas, a lot of words, a few characters and a plot, then you have a story. Whether you're recording the inner workings of an atom, playing out a drama set in the Antebellum South or thrilling with the tale of a lone astronaut living off nothing but potatoes on Mars-thanks for that one, Andy Weir-it's important to remember that for every one of these stories, there's a reader, an audience.
Technology is great, fantastic even. If you want, you can buy and sell books on Amazon or browse the selection of books at the local library, all from the comfort of your couch and Slanket. But there really isn't anything else like crossing the threshold of an actual library. Forgive the romanticism and cliché, but a trip to the library is probably the cheapest vacation you can take. For nothing but the fact that you have a "local" address, you have instantaneous access to the minds and thoughts of thousands-if not millions-of people who decided that knowledge and creativity are worth being recorded in the lexicon of human history.
This should be celebrated ... and it is. Being hailed as Jacksonville's literary event of the year, Jax Book Fest 2018 is a celebration of books, authors and readers all. At Downtown's Main Library this Saturday, March 3, Jax Book Fest features workshops, panels, vendors and discussions with nationally best-selling authors and Northeast Florida's own local authors. This year's keynote authors include Nicola Yoon, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Brenda Jackson, Rodney L. Hurst Sr., Deborah Sosin, Jennifer Swanson, Laura Lee Smith and Al Letson. There's no ticket to purchase, no cover charge and no mandatory donation. All you have to do is donate a little time and some gasoline and head to the library to show some support to those who provide the books and those who write them. Just like your mind, a library is terrible thing to waste.
The Jax Book Fest is held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 at Main Library, 303 N. Laura St., Downtown. Metered parking is free Downtown on Saturday; the Duval Street garage parking garage entrance is at 33 W. Duval St.; parking there can be validated at the library's circulation desk. For more information and a full schedule of the event, visit jaxbookfest.org.