Our Views: La. reading through ages

The holidays are a banner time for readers, as bookstores offer holiday sales and shoppers search for that special title for loved ones on their gift lists.

But reading has had a more abiding presence in Louisiana history as LSU’s Hill Memorial Library has reminded us with a new online version of a physical exhibition the library staged a couple of years ago.

Visit http://exhibitions.blogs.lib.lsu.edu/?p=5457, and check out Hill’s “Louisiana For Bibliophiles: A History of Reading in the Bayou State.”

The online exhibit includes oddities from Hill’s collection — vintage bookplates, old volumes, letters detailing how Louisiana residents have interacted with books over the years.

Featured items include books from the colonial and antebellum periods; materials on women’s reading, libraries, and scientific knowledge; and newspapers, perhaps the most common and accessible reading material. Four Louisiana Creole authors are profiled in America’s “forgotten literature” — American literature in languages other than English.

We commend Hill for making this exhibition available online, and we hope residents take the time to check it out. The exhibit is a reminder of Louisiana’s connection with the written word — a bond that seems all the more miraculous given the state’s chronically high levels of illiteracy.