The Call Number, Volume 1, Number 11, Second Six Weeks, Summer 1940 Page: 2
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Editor: Epsa Wells
Associate editors for this issue: Virginia Cobb, John Willingham, Gladys HydeA
One of the great troubles with most of us is that we are mentally lazy.
We read voluninously without stopping to absorb what we read, without cogi-
tating upon it and relating it to our experience, previous observation and
knowledge of the subject at hand. A most effective means of adding zest to
our mental life is the habit of taking notes, Ideas are highly perishable;
our memories leak like coarse mesh sieves. The physical act of making a
note tends to inscribe the thought upon the mind, and it will prove a real
boon to the person who wishes to wake up and think.
Robert Louis Stevenson once said that he always kept two books in his
pocket, one to read and one to write in. This is an idea for those who have
a false reverence for paper, binding and type.
Why is marking up a book indispensable to reading? First, it keeps you
awake; and second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends
to express itself in words, spoken or written. The marked book is usually
the thought-through book.
Ordinary books, light fiction and such, can be read in a state of rolax-
atin and nothing is lost. But a great book, rich in ideas and beauty, a
book that raises and tries to answer groat fundamental questions, demands the
most active reading of which you are capable. You do not absorb ideas you
have to grapple with them. That, you cannot do while you're asleep.
Reading a book should be like a conversation between you and the author.
Presumably he knows more about the subject than you do, but don't let any-
body tell you that a reader is supposed to be solely on the receiving end.
Understanding is a two-way operation. The learner has to question himself
and the teacher. Marking a book is literally an expression of your differ-
ences or agreements with the author.
There are all kinds of devises for marking a book intelligently. Here
are some of them:
1. UNDERLINING: of major points, of important or forceful statements.
2. VERTICAL LIN2S AT THE IMARGIN: to emphasize a statement already
3. STAR, OR ASTERISK AT THV MiARGIN: to emphasize the ten or twenty
most important statements in the book.
4. NUMBERS IN THE MARGIN: to indicate the sequence of points the author
makes in developing a single argunont.
5. NUMERS OF OTHER PAGES IN THE MRGIt: to indicate where else in the
book the author makes points relevant to the point marked.
6. CIRCLING OF KEY WORDS OR PHRASES,
7. WRITING IN THE MARGIN, OR AT THE TOP OR BOTTOM OF THE PAGE: to re-
cord questions (and perhaps answers) which a passage raises in
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Teachers College. Library Service Department. The Call Number, Volume 1, Number 11, Second Six Weeks, Summer 1940, periodical, 1940; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc13355/m1/2/: accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Information.