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NIL and the MIT/LMI-LISPM system had just such a mechanism, named readtables.
(GET-READTABLE-NAMED "Maclisp") would be analogous to (FIND-PACKAGE "Maclisp").
The mechanism was invoked by the good-old file mode line:

I suppose we will have to wait for the gods-on-high, er, I mean Symbolics REL7,
before any discussion of "environment issues" can progress however. We
all wait, breathless.