After an inspiring conversation with a co-worker about the excitement of fiction novels, I decided to stop by my local library. Every time I walk into a library, I’m immediately taken back to my school days as a child and high-school student. The smell of old books and worn-out wooden bookshelves and tables recall images of learning how to use a card catalog as we did not have computer databases to search for our book of choice. I remember not wanting to walk to the deep ends of the library in fear that the opening scene of Ghostbusters just might happen. I also remember how my mother raised me to habitually be in a learning environment like the library.
I wonder if parents still encourage such behavior. I wonder if the library is still relevant to our society. Mostly, I wonder what would happen if the library actually ceased to exist in my hometown.
Today, my local library has cut its hours of availability and operation due to lack of funding. It seems that almost every year, there is a proposition or local legislation act to either shut the library down or keep it alive.
I walked out of the library thinking of Ray Bradbury’s novel Farenheit 451. Ok…Maybe we’ll never see our world to be as post-literature as what Bradbury wrote in his novel, but I have to ask questions like:
With all of the digital technology, will we eventually become a society that makes books obsolete? What would become of the books in all the the libraries that do close down? Do they burn these at 451 degrees Fahrenheit along with all of the knowledge in them?
But we have digital books and e-readers now! Right?!
Hmm..Sometimes the words “digital” and “virtual” cause me to forget about what is tangible and actual. For example, how often do people print their pictures from a digital camera. It’s normally just uploaded onto a computer, never to actually be printed and held.
I could have easily found the book on the internet, but I wanted the experience of going into the library and searching with my own eyes and hands. It could have been for nostalgic reasons or even to save money, but I look forward to the experience of searching, finding, and actually touching. It renews a sense of reality. A sense of accomplishment.
All to say, I hope the library stays open so that adults can remember their experiences, and that their kids can grow in the same learning environment.