January 29th, 2009


Closing Libraries in Schools, Books in General

There was a radio ad by NEA this morning moaning that budget cuts "may even close school libraries."

So what?

Even in the days when I was in school, the school library's pitiful collection of books was seldom used by the students. The place was empty most of the time because - big surprise - students were in class. I went to relatively affluent suburban grade and jr. high schools, we had libraries and full-time librarians - who did almost nothing. Every now and then we'd get a practical lesson in how to use a card catalog and the Dewey and LoC numbering systems, but everything I needed to know about libraries I learned in class from English and Social Studies teachers.

And here we are in the age of the Internet, where the only use for libraries is a place to hook up the computers for those who cannot afford their own (or whose parents, knowing it to be a tool of Satan, won't buy them one), and the occasional NAMBLA meeting.

It's time for the paper book industry to go away, and be replaced by the affordable electronic book. Imagine the trees saved. The oil not burned to deliver massive crates of heavy books. The oil not burned because who needs bright lights to read from a monitor? An eBook fits in your pocket, no matter how many volumes of literature is packed inside. No more having the school bully make you drop your books in the hallway - an eBook is a lot easier to pick up off the floor.
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