Most people who know me well, know that my favorite founding father is Benjamin Franklin. I just find who he was to be amazing: resilient, smart, and creative. Ok, honestly, I think the word ‘creative’ is an understatement, but that is the best I can do right now.
Anyhow, why do I bring up Ben, well, because I read an article the other day that I think would just cause Ben to be in an uproar, and so well, I’m in an uproar for him. A library in California wants to no longer be a “library” but a community center ~ say what?!?! There reasons for this are financially motivated and “backed up” by the belief that few people check out books. Ok, really, have we become so dependent on technology that we no longer need libraries? I think not! Have we become so numb to life that we are limiting our life experiences to just visual and auditory? What about the tactile experience that comes from turning a page? What about the olifactory experience that takes place when you walk into an old book store? You know the bookstore where you can “smell” the old books on the shelf begging to be read.
First off, I’ve always been of the mindset that if someone can read there is nothing that they can not learn. Books are the gateway to learning so much. For example: right now I am reading a book about raising backyard chickens (borrowed from the library), I am reading a book on real food (borrowed from the library), I am reading a book on fermenting food (originally borrowed from the library, but I was so enthralled with the book I bought a copy), and I am reading an amazing novel (borrowed from the library). That’s just what I have from the library. That is not counting the numerous books my kids have from the library on different countries they are studying, different states (as they “travel” the United States), books on dolphins as they are currently learning about dolphins for science. Oh, and let’s not forget the books they are reading just because they want to.
I think, no, I know Ben believed the same thing, that books contain information. Information that can be important for learning, developing and sparking creativity. Did you know that he frequently borrowed books from wealthy people when he was a young man and when he worked as an apprentice for his brother? Oh, and I learned that from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. One of the reasons Ben was such an excellent communicator, think the Dogood letters, and an effective ambassador, was because he was so well read.
Secondly, and oh, this comment could cause an uproar, but what are people going to do when they can’t go to their computers, iphones, etc to ‘search’ for information on the internet? Yes, I am saying that I don’t believe that it will be around forever, and honestly, it’s not the end all, be all for information. Is there a wealth of information available on the internet? Yes, yes there is. But is it all good? Well, that is debate-able, but how often do you scroll past the first hits in a search? I rarely ever go to the first, (those are the ones that paid the most to be ‘top dog’), usually I go much further down in the search unless I’m looking for a specific company.
My point is this: library’s are an essential part of learning…and thinking!! We must continue to be a thinking population, not some automatronic, reactionary group of people who just respond to what some “authority” says. If that were the case then I would still be pumping my kids full of artificial colors, HFCS, MSG and other ingredients that the majority of the population can’t pronounce….and honestly, I think we’re better off if we can’t pronounce it.
Please, I am asking you, no, I’m begging you…fight to keep your library. Once one completes a transformation such as this, it won’t be long before others do.