There is a video on Yahoo today showing a one year old baby with a magazine. She is pushing non-existent buttons and trying to make it work like an IPad. Needless to say, she's a little confused.
So the question is: is the next generation of readers even going to know what a book is?
Saying that children who learn how to use electronic devices will never use a book is like saying that using a dishwasher means you have no idea how to wash a dish in a sink. It's like saying watching TV means you can't figure out how to turn on a radio. It's like insisting the invention of the car eliminated bicycles from the face of the earth.
From the the wheel to the cell phone, man has developed and invented innumerable items that have enabled humanity to do a lot of things they never did before. It's true that some of these inventions have more or less swept away certain things. For example, most households don't make dip candles any more - they flip a switch for light. But many inventions that have stood for progress in the history of mankind still live side by side with what came next. Remember when computers were first gaining popularity in businesses and homes? They were supposed to do away with the reams of paperwork considered necessary to function in the 20th century. I don't know about you, but I am sitting in an office with a stuffed file cabinet and files on the counters, just full of all that paper that was going to be eliminated.
Libraries move with the times. That's why you find public access computers for patrons, books on CD, movies to check out and Ebooks. But you also find newspapers and magazines and upstanding files holding clippings and old photographs - and, of course, books. Lots and lots of books, purchased thoughtfully to try and meet the needs of everyone the library serves, from the smallest baby to the most elderly patron.
Given the current economic realities, I think it is safe to say that if hardly anyone checked out a book, there wouldn't be very many left in public libraries. When it comes to money, librarians are realists. They have to be. They are there to provide information, entertainment and education for the public, and there is only a certain amount of money each year to meet those needs. If reading print that you hold in your hands was a vanishing need, you wouldn't find new bestsellers, new picture books, new Chilton's manuals and the local newspaper on the shelves.
People still want and desire actual books. Many of us it find that it satisfies some sort of need that is buried deep in our psyche. Access to books was something the ordinary people did not have for millenniums. The ability to read was non-existent, it was a need that was not even recognized when survival took all their waking hours. That began to change with the invention of the printing press, the beginning of formal education for everyone, the other inventions that freed up time for things like, well, reading. This need has been passed along from generation to generation, and books were the basis upon which past generations gained knowledge and skills, improved their lives, and gave an immeasurable amount of pleasure. Reading a book is hardwired into us all, and it was there long before Steve Jobs gave us the IPad.
Electronic devices also have needs that books don't have. They have to be recharged. They don't work if you drop them often enough (and who hasn't dropped their cell phone before?). They can be disabled with viruses. Computers need operating systems and those don't come cheap. Devices and apps may use signals from satellites. Some may need to be plugged in to an electrical source.
A book, on the other hand, just has to be picked up and opened. If the electricity goes out, you can still light a candle and read a good book.
As for the baby girl trying to push buttons on a magazine, she just doesn't know what a magazine is for yet. My children didn't either, but instead of trying to push buttons, they tore out the pages and had a great time. They grew up to know what books are all about, and so will the babies of today.
- The library has a new AWE Literacy Station geared for children aged 2 to 8 years old. (See post.)
- Book signing for author of "The Adventures of Stinkerpup" Isis Grayling on Saturday, June 3, from 2 - 4 p.m.
- Summer Story Hour "Make A Better World" is coming! Beginning Wednesday, June 14th, this seven week program will continue every Wednesday from 10 - 11 a.m. through July 26th. (See post.)
- The Arthur Johnson Memorial Library Board will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room at the library.
- Are you interested in joining a new Writer's Group? Meetings held on Fridays, at 10:00 a.m. This is for any writer who wishes to meet with other writers. Beginners, experienced, published, unpublished, writers of fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, bloggers - all are welcome.
- Preschool Story Hour is conducted every Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. We read books to the children and there is a project every week. It's never too soon to introduce your children to the library!
- Schedule a meeting at the library. Call 445-9711 to get on the calendar in advance. The library stays open until 6:00 P.M., Monday - Saturday, except for Thursday, when it stays open until 9:00 P.M.