But what about those who use libraries because they don’t have access to those technologies at home, or even in school? Children need access to books and information and not every school is going to hand out tablets to their students. Children need to understand the value books hold. They need a place to find information and where they can learn how to find information.
-Harry Marks, “Neil Gaiman on Reading and Libraries”
I love libraries and I am sad that fewer and fewer people use—or even know how to use—them. I put a question out there a about a week ago regarding the TechCrunch article that declared the end of the library:
RE: The Future of Libraries, when do we acknowledge that looking up trivial facts on the Internet is not the same as the “learning” we once did in library settings?
I asked this because I still love going to the library to read, to enjoy a cup of coffee, to learn something new. The fact is that being able to look up trivia is not the same thing as learning something new.
Recently, Google Glass was at the heart of my confusion in this regard due to the notion circulating around the Internet that, with Google Glass, long-term memory was becoming unnecessary. In other words, why remember something when you constantly have a digital assistant who can look up anything for you.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that if I need to look something up, I can pull out my phone and read a million different resources on a single subject, but I will never be so audacious as to associate my five minute foray into the world of IMDB as true long-term mental recognition, the likes of my college career.
I have posted a lot about books recently because as I approach fatherhood, I know that books will be important to my child’s development. Thank God there are a lot of other smart people that just keep backing me up. Harry Marks shares some prescient ideas here, so go read his thoughts.
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.