Tuesday, October 27, 2009


William Gass in his essay, 'In defense of the book" said" universities attract students by promising them on behalf of their parents, a happy present and a comfortable future, and these intentions are passed along through the system like salmonella until budgets are cut, research equipments are skipped and the fundamental formula for academic excellence is ignored if not forgotten. That formula is: a great library attracts a great faculty, and a great faculty will lure good students to its log: good students will go forth and win renown, endowments will increase  and so will the quality of the  football team until original aims are lost."
The new wave of technological advancement is " fastly" taking us away from books because information that is needed is retrieved in data form. Of course that same information can be found in books and these books are in libraries, but few people have the time to walk through shelves looking for a book, flip over the pages then write down the information for further reference.
Search engines like google and yahoo are making it easier for us to get the information we want immediately and at a low cost. But why is getting this information from a book better than getting it online? Like Hass says, "words on a screen have visual qualities...but they have no materiality..off the screen they do not exist as words..." unless printed out then and only then can you engage in reading, writing along the margins, underlying, questioning the authors' motives and most of all calling it your own.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against technology, in fact I use it when necessary to submit my term papers, access journals, look up the latest books and writer groups. I even use it when posting this article! But like Plato did years back, I am expressing a fear that we might forget what it means to possess a book and value the power it gives us. Books speak with voice and anyone who loves reading will listen to that voice and learn something from its words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters. Books in libraries come in all shapes and sizes and are elegantly placed on shelves...some speak with the classic romance of the Elizabethan era, others take us back to the melian dialgoue between the athenians and the melians, others simply narrate what Chrisptopher Columbus went through in every step of his journey. Some books can sing lullabies to us, others can jolt us to suprise and excitement, some question our intelligence, others portray how cruel, naive, true, loyal, and psychotic human nature is...books simply wow us!
Reading a book increases one's vocabulary, articulation of words and enriches the imagination.  The libray does a lot more than create an environment of knowledge: it is  home to the loner who seeks solitude, the scholar who seeks scholarship, the curious who seeks to satisfy his curiousity so far it even creates a time for that librarian to help out when needed.
Whenever You walk into a library, take your time going through the shelves, feeling and touching the books with your fingertips, taking some aside which you find interesting. A library is more like a store or antique shop, where you simply can't walk in and out, but you walk through, then pick somthing/s of interest. Relish every moment in the libary often conversing with the book you are reading... I do at times wish we had a logotopia---a world where everyone owned a libary and added into it daily or weekly keeping an account of the books read and aplying the knowledge amassed in real life.
Totally awesome!