The printed word must stay

February 4th, 2016 by Ken

In the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, millions of immigrants came to the shores of the United States – – looking for freedom and a future.

Everything was new and different, and as they spread out across the country they looked for something they could understand and relate to.

And they found it – – in the American library system.

Every city and small town had a library of some sort – and the larger the city – the larger its library.   It was here that emigrants gathered, to learn English – to study for their citizenship exam and to become – Americans.

It was the library, more than any other American institution that made a country of immigrants into a nation of Americans.

It was the printed word which first gave people the freedom to learn – – and the ability to make their own decisions.   Regarding their future – the printed word – and the ability to read it – – formed the basis for the vast migration of immigrants to this country.

Now, the American library system is under pressure to modernize.   Proponents of the new technology are telling libraries that they must junk their books and embraced the wired world – – and its machines.

Many libraries have taken that step.   The Seattle Central Library is a piece of modern art which draws visitors and tourists.  But books are few and far between and places to read those books are even more scarce.   San Francisco has followed suit and New York City is in the process of junking its books and buying more computers.

What bothers me about all this move to technology is – what happens when technology changes?   What happens when – – the next big thing – – makes current technology – obsolete?

Almost everyone can read to some extent – – and for the last 600 years – words printed on paper were the way people read.

The printed word on printed paper must stay.   It’s the only thing that will remain for another 600 years.


Posted in Business, History, The Real News

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