Libraries are out of date. They are full of books that are out of date. The books contain facts and information that is out of date.
Walk into any school library. Yes, the room is bright and colourful and warm – and schools try hard to spice up the space with things like beanbags and pretty displays – but then look at the shelves. Ask yourself: how many of those books have been read recently? Or, how many of those books have actually been read? Like, ever?
Schools spend thousands of dollars every year on books for their libraries. So, on the shelves are probably tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars worth of books that barely get looked at. Every year more books get bought, and older ones get thrown away to make room for them.
If that doesn’t tell you about the value of books, then nothing will. In other words, books are simply taking up shelf space just waiting until it’s their turn to get chucked out – waiting for their time to be worthless. Yep, libraries are nothing more than rooms full of things waiting to get thrown away.
The internet. Now there’s a thing. Schools are slowly playing catch-up with the rest of the world. The internet gives students – you – access to constantly changing, constantly updating information. It’s accurate, it’s fast, and it comes from all over the world. Facts can easily be checked quickly (no need to rely on just one published-last-century book for past-its-sell-by-date information) and compared with other online sources. And, in many cases, experts can be emailed directly for additional information or confirmation.
Many hundreds of years ago, libraries were like the internet. Libraries were the internet. Each town had one. if you were lucky you had one in your own school. They were the place to go to find information; libraries stored information. The world changed more slowly, discoveries happened more slowly, news travelled more slowly. Libraries, as a storehouse of human knowledge, could keep up.
But the world has changed. Libraries are nothing more than an out-of-date extra space that can be used for other things.
We don’t need libraries; we need faster Wi-Fi.
Article written by Ben Egerton
This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:
Critical Thinking Challenges:
- ‘We don’t need libraries; we need faster Wi-Fi.’ Do you agree that the internet can replace what libraries give us?
- Is the library just an extra room that can be used for other things?
- How can students be encouraged to make greater use of the school library?
- Do you think that schools are generally slow to adopt (take on) what the rest of the world is already doing – like using the internet, computers in classrooms, online learning, working from home?
- Write a similar article, but from the other point of view. Defend libraries.
- Go and talk to your school or local librarian. How many books are taken out? Are there books that have never been borrowed? Create a campaign to encourage more students to make use of the library?
Have Your Say:
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