As part of promoting any book, I have been fortunate to tour almost all the libraries in northeast Nebraska as well as many libraries in other states. I have made several observation that are concerning regarding these depositories of written materials.
In the time before the internet and electronic media, our founding fathers had the foresight to build a place where a copy of every book written could be housed. This concept is marvelous and comforting, to have a centralized place where all these written diverse ideas could be found. I hope there will always be a place like a library, regardless of what technology brings as an alternative.
As our country grew, certain benefactors like Carnegie, Mellon and Rockefeller, realized the value of this concept and endowed towns throughout rural America with the money to build libraries that still exist day.
The concerns I have is there are fewer and fewer books found in these libraries designed bring success to businesses, show the latest scientific findings or the management of issues dealing with our social, economic or political problems. Instead they are becoming depositories of fiction, videos, music and games that entertain, giving an escape from the problems of the world. Little attention is given to helping citizens become more self reliant and prosperous through learning what is necessary to make the world a better place for themselves and the next generation.
The average attendee at most libraries is becoming younger with libraries becoming one step above a day care center, amusing kids and young adults until parents gather them up or until they must go home. Regardless, there is very little learning going in libraries any more with their function more for entertainment.
Certain libraries even apologize for not having books dealing with business, science or government. The library directors say there is no demand for that sort of information any more and do not carry them to save expenses since they are not used.
This is an extension of the symptom found in schools with the demand that educators raise the percentage of graduates. They do this not by teaching what they must know, but try to keep them in school by entertaining them so they won’t quit. This is not the educator’s fault. It is the fault of the parents that tolerate this dysfunctionality to exist in schools in the first place
In any sales training course, it is taught to listen and always give the client what they want and not what they need. This makes as much sense as having the prisoners run the jail. Libraries and schools are becoming salesmen, only providing things the kids want and not what they need. This thought process has infected an entire generation with the parents reluctant to give tough love, always doing what they can to minimize any pain, suffering or delayed gratification. This results in millennials who feel entitled, dependent and helpless when they have to deal with the problems of making a living so they will not become a burden on their family or society.
Regardless of the reason, real libraries are becoming antiques with fewer reference books and self help information available. The internet can not replace this, as the very validity of the electronic media information is very questionable. Libraries have become a depository for fantasy proving an escape from reality with nothing of substance acquired other than some possible improvement in reading skills. But, even that is debatable because with audio/video information, it is not necessary to be able to read or write.
Society cannot allowed our next generation to remain ignorant. The hunger for knowledge no longer has any appeal and these future citizens seem doomed to a future where fewer people are able to think for themselves, be self sustaining or able deal with the problems that happen in life. This is evidenced by the infection of political correctness, situational ethics and the lack of accountability we find throughout the country.
Schools must acknowledge and teach there is no escape from the reality, nor is there a short cut that allows illiteracy to be acceptable. This explains the drug culture, alcoholism and increased dependency on social welfare. The only reason for libraries, schools and life long learning centers to exist is to better prepare this generation to deal with life by being able to solve problems and not continue to teach ways to avoid the realities of life and be able to live without a complete dependence on batteries and electricity.