Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Go Philip! Go Philip!

Philip Pullman, aka the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, spoke out this week about the closure of the library in the school he used to go to - basically he said it was a disgrace.

The reason for the closure? Technology. Flamin' technology again (and yes I'm aware of the irony of me writing about "flamin' technology" given that I'm using it to express my view here). They're going to replace the library with some technology that means you can have books digitally or something.

Here's a positive - perhaps the kids might treat these digital books a bit like their mobiles or iPods. With some respect. I don't know about anyone else but everyone seemed to hate books when I was at school and would do anything to get out of reading them. At least this might spark some more interest in literature.

But what really ticks me off about this is that in many schools libraries are being scrapped because they are seen as "not an essential part of the curriculum or the way the school is run". Er, isn't English a core subject? Don't you, you know, have to get a good grade in English to get anywhere in life? Books suddenly not part of English any more? Have I suddenly become old fashioned and no longer know what English entails?

NO!!!! I haven't. In fact, I'm pretty sure that, apart from the titles of the books studied in schools today, the basic curriculum of English revolves around reading and writing. 2 of the legendary 3 Rs (the other one is 'Rithmetic as in Arithmetic as in Maths - but that's the least important of the 3 Rs).

What are all the librarians going to do? They'll be jobless! It's another catastrophe! Can you see where I'm going here? You can't shut the libraries down because, surprise surprise, it would be an atrocity. I like the feel of a solid book, and I hate to think about this since it could signal the very beginning of the end for the physical book. I can't fathom why anyone would want to read a book from a little digital machine - they're probably going to give you the eyes of an 80 year old at 25 and lock-arm from using them (since you'll be straining your eyes to see the words and holding your arm up constantly to look at the screen. Oh, so add iPod finger to that as well seeing as how you'll be tapping furiously at a little button to turn the pages....)

Who needs a mechanical book? I'd be so annoyed. I don't care if I end up with a really scrappy copy, I'll never change from good old paper and so what if I'm old fashioned!? I agree with Mr. Pullman!


Reluctant Blogger said...

There is nothing like a book. Reading from a computer, however booklike it may be designed to be is not the same. Books are beautiful things - particularly old well-thumbed ones.

My sons read a lot. I am sure they would not if I did not limit their use of computers. because they are only allowed one hour a day of computers (OR tv - not and) they have to find other ways of entertaining themselves when they can't get outside. Mostly they do this by fighting but often they will pick up a book. And once they get started they are hooked and don't hear a word I say for hours.

I disagree re maths though - i think it is equally important and would perhaps be more so if found ourselves in a situation like THe Survivors are currently facing on TV where we had to reconstruct things. But then I am a mathematician so you'd expect me to say that, wouldn't you?

Brett said...

I have never read a post that i agree with more, you are so right.