Monday, 3 March 2014

Libraries for a post-literate society.

As I read Johnson’s (2010) article, I felt a tightening in my chest and an air of grief hung over my study.  There before my eyes were the words I didn’t ever want to see in print.
“Any number of recent studies are concluding that reading is declining, primarily the reading of novels and longer works of non-fiction” (Johnson, 2010). 
I would like to know, where were these recent studies conducted?  Did they include the students of my school?  Did they include my own children?  Did they include my book club ladies?
Are the 2000’s the formative years of a post-literate society?
There is some truth to it.  People are communic8ing thru brf msg’s and are meeting their primary information needs through audio, video, graphics and gaming (Johnson, 2010).
I was disappointed with the Wikipedia definition of a post-literate society.  I know it’s Wikipedia, but I still thought it was reckless.  Wikipedia defines a post literate society as one “wherein multimedia technology has advanced to the point where literacy, the ability to read written words, is no longer necessary” (Johnson, 2010).  Johnson modifies the definition by adding that for those who can read choose to meet their needs through audio, video, graphics and gaming. 
Is this true?  Is teaching a child to read a waste of time?  Will reading become like skiing?  Will kids only learn to read because their families are into it?  Will kids only learn to read because they want to know what’s in all the books on their grandparent’s shelves?  Will kids only want to read because they’ve charged up their Grandparents Kindle from 2014?
It is important that libraries move with the times.  It is important for libraries to fulfill the information needs of people.  It is important for students to step on to the information super highway and explore and use their knowledge. 
I feel sorry for anyone who is not into reading.  I feel sorry that they haven’t visited Narnia via their own imagination, crossed the bridge into Terabithia without a Disney ticket or jumped on the Hogwarts Express.  So many journeys and experiences can be found on the pages of a book.
Of greater concern is the inability of teenagers to think for themselves. 
Many children, teens and adults take the short cut and let other people do the imagining and the thinking for them. 
Pick up a book I say!  Give reading a go!
When I feel that my “teacher feelings” have been hurt, I always think back to Dr Seuss….
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” Dr Seuss
“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr Seuss.

Johnson, D. (2010). Libraries for a post-literate society. Connections (72), 1-2.

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