Our Libraries Need To Be Rediscovered

As+libraries+and+books+are+ignored%2C+students+are+losing+opportunities+to+develop+their+minds.+
As libraries and books are ignored, students are losing opportunities to develop their minds.

As libraries and books are ignored, students are losing opportunities to develop their minds.

Sofya Akhetova

Sofya Akhetova

As libraries and books are ignored, students are losing opportunities to develop their minds.

Vincent Pate, Staff Writer

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Imagine you’re in a coal town somewhere in, let’s say Iowa. It’s your first day descending into the mine, and when the rickety elevator reaches ground, you’re shocked by what you see in front of you; not a musty strip mine, an entire cavern full of gold veins! Only, the prevalent sound of the cavern isn’t the metallic crack of pickaxes, but the rattling of keyboards. Huh? Upon closer inspection, the gold ores take the shape of books.
Books? Yes, adventures of every kind! Astounding science fiction, grueling tragedies, romantic… romances. There’s a cavern exactly like this in our very building. The library! It’s time to get digging, Highland.
While at Highland, I’ve consistently noticed the lack of reading being done here. Voluntary reading, that is, books that weren’t assigned by a teacher, a curriculum, etc. (Personally, I loved Grapes of Wrath, but I seem to be the only one). I see no more than a couple of students reading books they’ve checked out each month.
Technology is ever encroaching upon all elements of life, including education. But is there too much emphasis on technology in today’s learning environment? Adriana Parker works at the University of Utah as a Librarian and Professor. Although some differences apply between High School and College librarians, Mrs. Parker had interesting insights.
“Computers are really great resources, but the importance of literature… cannot be overstated,” Parker said.
Today’s generation of kids have grown up in a technology rich environment, and while we’re on the cusp of this trend as high school students, it’s impossible not to recognize it’s prevalence in our lives too. Social media and sites like YouTube hold much more value than books for a vast majority of the youth. What could we do in order to reevaluate the importance of literature?
“I think it’s a choice not many kids make [to read recreationally] because they haven’t been exposed to it for a significant part of their lives, and therefore, they aren’t attracted to what reading offers them,” Parker said.
So, what is everyone missing out on anyways? What is it that makes these books so special? Why can’t you get this experience anywhere else?
“You hear these hot words like ‘imagery’ and ‘metaphor’ all the time when you’re reading stuff like The Great Gatsby because that’s what teachers are supposed to teach you,” Baker Nolen, a former Highland student said. “It makes it kind of lame when in the classroom, because there are a million other things you’d rather be doing, but these students don’t know just how rich these things are; which keeps them from exploring other books in other contexts.”
Aren’t there other forms of media that’re just as stimulating, if not more entertaining than reading a book? Well, that depends on what kind of depth you’re looking for.
“What’s special about books is their accessibility to interpretation; the freedom it gives the reader to visualize the story they’re reading. You can’t get quite the same thing with comic books, even,” Anakin Young, a student at East Hollywood High, a film school in Utah, said.
So what? Who cares if the youth is “missing out” on some old stories? Well, the critical thinking skills, and unique stimulation of the brain gained by reading and visualizing stories shouldn’t be dismissed. How bland would a world be without literature? (There’re books about that, ironically enough) How would Scientists come up with theses for groundbreaking research and discoveries if they never imagined in any profound way? How many kids would be without escape; without characters they can relate too? Literature is art, art is culture, culture is essential to every group of people. If our ‘culture’ is represented by Fortnite, people like Logan and Jake Paul ruining cities, overreliance on technology and xenophobia, than we’ve lost. Give a book a try; get digging. There are things invaluable just waiting for you in the library.

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