The Library VS The Mobile

Reading & Writing

Louise Robinson, the new president of the Girls’ Schools Association, says that smartphones and tablets are about to take over from reading books, partly because children will be able to access information more easily in their spare time.

She’s certainly right in principal, but then she says children would have to be taught how to access information properly online. “You and I wouldn’t send a child into a library and say ‘Go and have a look.’ You’d show them where the information is to access and which bits they should be looking at for their age and stage.’

The problem I have with that statement is that ‘Go in the library and have a look’ is precisely what my teachers told me, so that we were allowed some leeway for development at our own pace within the curriculum.

There’s also a danger that anything on the printed page will be regarded with the horror the young have of the old or old-fashioned. There’s nothing as conservative as a young mind, and books could easily end up relegated to Oxfam shops and old folks’ homes.

Having now adopted an eReader again (my second), I’ve yet to put a regular book down to read it – why? Because I keep stumbling across so many good books, and you can’t ‘accidentally’ find something on a Kindle.

6 comments on “The Library VS The Mobile”

  1. I dislike that adults see these advances in technology as opportunities to exert more and more control over the young, in every sphere of life. Making one’s own choices from an early age; discovering the pleasures of browsing a library’s shelves; selecting and rejecting books; reading them, and doing so without interference, are hugely valuable things. What right has our generation to dismantle the public library service (with its free and comprehensive access to books and learning) which has unerpinned the nation’s literacy and well-being in myriad ways for generations ? It is nothing short of wicked. I appreciate the points made so coherently in this Blog very much and hope they will resonate with many others, before it is too late. Thank you.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    My childhood’s local library tried to restrict children to the ‘their own’ area but it certainly didn’t take much effort to persuade the librarians otherwise.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    (Rats! Be careful when entering.) My first day in a long term library stint involved defending the right of a student (aged 7)to borrow any book he wished. His mother felt the books should be assigned a grade level. If parents wanted to restrict their children’s reading that was their prerogative but they couldn’t expect me to enforce it.

  4. Magpie says:

    Most of the fun of going to the library or bookshop when your a child is to discover new books that you’ve never heard of, thought of, wondered about etc… Most of those books are going to be found in sections /areas that you don’t already know and that’s whats so great about discovering real books.
    If you only ever read on an e-reader/kindle/phone you’ll never go looking further afield, you’ll never choose a book because you liked the cover or because someone else has left it out on a table as you walk past.
    I’ve just got a kindle for Christmas and I’m mainly going to be adding my old favourites to it, as regards me finding new books to put on my kindle; well the only way I will be doing that is heading back to the bookshop as usual.
    I really hope that our younger generation don’t just accept e-readers as the norm and can see the true magic of reading can only come from a book.

  5. Rachel says:

    Good luck trying to donate books to charity shops. We were turned down by several last week — too many books, not enough potential buyers. Depressing.

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