Archive for June 1st, 2007

Kid Cuisine?

1 June 07

Note that I am not a parent, so maybe I don’t have the right to judge, but I think this article is incredible, and should be read by everyone who has kids. Because kids cannot live by chicken fingers and pizza and french fries alone. This is not how I was raised, how about you?

Don’t Point That Menu at My Child, Please

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Burning Books is Not the Answer

1 June 07

Is burning books ever a good idea? I’m not sure how I feel about this. A bookstore owner in Kansas City had a warehouse full of books he was unable to sell – close to 20,000 books. After libraries and thrift shops refused the books, he decided to hold a monthly book bonfire. He views the burnings as a protest against society’s declining support of books.

I am actually cringing as I write these words. When I think of book burnings, I imagine that scene in Indiana Jones, when the nazis are burning all the books and Indy “runs into” Hitler. Book burnings = fascism, fear, totalitarianism, prison state, loss of freedom, censorship, closed-mindedness. In the nazi concentration camps, the motto work makes you free hung over the gates. I think a more appropriate motto for our day and age would be information makes you free.

The bookstore owner fears that most people are getting their reading in through newspapers and the Internet, that people don’t care about books anymore. I can think of nothing more sad. I spend countless hours on the Internet, reading as much as I can, but at the end of the day, I need books. There is nothing quite like the feel of the pages, the heft of the words. I seek information in as many forms as I can get – audiobooks, ebooks, Internet web pages, the old fashioned book. For me, information is my most valuable tool for surviving in this world. Maybe that is why I have chosen to spend the next year studying information science. A librarian’s world is filled with information.

When I read the article about the book burning, I immediately thought of a photo slide show (#1 on the search list) I had seen on the New York Times website a few weeks ago. The pictures were of university campuses in Africa. They showed the students living in cramped and dilapidated dormitories, as many as can fit in one room. They showed science classes using broken beakers and test tubes to perform lab experiments. They showed classrooms literally falling apart. They showed long lines of students desperate to get into the library to study. In America, one man burns books because no one seems to want them. In Africa, young people yearn for any kind of access to the information that could give them a better life.

The New York Times has excellent multimedia reports available on their site. This is by no means a recommendation to spend all your time surfing the Internet. Embrace a real live book if you have the chance!