Reading Recommendation

The Bio-Documentation of the British Library by Deborah Walker

It’s an excellent short story about libraries and books and stories. A little bit dystopic and a little bit optimistic…and a little bit true to life too.

“Library? What’s a library?”

“A place of books,” explained the augment. “You know: information on paper.”

“Why would information be on paper?” asked Alphonse.

“Individuals were able to read the symbols placed on paper. I suppose you want me to tell you what reading is?”

“Yes, please.”

“Reading is the cognitive process of decoding symbols for the intention of deriving meaning. It’s a way in which humans communicated before the advent of DNA-data.”

“How strange,” said Alphonse. “And what are we paying her for?”

The augment shrugged orange, “I’m sure I don’t know.”

If this seems a little cynical, I was told at my place of previous employment, during the renovation of the library, that there didn’t seem much of a point in changing the space as they wouldn’t need a library soon anyway with everything going online. “But what about accredidation?” I asked. “What about students who need a place to study and books? In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a group of kids clustering their noses outside the door because they want to come in but CAN’T because you’re working in here!” He didn’t deign to respond, for I was a lowly librarian, and what did I know. I changed jobs shortly afterwards, as you can imagine. So if you think this is far-fetched? It’s really not. BELIEVE me.

One thought on “Reading Recommendation

  1. On the other hand:

    They eliminated the librarian at work. Then hired a part-time librarian. Then replaced the part-time librarian with a full time librarian. There are some things you just can’t do online or on the phone with reference librarians and researchers.

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