Library School

Gordon was ecstatic as he cycled to the city. He had qualified to study in the last Library School – off-limits to the public. After graduation, he’d be a Knowledge Guardian, safeguarding public contentment.

First, he reported to Admin Centre for neural microchip realignment; then the reading began.

His mind whirled as he read. He encountered conflict, suspense, imaginary places, minds and souls to connect with. Here was freedom! Gordon knew what to do. He ran for his bike, a couple of volumes under his arm. He’d go home and free them all.

The lookout snipers fired, took him out. “Another failure. Pity.”

bike_detour_at_library_randy_mazie

Copyright – Randy Mazie

*****

There have been some worrying developments in the world of books and libraries. The advent of e-books and the explosion of information available online has led to library closures and savage book culls, justified by the availability of information via new technologies. But not everyone is convinced, and the following articles present interesting perspectives on this issue.

If you love the feel and smell of paper books, if you value being able to discover rare volumes, if you worry about the vulnerability of the web to external control and external mischief, you’ll enjoy these articles.   

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/library-book-dumping-signals-a-new-dark-age-20140903-10bspm.html

http://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2011/07-08/the-great-purge-of-our-libraries/

*****

This is my contribution to this week’s Friday Fictioneers, where writers contribute 100 word stories in response to a photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the event each week.

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35 thoughts on “Library School

  1. We posted written instructions for the snipers to use stun guns and send book borrowers back for a second chip realignment. But the snipers are a young group, brash, with a mind of their own and not much on reading – especially instructions. Too bad. Randy

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    • Yes – maybe if we keep fresh in our minds past instances of knowledge and thought control, and keep writing about the consequences, we can avoid such a future. Thank you for commenting.

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  2. Shades of Bradbury … and as I’ve seen from your articles something that might be possible in one of our alternate futures. You’ve caught the beauty of reading … I especially liked. ” minds and souls to connect with”. Let’s hope that no one gets it into their heads to do a complete conversion – too unstable, we’d find ourselves back in the Dark Ages in no time! Lovely post!

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    • It is scary. Mostly, I’m confident that it couldn’t happen, but then I look around at the examples of cruelty and insanity that have happened already and I’m not so optimistic. I’m glad you found the articles interesting. Thanks for responding.

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    • We are in uncertain times as the world transitions from paper to electronic based knowledge and literature. I hope we manage to strike a good balance somewhere before, as you say, all the books are gone. Thanks for your comment.

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  3. Not all libraries are closing. Libraries are alive and well in north Minneapolis metropolis. They’re remodeling and expanding. Those open on Sunday are full. The librarian by me says more hard bound books go out than ebooks.

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  4. Poor Gordon. He was so excited too. Just goes to show what books can do to a person. There he was, running to his bike, obviously DOK (drunk on knowledge). There’s no telling what kind of havoc he would have reeked on society had the snipers not taken him out.

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    • Yes, maybe they need to do a bit of fine-tuning on the microchip realignment process. I think there must be a few glitches in the system. I did feel a bit sad about sending poor innocent Gordon to such a violent and cold-hearted death.

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  5. Margaret, Good but scary story. I followed the links and that is disturbing. It seems sadly that libraries are fighting for their lives. How terrible. The internet is great but will never really take the place of the type of library where you can go, be comfortable and browse. I’m so glad that at least children appreciate that fact. Well written. — Susan

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    • I found the articles disturbing too. We live in interesting times; as we embrace the opportunities of electronic communication, how much of the old should we let go? I just wonder where the balance will settle. I believe so many people love the whole experience of using a traditional library, as you describe, that they’ll survive. I’m happy you likked my story, and thank you for following the links and for commenting.

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