Times have changed

Interesting interview in which David Kuo claims that we don’t need libraries. In fact, the only use people have is to use the Internet to but books for a penny. So why not spend the money you currently spend on one library to supply 50,000 people with free internet access.


That doesn’t include the land line rental, obviously. So if you don’t have a BT Land line, you don’t count. Oh, and you would need a computer. But otehr than that, you can just do taht and buy your books instead. Unless you can’t afford it. But then, you probably wouldn’t need books anyway as you can’t read.

David is making a big assumption here – he compares going to a library as being like going to a well to get water. We don’t need a central, localised source of something because we can just get it in our own home. Times have changed.

OK. Problem with wells – they can get contaminated. If illness is his main worry, then we need to stop people mixing in any circumstance – work, education, public transport – oh, yeah.

If contamination of knowledge is his main worry, the publishing process is established to check that. In fact, the main source of poor information tends to be the internet or Right wing politicians on Radio 4. Maybe he want so prevent certain members of the general public form having their minds contaminated by information in general – not just general knowledge, but rights, ideas and local protests or legal help – all things that libraries are often used for.

The idea of people going to a central place to experience some service as an old idea is a fallacy. It is human behaviour. All new technologies start with this – Books, Telephones, Film, TV, Games – all started as a shared experience, which becomes private (normally after the technology is used for porn, but that’s another blog). Some of these technologies still have a social element – take Facebook or any of the slew of online games – technology that started as a shared, central resource, became private and moved into our homes, now used to keep a contact with other people.

What Mr Kuo is saying is that socialising is an old thing. We don’t need it. We just need to sit in our own homes and everything is on tap. I’m sure at his next dinner party he can discuss this ‘Brave, New World’ he is suggesting. A big portion of the public, however, will never be aware of the irony.

About Alan Hardcastle

Media Lecturer with an interest in Pedagogy and Politics.

Posted on February 5, 2011, in Educate and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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