Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Internet And Libraries

The Internet has competed for my woefully few reading-for-pleasure hours - ever since I have had it around 24/7. Before that books had my undivided attention. That said, I am able to appreciate Ray Bradbury's tirade against the internet. He has the following to say about it :

“It’s distracting,” he continued. “It’s meaningless; it’s not real. It’s in the air somewhere.”

Distracting, unreal and ether-based - absolutely but meaningless is perhaps a little too harsh an indictment. Bradbury loves libraries and is fighting to keep them around and well-funded - needless to say this is the right thing to do. If you do have the good fortune to have unlimited access to libraries, the internet may not been a life-saver but in a poorer, more backward country where libraries are a luxury, access to the web would be what it takes to bring the citizenry from figurative darkness to light. It can make the difference between making it across the digital divide or being left behind in technology prehistory. That is not meaningless.

Even if that were an over-statement given the not so erudite ways the medium is put to use by those who stand to benefit the most from it, the power of the internet is undeniable.

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