Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Book Store/Library (06/03/10)
TITLE: Our Environment - Our Library
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Larry McMurtry, the man who wrote the award winning books ”The Last Picture Show” and “Lonesome Dove” among others, also wrote a less appreciated book about his own personal account of book collecting called “Books”. In Mr. McMurtry’s world of book collecting I learned people collect books to just have book collections, to have a first edition, or to make money from trading book, and for other various reasons besides acquiring knowledge. Personal libraries are nice if one can afford to have them. Books can be expensive. Years ago it was important to have a personal library if one was to gain intimate knowledge of a subject. A good book collection was a status symbol of wealth and knowledge. However, here in America, knowledge and books are now ubiquitous in our society.
Lawyers, Doctors, and prominent businessmen may still have their own libraries. The Presidents have libraries built after they have left the President’s office and finished their terms in office. We have the Reagan library, The Ford library, The Clinton library, and The George Bush library to name a few. These libraries carry the respective president’s personal agenda and history while they were in office. These libraries preserve their legislation they wanted to pass while in office and hold detailed knowledge of their administration to be preserved for posterity. The founding fathers so highly regarded libraries that they created the Library of Congress. I don’t have an archive of legislation in my personal library, but I still have a small library because books and knowledge are just as valuable today as at any other time in history. Books and libraries are of great value, as attested by our Presidents and some prominent people in our society, but it is not necessary to have a personal library as years ago to gain access to intimate and unlimited knowledge of a subject.
Books and knowledge are available everywhere. Gwinnett County, the county where I live, was voted the best county public library system in the nation in the year 2000. Everywhere in America where I have lived, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and Oregon all provide public libraries to the citizens living there. Books are available at Universities. I was a friend of the library at the University of Oregon at Portland. Being a friend allowed me to check out books even though I wasn’t an enrolled student. Here in Georgia books are available for check out at the University of Georgia for Georgia residents for a fee. Yet, books are also available elsewhere as well.
The Internet now has a library composed of millions of books. There are online courses with online books people can read for free at Free-ed.net. People can also buy books on the Internet on any subject imaginable. With unlimited access to knowledge and books who would want to own a large private library? The idea of a large personal library has become obsolete as encyclopedias.
However, the need for a large private library has never been greater. To survive in our complex society one needs to learn many things besides getting through a basic twelve year mandatory public schooling or its equivalent. Besides school, one needs to pass a driving test with an automobile, learn how to balance a budget, learn how the principles of mortgaging works, learn issues in a complex world so one can vote responsibly, and learn how to work appliances in our homes that are computer controlled. That is not all, yet the idea that learning is a part of living should be a basic truth to everyone. As soon as one technology surfaces, another rises to take its place creating necessary new learning for everyone. The fundamentals of Microsoft Word and office computer applications, that arose twenty years ago, are learned and practiced by millions. Many of these people keep learning new technology just to stay current at their jobs.
The environment of ordinary citizens in the United States has the potential to be an omnipresent library for anyone. Millions of books are within everyone’s reach from the Internet library, public libraries, school libraries, presidential libraries, and the Library of Congress to Internet book stores and regular book stores. Knowledge has never been more valuable or more ubiquitous. Within the United States we have the resources of freedom of thought, unlimited knowledge through books, and an open society founded on faith in God.
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