To learn or not to learn
ON MY weekly grocery trip to town, a browse in the library is my little indulgence. It’s free, it’s just for me and it has the potential to fill me with new ideas and inform me about old ones. The newspaper The Australian recently published a collector’s edition of their magazine for their 50th anniversary. It features articles about 50 Australians of influence. The two authors who are highlighted are Patrick White and Peter Carey. Both men have written several quality books and whether you like them or not, these works have become part of our modern history. Browsing through the new and improved stylish bookshelves in the Childers Library, I couldn’t find one book of either of these esteemed authors. Looking at the bright and colourful book covers it seems that the library has become a place for uncomplicated entertainment, not education. It’s disappointing that a resident cannot simply walk into the library and flick through the pages that the world’s greatest minds have created. How can we expect people to form intelligent opinions, if all we offer them is shallow short-lived pleasure? How ironic that today’s teenagers think of ‘Big Brother’ as a TV show, totally missing a possible reference to the dumbing down of the proletariats in George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’. Sure, there are e-books now, but there is no such thing as browsing and finding something fascinating next to the title you came looking for. I tucked my list with six titles of ‘must read’ classics back in my pocket and left the library empty handed. Next door in the Salvos store I wiped the dust of three yellowed pockets; I paid 50 cents each and went home with mixed feelings.
PETRA DE JONG