Saturday, November 5, 2011

Books vs. Computers

To commemorate my continuing progress in the road to gaining my Librarian Technical Assistant (LTA) certificate, I want to write about a topic that’s been in pretty much all the classes I’ve taken thus far on this journey.  Books vs. Computers: Who Will Win the Ultimate Battle?  By computers I mostly mean those fancy thing-a-ma-bobs, Kindles or Nooks or any other kind of digital device that allows you to download books for a much cheaper price then buying a paper book.  There are many arguments supporting both sides, some will say that Kindles are smaller, easier to carry around, easier to hold when lying in bed, cheaper to buy reading materials, they save trees.  *That’s a whole ‘nother environmentalist debate with pro’s and con’s on both sides, which I won’t get into today.  Perhaps…..another time*    Some people would say that paper books are on the way out, that they’ll be a thing of the past, that soon technology will be able to hold the infinite knowledge of any book ever written, rendering the originals obsolete.  I say Fah-Que! *that’s only funny if you picture it said in the voice of Peter Griffin. So just…try picturing that…ok?*

Then there are many like me who know that the hard copy paper books will never go away.  Those of us that prefer the “real” thing do so because we treasure the books.  If you’re a bookworm like me, you have a few books that are your absolute favorites, you’ve read them 20 times already, and you’ll read ‘em 20 more times before long.  These favorite books stay with you forever, you grab that copy from the shelf and hold it in your hands and remember all the times you’ve read it, and the different stages you’ve gone through in your life up until that point.  And you get this reaction so strong sometimes you can feel the energy tingling in your fingers slowly moving up your arm with each touch of the page.  Those tinglings are memories of who you were, who you knew, what you were feeling, even those of anyone else who have held that very book, even if it was just for a second.  It can be very personal unlike one little pad with a screen, who’s probably been with every book out there, downloading one book after another, then tossing it aside without another thought.  Oh and what if they download a virus along with its latest conquest?  Paper books don’t get viruses.  They…uhm…might get a little mold from time to time, but that’s nothing a good ointment can’t fix!

So I think by now you all should know that I’m a Buffy fan, and more importantly a huge Giles fan.  I mean come on, for a middle aged British Librarian turned Magic Shop owner, he’s pretty damn hot. Which I think his performance on guitar whilst singing ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ and ‘Free Bird’ will hush any doubters of my claim to his sexiness. Check this link for 'Behind Blue Eyes', well worth the watch <video provided by You Tube> Anyway the reason I bring up Giles is because he shares the same affection for the hard copy Paper Book as I do, and he’s got a lot to say on the subject…and not afraid to say it.  So I’m gonna leave you with the best Giles quotes regarding his love of books and hatred towards “idiot boxes” because this is my blog page and that’s what I want to do, and on this site it’s only what I want that matters! ; P  
*Plus maybe I’ll convert back some paper book turncoats.

Deep Thoughts by Rupert Giles

Sn1 Ep6 – I Robot, You Jane
*Note for those who don’t know the show, Jenny Calendar is Sunnydales H.S.’s computer teacher and self proclaimed Techno-Pagan.

Jenny Calendar“Well, I think you’ll be very happy here with your musty old books.”
Giles“These musty old books have a great deal more to say then any of your fabulous web pages!”

….later that day,

JC “Honestly, what is it about them (computers) that bother you so much?”
Giles“The smell”
JC“Computers don’t smell Rupert.”
Giles“I know.  Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is.  A certain flower or a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten.  Books smell musty and rich.  The knowledge gained from a computer is….it has no texture.  No context.  It’s there and then it’s gone.  If it’s to last then the getting of knowledge should be tangible.  It should be uhm…smelly.”

Sn3 Ep11 Gingerbread
*Note, in this scene, Giles books have been confiscated leaving him to <gasp> resort to using a computer to research this episodes “Big Bad”

….Giles gets frustrated

Giles <typing loudly> “Session interrupted!? Who said you could interrupt you stupid, useless fad?! <Giles glares at the screen> I said fad! And I’ll say it again.”

….Xander and Oz walk in

Xander <watching Giles> “And at that point I will become frightened.  Take heart, we found your books.”
……Giles looks up with love in his eyes
Xander- "You can put your heart back.  We can’t get them; they’re locked up in City Hall."
……Giles looks like he is about to cry <annnnd …..Scene!>

Sn5 Ep11 Triangle
*Note Buffy and Giles are discussing whether it is worth asking the Watchers Council for help against this seasons “Big Bad”

Giles“The resources that the watchers council have at its disposal……<Giles looks off, lost in his book fantasy land> I mean, the central library alone is…”<Buffy cuts him off>
Buffy“Don’t talk about the books again! You get all……and sometimes you drool”