Education Letter to the Editor

Books: A Casualty of Our ‘Technopoly’

January 26, 2010 1 min read

To the Editor:

I want to second Gaby Chapman’s plea for support of school libraries (“Proficient Readers Need Good School Libraries,” Commentary, Jan. 6, 2010), but I also want to make a more general plea for the “literature-rich environment.”

Many teachers of reading at all levels will remember how we labored to create such an environment in our classrooms, and how we encouraged parents and students to surround themselves with sources of print at home. Books, magazines, newspapers, and print materials of all types are now being reduced to computer screens, whether huge plasma screens or tiny Kindles. The home library, as well as the school library, is fast becoming a relic of history.

We adult educators have aided and abetted this development, as awed as teenagers by new developments in technology. The transformation of print from its many and varied forms to its sterile electronic form is close to complete. We have robbed our children and grandchildren of the world of books, as electronic forms of print are pushed down to younger and younger children. They will know nothing else.

It is so sad, so very sad, that we have done such a poor job of controlling the trajectory we are on. To borrow Neil Postman’s term, we are in a “technopoly,” and eventually books may be another casualty.

Gillian Thorne

Storrs, Conn.

A version of this article appeared in the January 27, 2010 edition of Education Week as Books: A Casualty of Our ‘Technopoly’