The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

A new concept for old libraries

Let me start by saying that I love books: the tactile feel of the paper, the weight of the book, the smell of the printer’s ink.

The books I own are generally ones printed on the right feeling paper, with the comfortable looking typeface and the correct content.

I am content with my books having these prerequisites.

Enough of that; I’m here to write about libraries and their future, their “shift shaping,” or maybe their demise. (SHIFT SHAPING Human Intellect for Tomorrow, is an initiative to “effect change through the power of thought”).

I believe that libraries, in their past and current form should soon go the way of the “Dodo.” (The dodo bird inhabited the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, where it lived undisturbed for so long that it lost its need and ability to fly.)

These bricks and mortar: or more likely, these granite and steel edifices to political payback or ego.

These power gulping, dust gathering, union sustaining relics need to be gently led into the future. A future of technology and thoughtful use of the great inventiveness of man (women are also welcome).

We now have access to information in ways unheard of just 10 short years ago. Access that is at our fingertips, in our pockets; in living, moving color. Smart phones, iPads; touchy-feely techie tools to take us anywhere imaginable.

So why be stuck with books in their past and present form?

For many years now I have envisioned being able to go to a book designing facility, where I could find the perfect book for my taste.

A book that looked great, weighed the right amount, was printed with the correct size and style of typeface on the best paper.

All of those things that I myself deem to be a great book.

This “MyBook” would have no content, but I could take it home and via some future firewire or Wi-Fi could download any book that had been published onto the perfect pages of my “MyBook.”

I can hear the, “That’s ridiculous.” “That’s a stupid idea,” comments coming from the “Coast News” readers right now.

Hey! If someone can think of it, someone can make it.

There are companies today who have already made thin, paper-like flexible computer screens. Take it further to my “MyBook” and there’s no telling what the result may be.

Students wouldn’t have to lug great spine-numbing backpacks of heavy books around; they would require just one “MyBook.”

The content would change with the class they were taking.

One book is all anyone would ever need. If the user got tired of that style they could always trade it in for a new style with a different feel.

This basic concept can be achieved right now, today, with an iPad. Just imagine what tomorrow can bring?

No more cutting down forests to make paper pulp, to make it into paper to ship to a factory, to print books, to ship to stores so that people could drive to the store to buy another book.

Well, that’s getting a bit far out, but I believe that mankind can do anything he can put his mind to.

If the readers of this piece have the desire and the time to investigate the enormous amount of taxes it takes to sustain the state library infrastructure in its present form, they are going to be blown away with the colossal amounts of money spent. It’s in the billions.

If there are to be libraries in our future, that is: besides those national monuments to pride and self-aggrandizement like the Reagan or the Clinton or the coming Obama library; then they could be humble, comfortable, affordable buildings with desks having built-in “MyBooks,” or today they could have built-in iPads.

No offense to the publishers of today, or the librarians, or the library builders; but I feel your days are numbered.

Now back to my iPad. No! No! Where is that great book I was reading?

Ron Norris is a Valley Center resident.