Un país sin bibliotecas

El blog de The New York Review of Books nos comparte un ensayo del escritor Charles Simic acerca de una realidad muy preocupante en Estados Unidos (y que comienza a reproducirse en todas partes). En ese país, en ciudades grandes y pequeñas, están cerrando las bibliotecas públicas o reduciendo los horarios para la consulta de libros. Para Simic, el panorama es desolador. Echar abajo una biblioteca es suprimir un espacio donde uno puede encontrar, con libertad y tranquilidad, un gran número de libros; donde somos bienvenidos adultos, jóvenes y niños para entregarnos en paz al placer de la lectura. Para muchas personas que carecen de medios para comprar libros o leer-navegar durante horas en internet, una buena biblioteca pública puede ser la salvación; uno de los pocos lugares para practicar la lectura de libros. Lo fue por años para Simic: donde encontraba una biblioteca se sentía, inmediatamente, como en casa. La lenta desaparición de las bibliotecas públicas es una tragedia a la que están contribuyendo, aquí y allá, políticos y burócratas ignorantes bajo el argumento de que internet ha hecho de ellas algo enteramente prescindible. No son la misa cosa, replica Simic. Y en la revista Salon Laura Miller nos dice por qué las bibliotecas todavía importan. En fin. Les dejo un fragmento del texto A Country Without Libraries:

Wherever I found a library, I immediately felt at home. Empty or full, it pleased me just as much. A boy and a girl doing their homework and flirting; an old woman in obvious need of a pair of glasses squinting at a dog-eared issue of The New Yorker; a prematurely gray-haired man writing furiously on a yellow pad surrounded by pages of notes and several open books with some kind of graphs in them; and, the oddest among the lot, a balding elderly man in an elegant blue pinstripe suit with a carefully tied red bow tie, holding up and perusing a slim, antique-looking volume with black covers that could have been poetry, a religious tract, or something having to do with the occult. It’s the certainty that such mysteries lie in wait beyond its doors that still draws me to every library I come across.

I heard some politician say recently that closing libraries is no big deal, since the kids now have the Internet to do their reading and school work. It’s not the same thing. As any teacher who recalls the time when students still went to libraries and read books could tell him, study and reflection come more naturally to someone bent over a book. Seeing others, too, absorbed in their reading, holding up or pressing down on different-looking books, some intimidating in their appearance, others inviting, makes one a participant in one of the oldest and most noble human activities. Yes, reading books is a slow, time-consuming, and often tedious process. In comparison, surfing the Internet is a quick, distracting activity in which one searches for a specific subject, finds it, and then reads about it—often by skipping a great deal of material and absorbing only pertinent fragments. Books require patience, sustained attention to what is on the page, and frequent rest periods for reverie, so that the meaning of what we are reading settles in and makes its full impact.

How many book lovers among the young has the Internet produced? Far fewer, I suspect, than the millions libraries have turned out over the last hundred years. Their slow disappearance is a tragedy, not just for those impoverished towns and cities, but for everyone everywhere terrified at the thought of a country without libraries

About Irad Nieto

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This entry was posted in Ensayo, Libros, Revistas culturales. Bookmark the permalink.

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