This article appeared in the April 23, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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College students protest in favor of ‘book culture’

Christopher Millette/Erie Times-News/AP
Papuri Magno, 9, foreground, and her brother Hiraya Magno, 6, run between the bookshelves at the newly renovated Nash Library at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, following a grand reopening ceremony Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.
Laurent Belsie
Senior Economics Writer

You know the trend:

• Roughly a third of high school seniors have not read a book (even an e-book) for pleasure in a year.

• Instead, the average 12th-grader spends some six hours a day texting, internet browsing, and using social media.

All this points to a dismal future for the printed page. Or maybe not.

Earlier this year, 1,000 Yale University students hosted a “browse-in” in defense of the printed word. They were protesting a plan to reduce the stacks of 150,000 books in the undergraduate library to 40,000 volumes and relocate the rest to another campus library.

The plan would make room for more seating for a growing student population. But the protestors countered that the renovations would temporarily shutter the library and limit the opportunity to browse.

Remember browsing the stacks of a library for a school project? The point wasn’t just to find a specific book. It was about finding the volumes around that book, which might contain new ideas or opposing views. Navigating those shelves was an act of discovery.

I can’t predict the future of r-books (as in real books you hold in your hands). But three cheers to those Yale students who have at least forced people to think hard about their future.

Now, for your own reading pleasure, you can scroll down or print (!) our stories on Sri Lanka terror, a controversial census question, and novel ways to boost student counseling.

This article appeared in the April 23, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 04/23 edition
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