Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hypothetical Situation



Let's do a little role-playing here. Imagine that you are the new director of your favorite local library. One day you are walking through the stacks and you start to see that you really have quite a few dusty old books on the shelves. You are positive that a hand-written copy of the Declaration of Independence certainly could be sewn into the dust jacket of one in there. So what do you do? It would be nice to have all that shelf space for shiny new books. New books that have cutting edge discussions of new thought and technology.

You walk right over to the first offending piece of literature you see - the most certainly dated Windows 3.1 Manual. Who the heck uses this anymore? In an executive decision, you decide to practice your jump shot. You lob that ancient grimoire into the recycling bin - right where it belongs! Nothing but net!

So in a sweeping act of tremendous personal hubris you have declared all discussion of Windows 3.1 over!? Hmmm... Actually, the library is exactly where that book should be. Operating systems have moved on and most everyone has thrown away all their old manuals. So what happens if a question arises concerning Windows 3.1? It is not outside the realm of possibility. What if some guy has a grandmother who has files stored on an old computer, but there is problem with said computer running Windows 3.1. Its been so long that this guy has forgotten the more arcane details of 3.1. What does he do? Call Microsoft? Berate Granny for not upgrading to Linux? Take it to a shop? Hope the manual is for sale on Amazon? No, the first place he should think to look should be the local library. It is the perfect place for an occasionally needed piece of literature. So, yes those old manuals do have a purpose in the library.

Yes, some of those books may be old, but they do have their place. Now yes, I am sure that the case can be made on some that they are simply not needed, but like in the American justice system you are innocent until being proven obsolete.

Just a little food for thought.

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