Monday, February 18, 2008

Dumb and Dumber

I keep running into examples of "dumbing down." If you've set foot in a library recently, you have probably noticed the abundance of "junk" books targeting youth. It has gotten to the point that we've actually started limiting visits to the library. There is so much there that is worthless or harmful.

Well, the library system has hit a new low.

Libraries Turn Up the Noise, Draw Teens

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Libraries in southeastern Michigan are turning the page on peace and quiet.

Video game events at public libraries are drawing crowds of teens, including about 100 competing monthly at "Guitar Hero" at the Rochester Hills Public Library.

What a time waster. I found the reasoning behind these events the same that drives the dumbing down trend at schools.

"Getting teens to come to the library is right up there with getting them to go to church: It's not exactly the first place they want to go," Christine Lind Hage, library director, told the Detroit Free Press for a story Sunday.

How do the teens benefit from going to the library if they are not reading good books at the library?

"It's a big social event," said Stephanie Jaczkowski, 17. "I've met a lot of friends there, and they're really good friends."

The Canton Public Library six months ago began offering games and holding monthly tournaments for Nintendo Wii bowling and "Super Smash Bros."

It comes back to how you measure success. They are measuring success by the number of teens who visit the library, as if standing in a building with a lot of books will somehow lead to a love of reading by osmosis. That is as useful as sleeping with a dictionary under you pillow to increase your vocabulary.

Tags : libary, video games, teens, education, homeschooling , home school,


CK Rock said...

Just adding my two cents:

"Junk" Books - I wasn't really into reading all that much until I discovered the Choose Your Own Adventure series. These might be considered "junk" by some standards (come to think of it, most of what I read for fun in elementary/middle school could be considered "junk"). However they got me interested in reading and I've been a reader ever since. I'm glad that kids are reading Japanese comics by the boatload--at least they're reading.

Janine Cate said...

There is junk and there is fluff. "Choose Your Own Adventure" may be on the fluff side, but it NOT the dark-hyper-sexualized-teen-garbage that now fills shelves at the library.

All reading is not created equal. Unless those Japanese comic books lead to something more profound, it is just entertainment. A little entertainment is not a bad thing. It becomes a bad thing if it doesn't leave time or build skills that can be utilized for more substantial endeavors.

We've noticed a negative influence from comic book reading. Themes like "adults don't understand," "parents are stupid," and "teen saves the day by disobeying parents" rub off onto the reader.

We've got really good kids and we are involved parents, and yet we are shocked at how quickly junk exposure changes attitudes and leads to misbehavior.

Alasandra said...

Our library receives funding by the number of people who walk through the door.

Once a year they have to do a head count breaking their patrons down into categories black, white, other, male, female, child.

The more minorities that come through their door the more money they get.

Note it doesn't matter if they even look at a book. All you have to do is walk in the door to be counted.

Janine Cate said...

>The more minorities that come through their door the more money they get.

That is sooo strange.