Growing up library was a thing of distant imagination. Till the age of 15, many of my peers and me didn’t know what a library looked like. We had heard of it but never have been to such a thing.
But yes, we received one book every summer from the school so we can read it. And it was a lottery – you can’t choose them. So everyone got one different book. Also, if a bunch of your friends lived in the same neighbourhood then you were lucky.
Because this means you can exchange books and probably end up reading a lot more books.
But being little shy and not much into reading – I was happy with one book for 2 months of summer. On the age of 16, the teacher announced that we can pick up a book of our choice. And we were thrilled. Our first visit to the library of the school – the nerves were getting us.
Feeling excited, scared and bunch of mixed emotions – all of us entered the room which seemed full of dust. And there was a cupboard in the corner. The teacher stood there – and we were clueless as to what is happening.
She pointed at the cupboard – that’s the library. Go ahead and pick a book.
At this point in time, most of us had seen lots of movies – where the library is a place of thousands of books. And it is a goldmine for the knowledge. And here we were in the front of a single cupboard with barely enough books for all of us.
Most of them were reference books, rest were a mix of short stories, novel, fiction and cartoon comics. A fine mix but the quantity of books baffled me. I couldn’t simply choose after all my friends picked up their book. The choices were limited. Alas, I took one book and made peace with it.
Imagine a school which takes the lofty amount of money. And parents send their kids to the school to uplift the kids. But all there is rote learning and tricks to bypass the examination.
The foundational habit of reading, creativity and questioning – viz library isn’t given much importance. Mere a cupboard for the wealth of knowledge a kid can get lost in. I am sure a library should be every growing and for school of size more than 1000 kids – a cupboard isn’t enough.
Internet and Big Library
Entering in the adulthood, many things were exploding. The internet was booming, smartphones were becoming more powerful everyday.
And being in a college, I was in access to one of the big libraries I witnessed in my life. Maybe more than 80 cupboards of books. And the best part is you can opt for a book – they will try to get it in stock. So the access to knowledge was the minimum.
Yet, people weren’t reading as much. Internet had made the access like magic and yet people including me were busy in watching cat videos and horror clips.
Of course, the internet wasn’t at home. We used to go to the internet cafe and pay for it for an hour. Also smart phone was a thing of the rich. But they would give it to me – it was magical to search something. Adding the credibility to Wikipedia – most of our searches would land on Wikipedia.
Because it is an authority website on almost anything and everything. But there is more. Perspectives, opinions and deep philosophical things are something you can’t get only on Wikipedia.
Branching out is important to blogs, people and sites which with a mission to transform the culture. But still the biggest question remained – now that there is no excuse why would people still not engage as much.
Comfort and Change
Turns out it isn’t the access to information and tools that is missing now. It is the difficult task of identifying what change you want to create.
Emotion, empathy and emotion labour – the burning sensation of making something which you own. Or initiate a change which you seek. Maybe bold or subtle – not for everyone rather to a select few. Once you choose that path the vast knowledge and access is available to you.
But first you need to make that difficult decision of going out of the comfort zone and doing something which brings a desired change.
The other side of the equation is searching for right tools. What pen do you use, what is the writing software or which institution did you join.
Although it helps, it isn’t enough.
Often the thing that is missing is your desire to do it anyway. Of course once you grow, the tools will help you become more efficient. But the hard work needs to be done by you regardless – start with simple tools available to you.
Now that you are choosing your emotional labour, change and direction – where you need to make impact, it is time to find your library moment.
The heart of the matter is I can’t focus in silence. I need distraction. Not the loud in your face distraction. But subtle where many other people are in the room along with me. Doing anything it doesn’t matter as long as they don’t interrupt me.
If I am alone, I can’t focus much. And when I am in a room of people minding their own business often few talking – I get the most work done.
So that is the moment where I am the most productive – my library moment. Yours will be different and that is something you should find out.
Focusing and doing more with knowledge and information doesn’t have to be you alone in the library. If it suits you then more power to you. If not then find what it takes and do it. The idea is to open your mind for the definitions to be fluid according to you. So more things can be done by you – change more powerful and impact more lasting.
I hope you do find the fire to create change and work more in your version of library moment. Good luck.