Library vs. Google

by MW Cook

Okay, so imagine you are a high-school student.  A big research project is coming up.  How are you going to get the five pounds of pure information you need to write this thing?


Same situtation, but fifteen years ago?


Let’s face it.  With Google you can get all your research done in an hour.  There’s no need to drive to a library, search endless shelves or even stand up.  So why, oh why, would you ever want to go to a library?  Is Google a better source for information?  Despite the nearly infinite resources and the radical ease, I honestly think that the library is a better place to get what you need.  Here’s why:

  • With Google, you require absolutely no work to get what you want.  This may sound like a good thing, but it isn’t.  Without the mental discipline you get from searching through books for what you need, you are not going to have the ability to properly examine and discern and sift through it.  You’ll end up copying and pasting.  You’ll get decent marks, but you won’t learn the stuff as well as you could have.
  • With Google, your natural tendencies toward inaction are encouraged.  We already live in a society of radical ease.  Google approves of that.
  • With Google, it is more difficult to sift between quality articles and hacks.  Any idiot can make a website.  Heck, even I have one.  And you don’t want to read anything I write on physics.
  • Google encourages isolation.  At the library you are forced to see people and become a part of the community.  And community, believe it or not, is a good thing.  If Google is your best friend, though, you need never leave the house.
  • The quality of Internet articles are generally much lower than published books.  Not always, of course.  But it’s harder to get in print than it is to get on the web.  Again, look at me.
  • Libraries will lend you real books for free.  Google lets you watch silly YouTube videos for free.  Which one do you think is better and (in the long run) more fun?

I love the library.  Toronto has about a billion wonderful branches.  I really hope they don’t go away any time soon.

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