Fiction–see cartoon

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Check out Bruce McCall’s page-sized illustration in this week’s New Yorker’s “The Reading Room: A seasonal look at books?” In it he has envisioned the wackiest library ever. If one were to squint, it would look like your run-of-the-mill vaulted reading room.  Like many a spread in Highlights, however, it is actually a Hidden Pictures Playground. I don’t want to ruin your morning bus ride fun by picking out all the incongruities–but cell phones and iPods are strewn about, and there’s funny signage like, “Bums Only,” “Books on Cell Phone,” and “Autobiography see Myspace.com.”  There is also a victim. A white haired granny (with cane) being manhandled by a head phoned security guard for–get this–READING. Beyond the physical violence to which she is subjected, she’s further alienated by a ghastly combination of technology, ambivalence from fellow library users, and architectural grandeur.

The image left me feeling a little sour. I suppose one should expect this kind of old-fashioned Libraries These Days attitude from the New Yorker. Maybe I was just dazed by the Prince article a few pages earlier…

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5 Responses to Fiction–see cartoon

  1. Tisha says:

    I can’t find this anywhere online. I’d love to look at it.

  2. pizzawhale says:

    Dude, don’t you work in a library?

  3. Tisha says:

    I am too lazy to walk over to current periodicals. I’ll look at it tomorrow at work. 🙂

  4. niamh says:

    Take another look at the illustration, and then check out the ad on the next page. It’s a full page ad for an e-book reader (I forget which, maybe Sony?), and it shows a gate area at an airport with the traditional public library sign prominently displayed. The contrast between this ad and the library illustration is pretty remarkable. In the library in the illustration, there’s no space for reading because the computers have taken over. The ad implies that, with an e-book reader, any space can be like a library. This strikes me as a pretty sad comment on the way people feel about the library as a public space – if an e-book reader can instantly transform an airport waiting area into a library, why do we need physical libraries anyway?

  5. Tisha says:

    Dude, we still have not received our copy of this!

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