TV Free Week

Gary Handman (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 08:33:06 -0800

Here's my comment to the publib listserv re TV Free Week:

>I'd like to take a moment to comment on the idea, forwarded on this
>list, regarding holding a "TV Free Week" in the library. It is with
>both amusement and chagrin that I note the stubborn persistence of the
>view of media as a sort of literacy anti-Christ in certain quarters of
>the library profession. The fact is--simply put--we are living in a
>largely post-literate culture: the majority of the world's people
>currently receive their information and entertainment fix, not through
>print, but through the moving image on large and small screens. The
>sooner libraries take note of the ways in which their clients have
>been completely and irrevocably rewired by electronic media, the more
>intelligently they
>can meet their users' needs and plan for an intelligent future.
>Now, this is by no means a jab at the continuing cultural importance
>or centrality of print. Promoting literacy and the joys of reading
>will always be our central mission. This is also not to say that
>there isn't a profoundly large amount of noise and schlock out there
>on the airwaves and in the video stores. The fact remains, however,
>that there is also an exploding universe of amazing and unique visions
>being laid down on video tape and film--a world of insight and wonder
>that clearly parallels the universe of print.
>It seems to me that it's not our job to favor one medium over the
>other, or to put forward the idea that film and TV have somehow
>corrupted readers and learners. Our job is to select and promote the
>best stuff available, regardless of format. What's more important, we
>have an obligation to help build a community of informed and critical
>readers AND viewers who can make up their own minds about the best fit for
>their particular
>intellectual and amusement needs.
>Gary Handman
>Media Resources Center
>Moffitt Library
>UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
>"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is
>it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld