Re: RE: TV Turn-Off

HIRSCH Bonnie C (
Tue, 2 Feb 1999 09:48:36 -0800 (PST)

This entry is offered in the spirit of mediation, not criticism. You know,
if you academic media librarians met our youth librarians before this
discussion, you would probably like each other a lot and find many ideas in
common. And it seems to me that you may have some blinders on about this
particular issue, assuming that all public librarians have the same narrow
view of TV turn-off as the woman who posted the first inquiry.
I hope you can accept that most librarians are intelligent,
thoughtful people who are interested in encouraging other people to be
thoughtful about the ways they use their time. Now I am making an assumption
about academic librarians when I suggest that you are dealing with a
sub-set of the population which is more oriented toward learning and active
thinking. Granted that the population which uses the public libary is a
similar sub-set, but children who fall in that sub-set sometimes need
encouragement and reinforcement from us when all their peers talk about is
sports and TV programs. So TV Turn-Off is just one of the ways we can give
them encouragement. If you could see a list of the hundreds of different
programs we offer through the Youth department, you would probably find
several programs you'd enjoy yourselves. We invite you to come visit.
Here a couple of replies from our librarians, but I'm not going to
forward any more of the discussion to either group. I think we are just
talking about different parts of the elephant.

Jeff says:
1. We have never done anything "preachy" for TV Turnoff Week. Nobody is
made to feel guilty for not participating. This is an experiment in life we
offer, nothing more. Many people report that the experiment is successful.
I have not yet had anyone say that they have regretted participating.

2. Church/cult analogy: not especially applicable. This program is about
the AMOUNT of time people spend watching TV, not its content. I don't care
if you watch National Geographic all day--if you're watching all day,
there's something wrong. If you spent twenty-eight hours a week going to
church services--of any kind--most people would probably agree that you have
a problem.

3. We include computer and video games in our turnoff. The idea is to get
out from behind that screen and do something different.

4. When a TCI cable public relations person phoned me to complain about the
turnoff one year, I invited her to bring someone to do a presentation on
"responsible television viewing." The answer was--and still is--"we'll get
back to you on that."

In the meantime, I see no objection to continuing to offer our little
one-week experiment. It's like the materials in our collection--if it
doesn't appeal to you, don't do it.
Oksana said: Rob, for you to assume that the teenagers you work with are
devoid of any
critical thought in terms of the television they watch, is not giving them
enough credit.

and Rob replies: Huh? I wouldn't presume to judge the quality of anyones
thought. Teenagers or otherwise. I thought what I was saying was it is
about how one spends one's time. We all get a finite amount and I don't
want to spend a disproportionate amount of mine "watching" anything
representing an experience instead of "having" an experience. I'm sure you
will agree that I'm not thinking about this very hard at all, I resent time
spent in front of this screen as well, I'm just shooting my mouth off.
Bonnie will attest that I do this early and often in our library. rob

Bonnie Hirsch
Eugene (Oregon) Public Library