Friday, March 23, 2007

Can You?

In 8 hours, 36 minutes, 37 seconds and counting it will be Shutdown Day 2007; have you heard about this? Their web page dares you to:

"Be a part of one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the internet. The idea behind the experiment is to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate! Shutdown your computer on this day and find out! Can you survivve for 24 hours without your computer?" (, 3/23/07).

Naturally there are accompanying YouTube videos and I finally succombed and created a YouTube account so I could post one of them. Unfortunately it seems I can not embed it within this post, so it has a post of it's own directly above this one.

I am not scheduled to work this weekend, so this would not be a work issue. Not using my computer on Saturday would not be problematic, but in the interest of full disclosure, I will be out of town this weekend and my computer will be here. Aside from the novelty of not using your computer for a day, the concept itself has interesting connotations for a library. Consider how difficult it would be to find books for patrons, conduct research, find journal articles, or check out books without the computer. Not that it would be impossible, but when was the last time a reader's guide was used? I used one for the first time in my academic career last term to help a student find a book review for a title published in the late 1970's for a project. I wonder how many libraries still have an updated guide.

Sure, we could easily get by for several hours or a weekend with a bit of work and complaints from patrons. I am left to ponder this on a Friday afternoon; is it a good thing or a bad thing that we would not be able to run the library without computers for an extended period of time? Or, is it neither and just how things have evolved? A sign of the changing times.

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