One of the things I love most about the internet is the ability to look up anything without the sting of judgement, and without having to spell it for the librarian.
This is a massive shift in paradigm.
When I was a kid… and it wasn’t half as long ago as this piece of information is going to make it sound… the sex ed books were kept behind the librarian’s desk. Because they talked about sperm. Now, it’s .0256 seconds to any kind of answers you could possibly want.
I can pretty well guarantee you that librarian didn’t have any gifs of auto-fellatio hiding behind her desk. Ditto penile bifurcation. And that video on mummies in New Guinea? Uhm, no.
She would have called your parents before the question was even out of your mouth.
Not that she’d expect it to do any good.
Forbidden knowledge was a thing, back then.
The books the library didn’t buy. The words you couldn’t say. The things your mother might tell you about, when you’re older.
There were gatekeepers.
There was guidance.
And there was community. The connections between the person looking for information and the person who had it. “Go ask–” “That’s in the adult section.” “Try Le Video.”
I love the information, and the spontaneity of the internet.
I also love the old guy at my local bookstore who spent most of my childhood trying to convince me that he sold pre-owned books, not used books.(He thought he was funny. Or maybe that I was.) Back then, I couldn’t figure out the difference. Now… to be frank, I’d still rather have a used book than a pre-owned book.
Something a little beaten up–or at least something that opens to the last owner’s favorite parts–with comments and jokes in the margins. Something that reminds me of the last person who had it. Something that was actually used. That is, read.