Taking a break from my current project, I ran across the Banned Books Project. As I count myself an avid reader I shudder at the thought of censorship and book burning.
Knowledge and learning coupled with curiosity are the reasons that mankind has attained this heightened state of communication we take for granted. If those stories which tease our interest, tug at those innermost emotions and challenge our most basic concepts are removed then we will stutter, trip and fail.
If those same stories are not made available to all of our citizens, then we run the risk of losing or slowing future advancement. The public domain exists for a reason. Authors, artists and companies are entitled to profits from their work. But, it is important that the knowledge and ideas embodied within that work becomes a part of our larger society, to form a stronger foundation for future work.
This is where the Internet Bookmobile comes in. They take public domain works and print them out for students with the hope of opening people’s eyes to the possibilities. As mentioned in the article “The Bookmobile’s message, in essence, is that these are books we can put in the hands of children, through schools, and we can do it at a very low cost. (The material cost for a black and white book with color cover is $1.)”
Libraries could offer so many more works if they were able to publish these books for the cost of materials and time. Schools in poorer areas could provide a wider perspective of the world and a deeper understanding of society and history than is currently available to their areas.
And people might actually understand that The Three Musketeers is more than a candy bar.
Time to do a bit of research around Austin to see if there are any campaigns or projects in the works. If anyone is attempting to get one of these systems up and going I’ll help as best I can.