Comments on "The WEB vs The Shelf"

Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology / California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0400
(530-898-6220; 530-898-6192; FAX: 530-898-6824)
18 March 1998 [1]

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Member of the faculty at California State University, Chico, since August 1973. For more information, please see

"It is not true that we only have one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish." S.I. Hayakawa



A reader (and author): my wife and I are members of the "Chico Friends of The Library" and have published more than fifty scholarly articles (please see As a "hobby" I collect "books" of quotations.

"The only way to do all the things you'd like to do is read." Tom Clancy



What is "literacy" in the first place? Literacy, defined as "pertaining to or of the nature of books and writing, esp. those classed as literature," (with "literature" being defined as "writing regarded as having permanent worth through its intrinsic excellence") is not only the "written word" in books, but also the "written word" as transmitted through the electronic medium; and, therefore, there is such a thing as "computer literacy" (since the "electronic word" can now be transmitted to "us" through the computer).



Keep a "balance" of books and computers! Libraries, and individuals, need to purchase books and computers; and society, citizens of the community, should support libraries! The future of literacy and technology will be interesting, and I cite the 1978 Physics Nobel Laureate, Arno Penzias:

"Throughout the ages, technology has helped shape the facts we humans think about. As our knowledge has increased, so have our tools and the ways we employ them. Today, technology is so complex and pervasive that it dominates much of the environment in which human beings live and work. For this reason, I feel we need a better understanding of how technology affects the ways in which we now create and explore ideas." Arno Penzias, 1989, Ideas And Information: Managing In A High-Tech World (NY: Simon & Schuster), page 179-180.



"The Internet will not totally replace schools and universities [and libraries!], but these traditional institutions must transform themselves if they are to prepare tomorrow's students for lifelong learning." Joseph Pelton, 1996, Cyberlearning vs. the University: An Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Object, The Futurist (Vol. 30, No. 6, December), pages 17-20, page 17.

[1] © For "The WEB vs The Shelf" Public Forum sponsored by the Butte County Literacy Council, CAPE (the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics), KCHO, and KIXE (Northstate Public Television) at California State University, Chico, Chico, California. Some of the above information is elaborated upon in a January 1998 web publication readily available to all who have access to "the web" (hence the importance of the Internet):'98_Millennium_Paper.html. To return to the top of this page, please click here.

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Copyright © 1998 Charles F. Urbanowicz

Anthropology Department, CSU, Chico
18 March 1998 by CFU