For term 17EW5 (spring term) I am taking English Composition II; which means more writing will be done. Writing of the academic persuasion of course. Speaking (well, writing) of persuasion, our term project is a persuasion essay on a current topic in our field of study. I’m an English major…English Language & Literature to be precise. That can account for a billion or so topics though so I chose to focus on the degree after this one; which is Library Sciences. Here’s what I had to say for my first journal entry (requirement: select two topics to choose from for the essay, both must be re searchable, and debatable).
Possible persuasive essay topic # 1: E-books: The effect of e-books on public libraries’ resources and funding.
There is no doubt that the advent of electronic publications (e-books) and the Internet have had an effect on the literary world. From the downfall of the small neighborhood bookstore to often unauthorized file sharing, e-books have turned our traditional methods of reading on its ear. But are we really helping society by providing literary works at convenience or hindering it? Authors and scholars alike are trying to keep up with the demand for convenient reading of current works as well as digitizing long-publicized works and even out of print works. In doing so we risk sharing works without proper monetary compensation to the author, and copyright infringement. In addition, and more importantly, we may also be risking the spread of knowledge. Public libraries depend on government funding to acquire their resources. With the cost of keeping up with the digital age we are adding in the cost of new technology along with the books; which now must be purchased in both print and electronic form. In the end this monetary limitation diminishes the quantity of resources.
With many families, such as mine when I was a child, dependent solely on public library resources for their studies we have potentially deteriorated the spread of knowledge to the families that cannot afford to buy books or have access to computers. One could argue that libraries should not purchase e-books in order to have those funds available for more print resources and computer equipment. Can they keep up with the demand for a particular title though by doing so? How long would the next J.K. Rowling book be on one person’s request for the book borrowing? What about those copies not being returned? Loss and damage to printed books are all problems libraries have had to face since their inception. Maintaining e-books; which cannot be damaged or loss, can save the library in the long rung.
Possible persuasive essay topic # 2: Banned Books: Censorship of art and free speech or a protection of innocence?
The cliché “words can hurt” is true, as is the cliché that “the truth hurts”, but we must also remember that “the truth can set you free”. It’s because of the latter phrase that I’ve always questioned the banning of books. Literature is considered a branch of art known as the humanities; one in which we as humans express our views of the times in which we live, our beliefs, politics, social injustices, and our fears. By banning books we are letting the select few determine which aspects of life we can and do express. In addition, this form of censorship limits future knowledge of the struggles of our own species. Worst of all, we limit free speech; the most basic of human rights. There are those that argue that books should be banned from schools to protect children from ideas such as profanity, sex, violence, racial themes/slurs, and “alternative” lifestyles. As a mother of three children, ages 6, 9, and 13, I completely understand the desire to protect the innocent from those things. However, as a mother it is also my job to prepare those children for the reality of society at large, and that “ain’t pretty” as they say. Many of the well-known banned books have life lessons children need to learn, and they should learn them…at the appropriate age for the subject matter. Recently our eldest read “Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain, a book banned due to racial slurs and immoral character portrayals. At the time of publication the book was banned for the same reasons, people didn’t want blacks and Native American’s portrayed the way they were in the story. However, how they are written is how they were treated. Should the lesson that people should not be treated as inferior to each other be dismissed because it’s not a nice subject matter? No. It should be taught. By giving him this book to read his eyes were opened a bit more to an injustice that he was already seeing in reality, it gave him a comfortable means to approach the subject with his parents. That is the benefit to literature, when presented at the appropriate stage, it teaches the truth of life.
Audience, Reasons, and Why:
As a life-long lover of books my chosen path is a degree in English Language & Literature with the eventual certification and degree of a Masters of Library Sciences. I feel very passionately about books and their availability. As a child I remember spending hours reading even after having just spent all day at school and half my evening on homework. One of my favorite family outings was always the trip to our local library; so much so that I can “remember” the smell of the entry way and both the upstairs children’s library and the “adult” library downstairs. Our family couldn’t afford all the latest gadgets. By the time computers started to become more common in households we still couldn’t afford to rent one. The public library is where we studied, where we went for books, and where we fostered our imaginations with free community children’s classes. Those circumstances exists for many families these days as well which makes the funding of public libraries (and schools) such a dire need to a community. That need and my love of books is why I am so passionate about literature. It is also why I am so interested in how the popularity of e-books has been affecting libraries’ ability to keep up with technology and book demands.
I believe that outside of my classmates research into either of the topics should be (or could be) presented to government officials. The government chooses how much to spend on education and public services…both of which libraries provide. By limiting funding to libraries we limit resources to the poor, which affects communities which affects the population on the whole. As a society we are one, and we are only “as strong as [our] weakest link”.
(p.s. The library of my childhood smelled like knowledge and love and fun.)
That’s what I had to say about that! ;)-
Enjoy the slideshow of random images inspired by my babbling some of which made me smile reaaaaaally wide. Leave me a comment with your favorite banned book & Author!