literature | April 15, 2013

National Library Week: Lev Grossman On Preserving An Important Cultural Institution

"Libraries, like scriptorium which preceded them, are these huge architectural machines for helping you to concentrate," literature speaker Lev Grossman says in an interview (embedded above) with Lavin. He describes the feeling of walking through the stacks in your local library as "traversing [a] landscape of knowledge." It's an experience, he adds, that can't be had anywhere else. That's why he says we need to revel in their cultural significance. It is a sentiment that is being shared by many during National Library Week. A writer himself (a journalist and the author of The Magicians series), Grossman says that books, and the libraries that house them, are vital parts of our society even in the digital age. While he admits that there are some things which are better searched electronically—maps and encyclopedias, for example—he believes the novel is still best consumed in its physical form. An expert on the intersection of culture and new technology (Grossman is a cultural critic for TIME magazine), he explores the way that new advancements are impacting the way we consume media. In his keynotes, he shares the journey that the novel has taken throughout history, what the state of the book is today, and what role it will play in society in the future.

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science | April 14, 2013