Stuck on I70 just past St. Louis, I came upon a threshold. At this threshold — which varies from individual, surely — people begin to NEED desperately to have information. We sat here on the road and I saw cars pass by slowly coming to a halt, some driving past on the shoulder to get ahead of the rest. Next, people began to stretch their necks out their window trying to see what was going on, grasp a little visual info. Then, people are out of their cars altogether, attempting ever more vigorously to obtain an idea, even — a why, if not a how — for the traffic jam. Observing this chain of events made me all the more positive about the issue in Fahrenheit that the question of why is more valuable, cuts deeper than how. Further proof in my roadway experience was that even when the traffic picked up (quickly even) there wasn’t anything left of the cause for our jam. No cars on the shoulder, no emergency vehicles. This left me frustrated. I was actually more frustrated not knowing why we were held up than I was at the fact of that I was held up. And I wondered if anyone else was too.
I also wonder about the whole cell phone phenomenon, People walk around, drive around, sit around with it glued to the ear. Worse, are the lack of privacy and the addition of noise pollution that these devices cause (not to mention a driving distraction). I wonder how this has affected other libraries. Increased cell phone usage, especially among college students, has affected policy at my library in a couple of ways. We have taken out all payphones in the building (maybe one is left, not sure). In addition, a proposal to have a courtesy phone at the circulation or reference desk was not approved for the reason that most students carry cell phones. This not only potentially deprives those who do not have a cell phone of equal access to information, but in the case of the payphone, it deprives the library of a source of income (although I do not know how significant). Another problem, is that many libraries have policies that require patrons to turn their cell phones off. How does this all fit with freedom of access issues we are constantly discussing? How does the value of quiet of the library remain relevant? What are the implications of these sacrifices.