Carri Bonner, Editorial Director

The Night the Lights Went Out in Ohio

 A little over a week ago, the lights went out in Ohio. For several people, they struggled not only with the heat but with boredom. Why? Because our society is reliant upon electricity; from food storage to climate control to entertainment, we have lost the ability to think off the grid. 

In our house, the lack of electricity was amusing at first. The children were allowed to play with flashlights, the adults talked by candlelight. However, the novelty quickly wore off as we discovered we could use car chargers to keep our phones from dying and we could somewhat return to our electronic world. The second day, we decided to get out, see what was going on and find something to do. 

We landed on the library. Our local library was closing early – they had opened for a few hours to allow patrons to check out some books, however, without power, they couldn’t offer much comfort. We found out though, that the Gahanna library was open. Never had I seen the library so incredibly busy! Not only were people using the computers, but they were browsing and discussing books. The Gahanna library has several comfortable arm chairs and seating scattered throughout and nearly every seat was filled. Granted, some of it was out of need to be inside air conditioning, however, some of it was people who were turning back to books as a form of entertainment. 

It hit me that as Kindles, Nooks and Android Apps fill our screens with the latest books, the actual library is becoming endangered. As the price of these electronic devices falls, the cost of losing such a valuable public resource is rising astronomically. How long will it be until public libraries go the way of video stores? Where the simple act of piling the family in the car and going to browse the actual bookshelves simply becomes “too much effort” and it’s easier to just stream a book, just as it has become with renting a movie? 

What will happen when the electricity goes out a few years from now, and there is no library to go to for entertainment?

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