“Don’t you forget about me”

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Sarah Crippes

Apple Valley Media Center’s print resources on display

In the 1985 iconic movie “The Breakfast Club,” the library is the common ground where five high school students glean a deeper understanding of each other. While Apple Valley’s Media Center may not unite all social cliques in common defiance of the enemy authority or provide these life lessons to the same extent, it certainly is a location that gathers a lot of attention within the school.

The Media Center has recently seen the addition of new collaborative furniture, a power charging station, and new HD televisions. Considering all of these renovations and improvements, have we forgotten about our print resources?

With a generation that relies on cell phones, laptops, iPads and (far too often) Wikipedia for our information, there has been a looming perception: the increase in technology has caused the print resources to lag behind.

Senior Kylie Maxfield feels that the increase in technology today is severely reducing the use of books within AVHS. “People do not utilize the paper resources within Apple Valley High School. I know that I never check out books unless a teacher requires it, because everything I need can be found online.”

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Apple Valley students using computers in Media Center

Carter Grupp, a senior at Apple Valley High School, also noted, “With the increasing expansion and incorporation of technology within our lives, students at AVHS find resources such as books less valuable than online sources.”

These trends raise some serious concerns about the amount of reading that students do.

Junior Teresa Howard said, “This generation is definitely more reliant on technology and it is concerning.  Less kids are interested in reading.”

Senior Colin Kleopfer is optimistic but also wary of a decline in reading that Howard fears. “It’s not concerning…as long as people are still reading.”

However, Grupp feels that a perceived decline in print usage is not something to be afraid of. Rather, it is something that we can embrace. “It is 2016 and old methods have been discarded because they are just not as efficient.” This is the way of the future in Grupp’s eyes: reading is still happening, just in a new way.

One high school near AVHS recently embraced these changing times. Benilde-St. Margaret’s did away with all of their print resources in an effort to promote finding information electronically. They also decided to get rid of their 5,000 books because the school saw little reason to duplicate what the surrounding public libraries had to offer.

But before we start calling for a drastic removal of Apple Valley’s extensive book collection, is this perceived decline in print usage actually a concern in the eyes of Apple Valley staff?

Although Apple Valley High School reading coordinator Dr. Scott Voss feels that a decline in print media usage is hard to gauge, he discourages reliance on technology when it impacts the desire to read. “I do worry that long form narrative texts (like books) require more effort and concentration. There are times when I get concerned that we are not reading as deeply as what we should.”

English teacher Theresa Kuhn fears that reliance on technology can do damage beyond just superficial reading. It may impact writing just as much as it affects reading. “I have seen a lot of writing in decline as of late.  The writing I see that is troublesome is the ‘texting jargon.’”  

Students and staff alike agree that reliance on technology rather than print sources is concerning when it decreases reading and writing, but surprisingly many believe our generation is actually reading more than ever.

According to a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2014, millennials are more likely to have read a book in the past year than those age 30 or over.

Media Center's central location within Apple Valley High School
Sarah Crippes
Media Center’s central location within Apple Valley High School

Voss echoes that statistic: “When we consider the volume of text that teens read today, as a whole they simply are surrounded by it all day long.”

This increase in overall reading is hopefully what the future holds in a society so reliant on technology for information.

Alongside the Media Center’s alignment towards the future of technology, the library features traditional books offering exceptional information. Whether you prefer to browse the ever-expanding internet, or “enjoy the beauty of a good book with a spine,” as Kuhn mentions, the important thing is that you are reading.

The Media Center may not be the source of the new life lesson of acceptance like in “The Breakfast Club,” but it certainly is a central area where people come to read. Whether on the digital Wikipedia, or the lengthy hard copy encyclopedias, Apple Valley students are taking in all that is offered in the world around us.