Emily Yoffe writing at Slate.com describes how our impulse to Google, Tweet and go on Facebook is rooted in our biological need to seek:
"For humans, this desire to search is not just about fulfilling our physical needs. Panksepp says that humans can get just as excited about abstract rewards as tangible ones. He says that when we get thrilled about the world of ideas, about making intellectual connections, about divining meaning, it is the seeking circuits that are firing...our constant Internet scrolling is remodeling our brains to make it nearly impossible for us to give sustained attention to a long piece of writing. Like the lab rats, we keep hitting "enter" to get our next fix...if humans are seeking machines, we've now created the perfect machines to allow us to seek endlessly."
This is one more reason why the traditional library -- composed of actual books and journals -- is more necessary than ever. Genuine contemplation and synthesis are best achieved through the sort of sustained, focused study that books have given us for centuries. Furthermore, the dedicated physical space of the library can foster this contemplation through the opportunity to collaborate with others, enabled by all the tools -- virtual and printed -- at the library's disposal.
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We would greatly appreciate it if you would complete our recruitment survey. Volunteers will be contacted with more information shortly.