Well – yes – I suppose I am, and I always have been.
As I child I haunted the school library and, while I didn’t quite read every book, I was certainly familiar with every shelf. I had a town library card at five and usually reached the limit of two fiction and one nonfiction book per visit, which was every week. (Who makes up these rules? Very frustrating to have to find something in non-fiction when there were scores of Enid Blytons yet to be consumed. This was before librarians as a tribe went on a misguided tirade against Blyton, who, single handedly, brought more children to reading as a habit than any other author of her era.)
And then – when I could afford my own books – I loved bookshops new and old, and spend hours ferreting out oddities in stores specializing in the second hand and out of print.
And of course I really like fountain pens, pencil boxes, good notebooks and stationery. And, in an early claim to administrative fame I was once the classroom ink monitor until I was displaced by the arrival in schools of a new writing technology – the biro, the ballpoint pen.
But that of course is not what the teacher meant by that title statement. Not books, pens, paper but machines, computers, laptops, digital equipment.
Sometimes these conversations remind of some I used to have around the topic of spelling and grammar back when I was an English teacher. If I didn’t assign spelling lists to be memorized, or exercises to parse sentences into grammatical pieces I would be asked, “Don’t you think spelling matters? Or don’t you think children need to write well?”
And of course spelling and usage are important. It was just my considered understanding that writing something that mattered was a better use of classroom time and a more effective way to teach those very skills.
So I’m not into technology if that means studying the parts of the computer or if it replaces time outdoors and other forms of active playing. But I am into computers if it means we have access to incomparable learning tools for collaboration, creation and communication.
There are a thousand and one reasons to love libraries, books and digital technology. And for me, most of them have to do with learning and what they enable us to do. Such as show you this sunrise as seen from the school car park this morning.