Saturday April 20, 2019

Exclusive: Is Online Reading Culture Eliminating the habit of going to Libraries?

“Libraries are screwed,” said Eli Neiburger, a Michigan library director

0
//
Old Books in Libraries. Pixabay

New Delhi, Apr 20, 2017: Of the many institutions suffering through the world’s metamorphosis from analogue to digital (real to virtual, offline to online), few are as beleaguered as the bedrock of our culture, the public library. Budgets are being slashed by state and local governments.

Even the best libraries are cutting staff and hours. Their information desks are seemingly superseded by Google, their encyclopedias are gathering dust. And their defining product, the one that lines their shelves, now arrives in the form of a weightless doppelgänger that doesn’t require shelves.

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

Their information desks are seemingly superseded by Google, their encyclopedias are gathering dust. And their defining product, the one that lines their shelves, now arrives in the form of a weightless doppelgänger that doesn’t require shelves.

In the technocracy, all the world’s information comes to us on screens—desk, pocket, wrist, goggles—and no one trudges through wind and rain with library card in hand to find a single worn object.

“Libraries are screwed,” said Eli Neiburger, a Michigan library director, in a much-quoted presentation at a Library Journal conference in 2010. “Libraries are screwed because we are invested in the codex, and the codex has become outmoded.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

Gone are the days when avid readers used to sleep holding a book to their chest. Everyone wants a plug point near their bed to charge their tabs instead of a shelf to keep the books properly.

Age old is the saying that “Books are the best companion of man” but with the constantly advancing technology it seems like kindles and other gadgets are wiping away the books from the scene. No wonder, house to vast knowledge: libraries can be seen as empty spaces as the no. of book readers are reducing exponentially.

According to a survey conducted by Global Trade Talk, no. of e- readers across the world has increased to 12.8 million in 2010 and the no. has been rising ever since which evidently means a reduction in people reading the hard copy.70.8 million tablets and 16.6 million e-readers were shipped in 2012. At the end of 2015, eMarketer estimated that there are 83.4 million e-reader users in the US, with the number predicted to grow by 3.5% in 2016.

This is certainly having an adverse impact on libraries and the traditional libraries are just becoming places for “free wi-fi” where people sit and stare at their gadgets.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

However, a segment of people is still sticking to the books and has this to say regarding the latest online reading trend: Deepak Sharma, a student of Masscomedia in New Delhi said, ”Online studies are undoubtedly shattering libraries, it not only consumes eyes but also UV rays have negative impact on brain. While library gives one opportunity to act as a discoverer, connects with information and people manually and better mental exercise. Study hours, sitting postures, the incredible process of finding the desired material everything is getting a hit due to online reading and lost library culture.”

Mrs. Archana Sihag, a schoolteacher by profession says,” students are readily attracted to tabs and do not want to carry “heavy” books but it doesn’t matter how much you try, you can’t replace a book with a kindle. The feeling you get while reading a book cannot be matched with a kindle or any other means of online reading.”

Needless to say, online reading is certainly gaining popularity but people are still keeping the books around and there is a hope that this tradition will not die.

– by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram Twitter @Nikitatayal6

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organisation. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our unbiased journalism. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.

Next Story

‘Asterix’ French Bestseller Comics, Now Available For Hindi Readers

"We talk of warfare, historical hostilities, cultural chauvinism. The comic has strategies, cultural superiority and talking down to the Germanic tribes or Romans. This kind of a comic has a universal resonance.

0
book
"There are so many cultural references. You have to find equivalent Hindi words, terminology, proverbs, jokes, songs. There is Latin used as well," Gupta, who also translated 'The Adventures of Tintin', said. Pixabay

By: Siddhi Jain

Launched in 1959, the French comic classic ‘Asterix’ boasts having sold an unmatched 370 million copies in more than 100 languages. After capturing the global comics market, the series is now available for Hindi readers – after five years of painstaking translation.

The Hindi translation of the first four albums of the ‘Asterix’ series was released here on Thursday by French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler, who called the comics’ total of 33 albums “a monument of French pop culture” and “opportunity to learn not French, but about the French (people).”

The series follows the adventures of a group of Gallic villagers as they resist Roman occupation in 50 BCE. It was originally written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo.

Published by Om Books International, the “albums”, as they are called, were co-translated by Dipa Chaudhuri and Puneet Gupta beginning from 2014. Sharing that translating each album took at least 6-8 months, the task was “not merely a word-to-word translation”.

books
Besides finding the right word, we had to find the right length, because there were speech bubbles.  Pixaba

“There are so many cultural references. You have to find equivalent Hindi words, terminology, proverbs, jokes, songs. There is Latin used as well,” Gupta, who also translated ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, said.

Explained his French-speaking co-translator Chaudhuri: “There was a huge translator’s block when we started. It wasn’t just any translation. These were graphic novels and the graphic form imposes a lot of restrictions as to how you can translate.

“Besides finding the right word, we had to find the right length, because there were speech bubbles. The Hindi script practically is much longer than the French. There are matras on the top, side and bottom, whereas in French they are only on top. We couldn’t be waffling with the translation,” Chaudhuri added.

What the translators also has to be mindful of is that each language has its own aural space and one size does not fit all.

“While you’d hit a person with a ‘Paff’ in French, it’ll be ‘Bang’ in English and ‘Thak’ in Hindi,” Gupta expalined, adding that they identified a 100 sounds in four of the 33 albums.

The French equivalent of the India’s iconic ‘Chacha Chaudhary’ comics or ‘Amar Chitra Katha’, ‘Asterix’ is a journey into French mindsets and is widely translated and adapted into animated films, video games, live action films, and even theme parks.

The translators shared an interesting anecdote while preparing the Hindi comic.

“They’ve used the (military) terms decurion and centurion. We couldn’t have used ‘major’ or ‘colonel’. So we had to come up with ‘dashpati’ and ‘shatpati’ for commanders of 10 and 100 soldiers,” Gupta said.

poor
The series follows the adventures of a group of Gallic villagers as they resist Roman occupation in 50 BCE. It was originally written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo. Pixabay

“We called up people in the armed forces and asked them how they’d say this.”

Asked if they came across similarities between the Indo-French cultures, Chaudhari said that while there are culturally distinct experiences, human experiences remain the same.

“We talk of warfare, historical hostilities, cultural chauvinism. The comic has strategies, cultural superiority and talking down to the Germanic tribes or Romans. This kind of a comic has a universal resonance.

Also Read: Plan To Tackle Climate Change Requires Mention in India’s Electoral Politics Agenda

Added Gupta: “Human emotions of fear, hatred, faith, satire and greed transcend time and culture. All these emotions are depicted here and one can correlate.”

The translation rights were acquired by publisher Ajay Mago from the French Hachette Livre after over 5 years of negotiations.

The first four albums are priced at Rs 295 and are available online at Amazon and Flipkart, as also offline. (IANS)