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By Bill Hoagland
If you are a senior citizen, do you continually see signs that the world has passed you by? I know I do—just about every day, actually.
The latest sign for me was just another reminder amongst many. This occurred recently in Chicago but did not involve a mass shooting. In fact, there was no blood shed whatsoever, but this sign was disappointing just the same.
Apparently, the Kelvyn Park High School in Chicago is undergoing some renovations this summer, including updating the school library. As a part of this renovation, a huge dumpster has been parked adjacent to the school. On August 9, Ruth Torres, a person living in the neighborhood, was strolling by the dumpster and noticed that it was filled to the brim with library books. She took a cell phone photo of the dumpster which clearly shows the contents and specifically what was being discarded. Based on the photo, it appeared that many of the books being discarded were still in excellent condition.
Many of these books were classics that we senior citizens grew up, with such as: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley; “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky; “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens; The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka; “Catch 22” by Joseph Heller; “The Odyssey” by Homer; “Great Tales and Poems” by Edgar Allan Poe; and “MacBeth”, “Hamlet”, “The Merchant of Venice” and “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare.
The dumpster was full of usable books that were “weeded out” by the faculty. I suspect that somewhere in that dumpster are copies of “1984” and “Animal Farm”. Is this dumpster full of classics being pitched because the kids refuse to read them or because someone decided these books are no longer relevant? Perhaps it is a little of both.
So here is my question: Can we see the list of new books being purchased for this school library or is that none of our business?
• Bill Hoagland has practiced law in Alton for more than 50 years, but he has spent more than 70 years hunting, fishing and generally being in the great outdoors. His wife, Annie, shares his love of the outdoor life. Much of their spare time is spent on their farm in Calhoun County. Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.