Do you remember how far it was to your local library?
The mission of the New York Public Library is to inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen our communities.
Our library was a 15-minute drive to town, as I grew up on a dairy farm in an unincorporated township in Wisconsin, but in reality it was about 300 feet away because I grew up living next to my grandmother and she was always willing to go for a library visit if the whim hit beyond our regular Friday-morning library excursions.
In the meantime, I had also grown up in a household that held three separate sets of encyclopedias: Collier’s, World Book and Encyclopedia Britannica.
Granted the Collier’s was more for university students, and the maroon-bound World Book Encyclopedia set was from 1943. And the Britannica, well, they just felt weird, so they were stored under my brother’s bed. They are probably still there.
A library, a set of encyclopedias, even the dictionary that was assembled from free sections given out at the supermarket every shopping week, was a grouping of accessible information that not only provided the specifics of what I was interested in, but also contained hundreds of thousands of other pages of information that I had to pass or peruse on the way to info I was searching for.
The library, the sets of encyclopedias, the put-together dictionaries all represented the forefront of knowledge and information of the day, while also presenting obstacle information to leap over while trying to find the alphabetic listing you were looking for.
I ask again, how many steps to your library?
In this modern and progressive world, your library has been substituted by the Internet and World-Wide Web, the convenience of hundreds of thousands of pages of information at your fingertips that also fits in your back pocket. A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, if you will, but is it accessible to all?
More and more information is presented as visual media, documentaries, Facebook channels, YouTube channels, Vimeo.
How much of that information is accurately closed or open captioned?
If our library is now in our back pocket, but the information in the library relies on hearing and contextual understanding of speech, how big is your library if you are hard-of-hearing, Deaf or new to the English language?
Without accurate closed/open captioning, the answer will be none of it.
History shouldn’t be a mystery, as Chuck D. said, and it is up to us, the experienced, the capable, the brothers and sisters of society, to make it accessible.
In society, it is expected that everyone should do their part to the best of their ability to make society great, to make all individuals equal, to make all information into knowledge by spreading it uniformly to all individuals.
Inaccurate or inaccessible information does not make us great. It makes us polarized into the haves and have-nots, the Sneetches and the Star-Belly Sneetches.
We implore you to do your part in making our society great, equal and accessible.
In fact, we expect you to do your part.
Request and expect 100% accurate closed and open captions on all visual and audible media because history shouldn’t be a mystery and it is up to us brothers and sisters to work it out.