Attracting new business to any area is a constant challenge, one that must balance economic incentives with the realities of the people who will work there. The best “deals” in the world will fall flat if the company is unable to convince its staff that the community is worth moving to.
Part of what makes an area attractive, according to Luis Almeida of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is its culture. In an article in the Indiana Gazette, Almeida makes the passionate case for preserving print as part of that culture.
Noting that “the greatest ideas, phrases and stories come from books,” he posits that “this statement should speak volumes to the organizations working on bringing new businesses into Indiana. Why would any new business view Indiana as great if we have no libraries or bookstores?”
Lest we discount Almeida’s opinions as the romantic rumblings of a techno-phobe, we note that he is an experiences technologist by trade, researching the responsible use of technology in education and society, according to his bio. So yes, he clearly understands the value of technology in our modern world. Yet he also knows that a balance must be struck.
“The wealth of Indiana County culture was and is founded in print media. We shouldn’t throw away our foundations for technological advancement nor should we ignore those advancements either,” he writes.
“To move Indiana County forward we need to embrace and adapt to new technologies but never should we throw away our past. The community’s prosperity, innovation and growth are and should be firmly rooted in our rich cultural past while looking forward to a brighter future.”
What, as a community, do we lose when a bookstore closes or a library shutters its doors?