Sometimes I read a story in the newspaper that just makes me heave a big sigh and go awwww. Today was one of them.
The story was about how the publisher of Encyclopaedia Britannica is ceasing production of the printed version of its reference books. It makes total sense really. In this digital age everyone scrolls through web sites instead of flipping through paper pages for the answers to their questions. The world has pretty much passed them by.
But that wasn't the case when I was growing up. We had the junior set...smaller books, fewer subjects and obviously a lower price. Still, it was great to be able to head to the bookcase and learn about something unfamiliar in the days before Internet connections put all that at your fingertips. And it was a godsend when we reached the point in school where school writing projects required us to cite sources. No need to go "all the way" to the library (six blocks max) when the answer was right in the living room. And better still if you had a friend who's parents had purchased World Book; you could trade info and each have two sources.
In some ways I'm a little surprised we had the encyclopedias. It's not that my parents were adverse to learned; that certainly wasn't the case. It's just that the books were sold by door-to-door salesmen and I can remember plenty of occasions where we either didn't answer when someone who appeared to be such a salesman came knocking or if we did, it was barely opened and only long enough for a polite We're not interested. Apparently that was a common reception as Encyclopaedia Britannica stopped its door-to-door sales quite some time ago.
It's not too late to thumb through the pages and read about some obscure topic, confident that you're getting accurate information...well, digitally anyway. The entire contents of Britannica.com are available free for one week starting March 14. I think I'll go research something...just for old time's sake.