Sam Weller, associate professor of creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and authorized biographer of Ray Bradbury, recently published an article in The Chicago Tribune that got me thinking: “Without school librarians, we’re on a dystopian path.”
In his commentary he expresses his concern about cuts in staff and funding for school libraries. During a visit to rural Shawnee, Oklahoma, he found out that their school library received no funding whatsoever for new library books in 2016. In Wichita, Kansas, certified librarians were being replaced by clerks. The Kansas Department of Education has reduced the number of certified librarians in their state by 31%. The number of school librarians in the Chicago public school system has dropped from 454 to 160.
Mr. Weller reminds the reader that Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 depicts a dystopian society that no longer values reading and education.
Words mean things, and I realize the word “limitations” has negative connotations. We think of a limitation as a restriction, a drawback. Our culture places enormous value on ignoring and overcoming limitations; an attitude that has resulted in some amazing discoveries and astonishing progress.
However, this mindset isn’t applicable across the board. Limits are often natural and helpful; they keep us safe from harm, morally, physically, and spiritually.
We are limited by the 24-hour day, our income, the available resources where we live. God is aware of these limits, and beating the air because we are not content with our state is fruitless.
So why do we so often set expectations for ourselves that would render Martha Stewart catatonic?