Because Libraries

Posted Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 18:51
It’s obvious that libraries will always bring digital content
Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka reasons: “Because libraries!” Screenshot from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

In the November 19 Atlantic, Megan Garber explored a nascent meme that has been gaining traction on the web. Previously just a simple conjunction, “because” is evolving into a preposition as a way of concisely declaring reasoning that should be overwhelmingly obvious. On a more esoteric level, Garber attempts to trace the etymology of this expanded usage, citing possible development from either a shortened form of “because, hey, [insert noun here]” or the terse “because” response of a parent to a child’s 392nd “Why” in a five-minute span. Or, to cut through all of this, we could simply say because words.

Personally, I think this is one of the best new language developments to come from the interwebs [noun. a slightly sarcastic way to say internet; see also: Intertubes]. Certainly it is much more productive than YOLO [exclamation. 1. you only live once. 2. an utterance spoken just before someone seeks to remove themselves from the gene pool.] and at least it can be spoken aloud, unlike the otherwise useful “. . .” [punctuation. not a part of speech, but rather a way to indicate that the prior message was not lost in some intertube but received and read but was so lacking in merit as to be unworthy of a language-based response].

In fact, this new “because” web construction can greatly shorten our conversations about digital content in libraries:

  • Sure you can try to find the answer to that complicated reference question on Google, or you could get professional help because libraries.
  • Yes we are asking publishers to find a way to let us easily loan ebooks, because libraries.
  • No, you can’t just close down the building as we start buying more digital resources, because libraries.
  • Yeah, we don’t actually wear our hair in a bun anymore, because libraries.
  • The Common Core is going to work out just fine in schools, because libraries.

I think this should be the next-generation update to the @ your library campaign for ALA. New messaging? Because Libraries.

  • Immigrants and refugees are finding resources, and assimilating better, because libraries.
  • People are finding jobs and retraining opportunities to get back on their feet, because libraries.
  • Young children are starting school ready to read and learn, because libraries.
  • Even small businesses have a place to engage in research and development, because libraries.
  • Teachers can get what they need to teach to the Common Core, because libraries.
  • Our democracy can fight back against ignorance and fear, because libraries.

Even as everything goes digital and parts of our facilities are transformed into makerspaces, we are still relevant—because libraries.