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  • Writer's pictureAli Amhal

Are Books Obsolete?

At Access Language Center in Biougra, students form literature circles, all read the same book, and then discuss and analyze it together.

by Ali Amhal

“I can’t read a book; I easily get bored and tired. I think books have become obsolete. Why should I read a whole book to get the same thing I can get thanks to a two- or three-minute video on the internet?”

I often get this prompt answer from students.

Obviously, due to technology and more specifically social media and smart phones, people in general and youngsters in particular are not willing to sacrifice their precious time on reading a book that might be a turning point in their lives; they prefer playing games, watching anime, or scrolling up and down their screens. This is pathetic. Unfortunately, people today tend to forget that all the inventions they possess and enjoy now would not have been made if their inventors were mindlessly using social media all day long. On the contrary, they were spending hours and hours reading, analyzing, and discussing books. The founder of Facebook as an example of a successful person has even launched campaigns on Facebook to encourage people to read.

We at Access Language Center in collaboration with Morocco Library Project and Oliveseed Foundation based in California, USA, and other NGOs and schools here in Biougra, Morocco, have decided to help people realize that reading books has become an absolute necessity more than ever before. We would like our teenagers to know that social media should never be viewed as a substitute for books.

Helping people reconcile with this habit of reading requires time and effort; it cannot be achieved overnight. However, with a publicly available library in multiple languages and with activities such as conversation clubs and literature circles, we will surely get there. Thus, our students and library members at Access Language Center will definitely have more chances to realize their dreams through their love for books. The cradle of civilization, human personal development, and everything positive depend on it.

Yet sadly, we should not expect such limited initiatives in both time and space to make a big difference. Honestly, the world now has become in desperate need of genuine commitment and enormous projects to repair what social media have ruined in less than a decade.


About the Author

Ali Amhal is an English teacher at Ibn Sina High School in Biougra, in the south of Morocco; a long-time member of the Morocco Library Project (MLP) management team; and international liaison to the Oliveseed board.

In addition to teaching high school students, in 2020 Ali founded Access Language Center in Biougra, a community center providing a library, literature circles, and language classes to people of all ages. He is also president of the local village NGO Ait Oumanouz Association for Development & Cooperation, providing support for rural Amazigh women and preserving and planting argan trees.


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