Internet Apocalypse 2013: I survived.

Image credit: Holly Storrow

The 7th Floor Stacks at Ohio University’s Alden Library. Image credit: Holly Storrow

For the last three days, I’ve been without the one thing that is arguably the most important aspect of a college student’s life.

Internet.

No Facebook. No Twitter. No cute animal videos on YouTube.

It was bad, people. Internet Apocalypse 2013 took me to my limits. I had to go where no Storrow has ever gone before. I had to spend my time in the library.

Okay, so that’s not actually a bad thing. And yes, many members of my family enjoy spending time in libraries. Once upon a time, I even enjoyed perusing the seemingly endless aisles of thought and imagination captured on thousands of pages.

But enjoying a library for it’s reading pleasures and fighting for a computer in order to access the internet is not the same thing. And those first few hours spent gathering information for articles about TV pilots and researching where in my university’s seven levels of knowledge were the exact books I needed for my research paper on war reporting throughout history were not happy ones.

I felt like my soul was getting sucked out through my eyeballs and forced into the monstrous glow of industrial light bulbs overhead.

But when I stepped into The Stacks for the first time this semester, (because if I haven’t made it obvious, I avoid the library like the plague) I remember what I loved about exploring my hometown’s old library when I was a child. The warm smell of aged paper and leather greeted me like an old friend. My fingers ran across the cracked spines of Vietnam War memoirs and Civil War photography books and I could feel the love that the authors had poured into their pages. Seeking out the call numbers I needed became a treasure hunt of letters and numbers all pointing me to Ernie Pyle and Gloria Emerson and the rest of the people waiting to tell me their life stories.

So in the end, yes, as a child of the technological revolution I felt as though I was drowning in a sea of boredom without my social networking opportunities. But as the book lover, it felt nice to explore what felt like a familiar home without my phone pinging the arrival of an email or wall post. And sure, the internet can probably tell me the same things these books will in half the time, but it can never tell me the tale quite like these yellow pages.

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