Monday, February 25, 2002

Young people really want to enter the media studies at Volda College. And I mean really. I mean the kind of want that's like an obsession, feeling that their lives will be ruined if they don't meet our very high demands for entrance.

What spurred this post was that I was just interrupted by a mother who called to ask about what books her daughter should refer to, writing a high-school paper on children and advertising. She wanted me to find the books in question, copy the relevant pages and fax them home to the girl, because the girl has to write her paper this afternoon. She felt I should be interested in this, because her daughter really wants to meet the demands for studying at our department in Volda.

I am not sure yet if I am offended (What do they think I am, their personal secretary?) or flattered that people think a lecturer at a College would have such perfect control of everything in the body of academic literature that I can just reach out and grab the nearest book (which of course is always on my bookshelf) and then generously spread my knowledge to the world.

What I did was almost as much fun as having such perfect control. I reached out and typed "children youths advertising" into google, hit search, and had page on page of good hits. At least hits good enough to satisfy most high-school teachers. Why did I spend even that much time on a request like this? Norway is a small country, there are places here with no libraries and no bookshops, where young people grow up without the option which my daughter has of using the generous, spacious and modern library of our college doing research for her homework.

But youths in the far corners of Norway have access to the net. Teaching them and particularly their parents to use the net as a way to search for information is a small thing to do for the pay-check I am picking up.

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