SPENDING time with the Friends of the Launceston Mechanics Institute was an insight into a bygone era of Tasmanian history.
It was interesting to hear the story behind the institute, its collection, then demise and the situation now – the need for a new home of what remains.
Although I might be biased because of the industry in which I work, books and the printed word has always been of interest and a collection of this kind – now recognised as nationally significant – should be respected, protected and held for future generations.
The institute started in 1842, for the general improvement of the community and well before the University of Tasmania was established in 1890.
It would only be fitting that as the institute once played an important role in Launceston, that it be protected and accessible to future generations.
A dedicated space at the proposed new university campus at Inveresk would be a fitting place for the collection as the institution continues as a place of education.
We already understand the value in items of past historical significance and the perception of what people then once thought 2015 would be like.
Those around in the 1980s loved the fuss of the Back to the Future movies that showed us all driving cars like the Delorean that was fueled by food scraps.
In 1910 French artist Villemard drew a series of pictures of what he thought the world would look like in 2000 – it included firemen with wings saving people from the second floor of a burning home, electric trains and video-telegraphy.
While firemen still don’t have wings, electric trains and video-conferencing are commonplace.
Maybe these things we call books will one day die out or just become exorbitantly expensive.
They may well appear in museums as collector items – this printed word on this thing called paper, made from this commodity called trees.
Imagine felling trees to make pulp, to make paper, they may one day say.
We can only imagine what a future generation, say 100 years from now, will think of books.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.