The time when an encyclopedia gave us knowledge and much more

If I remember correctly, we had several sets of encyclopedias in our house growing up.

My mom and dad always encouraged us to read books when we were kids – and what better than reading from a source of knowledge?

When we complained of being bored they would say “get a book” or “read a book” which mum made sure were readily available but there was also the library just down the road.

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Demolition of terraced housing in Upperthorpe, Sheffield, 18 February 1982

As a result, I very rarely moaned at my parents because I knew exactly what they would say, or something even worse, like “tidy up your room.” That’s why I kept silent about boredom.

In the 1970s, with many abandoned houses in the Pitsmoor area to explore and impromptu football matches to play, there was always something to do before reading.

The bad weather was the main thing that held me back with the books, but it would have to be really bad.

We dove into these books over the years learning about many topics, especially the flags and capitals of cities around the world, which was easier when we had the Soviet Union, as well as the location of various other country.

off-road cars

I got snippets of information on many topics, which I could remember from a pub quiz or The Chase, but that seems to be about it.

These books were great learning tools and perfect for school projects.

But I must admit that these books were also useful for building blocks, while building forts and dens in our room.

They also served as elaborate off-road driving lessons for my matchbox cars – hope my mom doesn’t read this column.

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Encyclopedia Britannica

The book I found had a British history written on the spine in gold type, it is about 50 years old.

A book like this has been rendered nearly obsolete by Google and other search engines, and it got me thinking about what I should do with it.

I haven’t watched it in decades and probably only kept it for sentiment.

I don’t think a book that’s 50 years old should be thrown away, even if it’s rarely or should I say never used.

It made me think morbidly of my children who will have to empty our house in 30 or 40 years, if I’m lucky.

This book will be almost 100 years old by then, which would surely make it even harder for my children to throw it away.

Will it be worth anything? Probably not, but it would be a 100 year old book – almost.

What if in the future the internet ceased to exist – a big if – and we went back to books, and simpler methods of getting information and communication like putting pen to paper, phone calls to real people and not artificial intelligence, and face-to-face interaction-talking to people?

How would the standard of service be reset if most of the services we now have access to via the internet reverted to face-to-face service and people had to talk to each other.

How would these faceless companies operate if they had to speak directly to their customers?

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