Reading to escape isolation

Isolation, with schools and libraries closed, urban traffic stopped, and all imposed rules left us with a deep sense of anguish. Both at European and national level different research centres have highlighted the consequences of isolation for people and especially for students.

As affirmed by the Statement published by the Lifelong Learning Platform, Coronavirus pandemic may also be considered a threat to education and training systems’ stability and sustainability, a red flag for the need to upskill teachers, educators and trainers, and ultimately to massively invest in education and training. We should consider also people with special needs who cannot have access to all available online tools to continue their learning path with the right and suitable media.

One of the consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is this sense of loss and confusion, and we all know, art and culture help so many people to fight anxiety and anguish.

During the lockdowns due to COVID-19, many libraries organized themselves with virtual archives, so that their users could continue to read books and access the information. In Italy, on the national Tv RaiPlay Radio, there is a channel Ad alta voce dedicated to audiobooks where popular classics for children and teenagers are read by the most famous Italian actresses and actors.

Another opportunity is offered by BookTubers, but what are they? The term of YouTuber is used with reference to youngsters, members of the YouTube community that usually promote themselves, their activities or reviews by sharing them with their followers online. The BookTuber, which is much more famous in the USA, UK and Australia than in Europe, indicates someone that has an online community on YouTube and makes video related to books, reading them or giving advice on what to read.

It seems clear that the critical situation due to the spread of Coronavirus in Europe and all over the world has created a gap within the cultural sector, but reading and researching digital tools could help contain the problem.

The National Geographic’s article “New York’s arts scene remains shut down indefinitely — can it evolve and survive?” covers this very topic and offers its readers an interesting lecture, giving them an overview on what is happening in New York: the Big Apple turned into an unusual ghost town and, the throngs of people who gummed up the thoroughfares of the theater district have been replaced with long stretches of emptiness and eerie quiet”. So there were no people around, no tourists, and many theatres were temporarily closed due to the particular situation.

Therefore, we should go on finding different ways to emancipate ourselves towards culture and – as the comedian Rebecca O’Neal said in the National Geographic’s news – “The urge to be creative and the urge to share doesn’t stop, so people are finding ways to get around it, like water through a maze”.


Featured image by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash