Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



Boredom is one of most characteristic features of modern humans. In fact, the large amount of time available, due to the development of information systems, has made it possible to delegate various types of tasks to automatic machines. Traditionally, by boredom we mean a sort of defence mechanism used by humans against an excessive lack of stimuli which can lead to a progressive reduction in cerebral activity. Today, after the build up of systems which allow one to obtain great quantities of information from all parts of the world immediately, boredom seems to manifest itself as a symptom of “information overload”. In any case, boredom sets in when our brain undergoes an imbalance in information intake; that is, when the level of information we are confronted with and that which we can make sense out of at the same time is unequal. What can be done to counter-attack? What strategies can one use to convert moments of boredom into a time of creation and spiritual recreation? According to George Steiner, one of the solutions is the practice of “good reading”, even though environmental and psychological difficulties make life difficult for “the good reader”. The article ends with some ideas about the role that libraries can play to encourage the habit of “good reading”.