Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Interesting WSJ article about university libraries.

A friend sent me this link. I guess if no one reads then a Starbucks is more important then a library? Hopefully, our Morris Library redo measures up.


Jonathan Bean said...

"As journals digitize and projects undertaken by Google Inc. and others promise to put more material online, big research libraries are moving old printed volumes into off-site storage facilities, rapidly increasing their electronic offerings and retraining their employees to help students keep up with all the changes. Ten years ago, Yale University spent $300,000 to access 10 electronic databases, according to Ann Okerson, associate university librarian. In its most recent fiscal year, Yale spent $5 million on 900 separate databases. "We are seeing mass digitization," Ms. Okerson said."

I can't speak to nonhumanities fields but I just ditched 15-year runs of five journals because they are all searchable by database (all the way back to the 1860s, actually!). However, I still get the current issue and save articles I like in a paper archive. I also put all my assigned articles on e-reserve -- a real time and costsaver for students (not that they appreciate it).

The e-book still isn't with us. Who could sit at a computer all day and read? I'm a geek but I'm not there yet. Sony has a new e-reader but the reviews are still tepid.

However, SIUC did miss the boat on this: We should have off-located our books and built a "learning center" (I do NOT like that they have become loud "social centers" where it is "hard to get things done" -- what is the point of that?).

Reading a lot is still key to becoming a well-educated, well-informed individual. The words I now have to explain to students keeps growing. Know reading, know vocabulary. I'd feel embarrassed for some of these otherwise nice students when they converse with the really well-educated who know the meaning of "verbose" (example: This blogger is longwinded or verbose...).

P.S.: Library circulation is WAY down this year over last. Can't blame that on digitization.

Saluki87 said...

I do NOT like that they have become loud "social centers"

I agree. When did that happen and are other university libraries like that? Last year I was at Morris trying to study on the 4th floor and two people were having a conversation as if they were at home on the couch. I asked them to keep it down and they looked at me like I was from another planet. Then they said I was on the wrong floor if I expected quiet and that there were special quiet areas. Funny, I thought it was the other way around in a library!