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.

2 comments:

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!