From books to browsers

Sep 292010
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

Surrounded by heavy volumes and notebooks, the college student would sit under the library’s fluorescent lights, sifting through encyclopedias, frantically searching for facts for a paper hours before it was due.

Among thousands of books, it was a tireless game of hit-or-miss, crossing your fingers for the right author and volume with all the right information. Though sometimes inefficient, that process was one tried and true throughout the years.
But in an ever-changing technological era, it seems those days may be fading away.

Laptops and wireless Internet have entered the apartments and dorm rooms of thousands, and with them students have found answers to their questions , not in the aging pages of books, but in high-speed connections from the comfort of their beds or desks.

Databases have made library archives cumbersome, almost obsolete. Google left the Dewey Decimal system in the past. Sources are only a click away, and it appears Morgan Library has noticed this change in research tactics.

Loan rates have dwindled, dust settling on the library’s shelves. In response, those in charge have decided to move 15 – 20 percent of books to the basement or a storage facility on Lake Street, available only upon request.

This number of books could stretch 12.5 miles, the distance from Hartshorn Health Center to the Centerra mall in Loveland. That number of resources is daunting, but will students notice with the light from their monitors shining in their eyes?

Talks of eReaders and Kindles have staked claims in Morgan as a possibility for the library’s future, and so it would seem the importance of books is on decline.
Novel artifacts from a slower time, books will always be around. But instant gratification from technology has won this round, leaving print’s future a little more uncertain on this campus and in libraries nationwide.

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