by Sam Prychodko, guest writer
If you visited the Library during National Library Week, you probably saw their new message board. Initiated by Library Technical Service Assistant Teresa Imfeld, the board served as a non-digital space where students and library staff could discuss.
Though there already exists a hybrid of paper and electronic library collections, some staff have considered moving toward more electronic media.
The library staff opened the message board discussion on April 8 by asking students if they believed print resources were integral to the library.
In the discussion Library Director Chris Nugent presented practical information about e-books and electronic databases. “The library cannot house a larger collection than it houses now,” said Nugent.
Nugent also pointed out other limitations of printed materials.
Overall, there was a vehement and resounding “no” to the idea of switching the library wholesale from printed materials to electronic collections. Many said that the more use of electronics would be bad for the environment and hurt their eyes.
The third question, “What is your vision of the 21st century academic library?” was taken very sarcastically by some students; one commenter even suggested hovercrafts.
Nugent noted that, despite the resistance expressed on the message board, Warren Wilson does not–and will not–stand apart from emerging technologies. Cell phones and laptops took their time trickling into Wilson society, but now, it is hard to find a student who does not have one or the other. In a similar way, Nooks, iPads and other tablets are moving forward. Soon, new students may expect to be able to purchase textbooks right on their devices.
“Those of us working in the library at Warren Wilson College have to reflect community while leading it into the future,” says Nugent.
While already responsible for organizing and purchasing access to online databases, it appears that the library is not moving in a large-scale-electronic direction, at least not anytime soon. According to Nugent, the library staff does not “want to move too fast.”
Ultimately, Nugent is pleased with the discussion on the message board from April 8 to 14; “I’m happy they’re posted during National Library Week,” she said.