Irish Papist

Irish Papist
Me and General Robert Lee

Monday, March 6, 2017

"This is Where you Should Be Spending Most of your Time in College"

I just heard a student "peer mentor" saying this to the students on his tour.

I like it! I am a pretty pessimistic person in some ways and I've more or less accepted that libraries are on the way out. So it's nice to hear something like that.

Actually, one nice thing about working in a library is that everybody in the surrounding organisation values what you do. There was a front page story in the student newspaper recently decrying a decline in staff numbers over the last few years. It's a hell of a lot better than, "I'd sack the lof 'em if it was up to me..."

7 comments:

  1. Séamus (Australia)March 6, 2017 at 4:59 AM

    Without claiming to know much about it, it's hard to imagine the same quality of research with just on-line reading and no library.
    As a matter of interest, a large library has just been constructed in the last couple of years here, (some of it though is conference rooms etc.) by the city of Perth council(can be viewed on their website) which is semi-remarkable inasmuch as the State-government Library is in the city anyway, so the council wasn't really obliged to provide another.
    I have a niece who loves even the smell of old books in a library. I have to confess preferring the smell of new ones in a store.

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    1. I like both!

      I guess we tend to be self-critical of our own work. I can easily imagine libraries being replaced by internet portals soon. After all, everything can be digitised anyway. Libraries are trying to provide new services and that may be key to their survival.

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  2. I don't frequent second-hand book shops myself, but one lady from church is quite a expert and always buys something if she can put a person to it, me included, and one thing I notice is how many books are discharged from libraries.
    It might be a silly suggestion on my part-of course libraries would have space issues- but can libraries possibly be making themselves less relevant by putting time limits on their material? If patrons, whether academic or casual, can see mostly recent stuff and can't get rare 'gems' also then could they very well find the internet just as useful? I know that UWA library has nearly yellowing volumes,I was in there a while ago with a friend(not sure what we were doing there or if we were supposed to be there, but this friend is another story again)

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    1. I don't know about less relevant but I certainly think it's a shame to junk a lot of the older stuff. The problem is that, if you find a 'rare gem' in a library, it may be JUST what you were looking for but it's likely nobody has looked for it twenty years and won't look for it in another twenty years. So it's very easy for a weed-happy librarian to get rid of all such items.

      The other thing is that students (in our case) aren't really interested in a collection full of rare gems-- their priorities are more study spaces, more plug holes, more group study rooms. And I don't blame them, they have their own work to do. So it's inevitable, I think, that more and more printed material will be discarded.

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  3. My source of reading at the moment is a presbytery collection, perhaps discarded for other reasons-most seem to be from religious houses that have more-than- likely ceased to exist.

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  4. I have much fondness for libraries. Most of my formal education happened at my university's campus library. Another thing that helped me intellectually grow was conversing with my professor's during their office hours. It came to a point where another professor jokingly said that they should designate office hours strictly for me. I viewed the classroom as a daily "check up" on the readings. The real weightlifting happened in the stillness of the library and talks with my professors.

    During my childhood my mother enrolled me in my local library's reading program. It was the usual read X number of books and you get certain prizes. The more books you read the more extravagant the prizes (e.g., thicker coloring book, 'cool' pencils with glitter on them etc.). The token system tends to work with children!

    I now use the library to read and learn about whatever subject my soul and brain years for. With the good fortune of being able to borrow from universities, local city libraries as well as suburban (long story) the library system has been a wonderful gift. It has made me into a lifelong student.

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    1. Nice use of "weighlifting there!".

      I'm glad to hear libraries have played such a central role in your life, and an ongoing one. I love to hear stories like that and it does give me hope for their future. I also like the idea of you hanging out in professors' offices. I would never have been bold enough for that!

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