Libraries go digital

Community college libraries are going digital, reports Community College Week.

Bronx Community College‘s new library offers a central study area, known as the “information commons,” with 42 Apple Macs and 158 Dell PCs.  Study rooms for small groups ring the commons.

Community college libraries today must assume a dual identity as a home to both traditional printed resources and contemporary information technology. In the North Hall and Library, that duality plays out on the second floor. There, on one end, is the circulation desk, where students can check out books that are part of the library’s vast collection. At the other end is the New Media Desk, where students can order videos to be streamed to screens in the group study rooms. IPads, laptops, cameras, and calculators can also be checked out. Students in some courses can borrow a laptop for an entire semester.

Students can access “multimedia educational resources 24/7 from any location,” notes Teresa McManus, BCC’s chief librarian.

College librarians worry about competing with Google, reports Community College Week. But Kenley Neufeld, library director at Santa Barbara City College is confident librarians will change with the times. “We are not going to be replaced by technology,” said Neufeld.

“The role of the librarian is to help students think critically about the resources that are available. Scholarly inquiry takes more than a Google search. We can guide them to other resources. We’re an indispensable part of the learning environment, and I think we can position ourselves to be a key player in the future.”

Libraries aren’t reserved for solitary study any more, reports CC Week. Modern libraries provide spaces for students to work on group projects. Some have cafes.

On a tour of the New York Public Library last month,  I saw only one person with a book in the reading room. He wasn’t reading it. He was sleeping on it.