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.
Do Colleges Need a Consumer’s Report Card? asks career Marty Nemko in The Atlantic. He’s seeking feedback on his nutrition label for higher education.
If government can require “every package of taco-flavored Doritos (to) tell you the percentage of the FDA recommended daily allowance of vitamin A to zinc is in each ounce,” colleges should provide information to help prospective students make what “may be our life’s most expensive (and important?) purchase,” Nemko writes.
The data might include: the percentage of freshmen that graduate in four years, the progress they make in reading and critical thinking, the employment rate and earnings for recent graduates by degree, and (as the Occupiers would approve) the actual four-year cost of school, including cash and loan financial aid, broken down by family income and assets.
There are plenty of college guides out there and “more statistics, facts, and opinions are a mere Google-search away,” Nemko concedes. Would a standardized college report card just add to the information overload?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking feedback on a Know Before You Owe site for student loans.
Before students borrow, they should understand the costs and risks of the loans they will use to help pay for the school of their choice.
Financial aid offers can be difficult to understand and compare. The Department of Education plans to publish a model financial aid letter that will help students evaluate their options.
You can look at CFPB’s “thought-starter” for the new form and express your ideas for improving financial aid information.
Where are Q&A sites with information about community colleges? AAS Degrees list 25 useful sites from around the country.