Special Reports

U.S. University Libraries Go Digital To Keep Up With Students' Needs [Video]


The libraries at U.S. universities and colleges are going through digitization. Shelves, books along with other physical materials are slowly being replaced with digital ones. This is said to be part of the higher education institutions' efforts to keep up with the students today.

Libraries have always been helping students learn about anything under the sun. The Los Angeles Times reported that libraries are 4,000 years old but today's digital revolution is changing up the way they are being used on college campuses.

From UC Berkeley to Harvard University, libraries are undergoing major renovations. Shelves are being removed and books are being stashed while their duplicates are being discarded to make way for open study spaces. Moreover, budgets are being shifted away from print to bring focus on digital materials.

80,000 books were removed from UC Santa Cruz's Science and Engineering Library last summer. This sparked uproar among faculty. They complained that they had not been consulted on which books should have been discarded and which ones should have been saved.

According to Study International, students have positive feedback on this new era of libraries. Curtis T. McMullen, a math professor at Harvard, described the change as "the wave of the future."

He said that the idea of doing research in a library is "becoming archaic" compared to Googling things on the Internet. He did admit that people may not be accessing the best information on Google but that they are used to finding things online.

Richard Montgomery, a UC Santa Cruz maths professor, disagreed. He described walking to a space that used to be a library only to find that it's empty as "horrible" and "like death."

More and more universities and colleges are reconstructing libraries to free up more space. UCLA has reconfigured an entire floor to fit in more open seating, group study rooms and collaboration pods.

Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the U.S., conducted a nearly $7 million renovation to their library, U.S. News noted. The school will be having its second major construction project, which is part of a $100 million campaign.

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