My wife is currently in a Master’s program, so we needed to go to a local state university library this weekend. They have recently built a new library, so we were both excited to see it, especially given that we both really like libraries. They’ve recently suffered some damage to their lower floors, but I still thought it would be an enjoyable afternoon.
I had forgotten to bring any work to do, but I thought that I could easily find a book or magazine to read. It turns out that I was mistaken. Many of the books (which were on the lower floors for some reason) were damaged, and I couldn’t find any area where magazines had ever been.
The building seems to be much more of a meeting area for students, not a library in the sense that I would think of it. Granted, students do research differently these days; I know this fact. Cicero once famously said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul,” and this building feels soulless. I would think we could find a middle ground between providing them space to meet and do work and providing books and magazines for those students and faculty who still seek them out (and there are more of us than one would think). Perhaps that would encourage some of those meeting students to use a book or two when they’re doing their research.