Library services out of touch, students disengaged
There is a disconnect between what the library offers and the things that students know are available to them.
Part of the reason is because the adults at the library know the library well and are well-versed in all of the programs available. Students, however, only really turn to the library in the face of impending projects or when they are in need of a quiet space.
This is a sad state of affairs. The library has so many resources to offer and it often feels like students are unaware of their existence.
This is not to say that the library as a whole is underused-in fact on any Wednesday night it appears quite the opposite, with every table and study room filled. It is the perfect place for groups to meet to work on projects or to find one of the few quiet corners on campus to focus on that forty page paper due in an hour.
Yet it is still an underused resource. The library is so much more than a building. On top of the 400,000 books in the library, students have access to countless others through Summit and Illiad.
Students, however, would rather find information online than walk that hugely long distance to the library to check out a print article that could be the source. Which is not to downplay the usefulness of the 120 subscription databases that the library offers, as they too are extremely helpful.
However, students will almost always choose an online source over a print one, but that is not always the better choice.
Another one of the apparently underused sources is the Liaison Librarians. A group of freshmen estimated that maybe twenty percent of their year knew about Liaison Librarians.
The Liaison Librarians are one of the greatest resources the library offers. They have the cure for that horrible feeling when a paper is due in a couple of days and you do not have the faintest idea what you should write about.
Students, get to know these people. They are your greatest advantage in the battle of students versus teachers.
The library can be a home away from dorm. One of the ways in which the library attempts to make students feel at home is with a hot water tap in the basement, perfect for refilling a mug of tea. Unfortunately our campus of hipsters probably will not feel at home until there is a café, which is not necessarily a bad idea.
I hope that this article does not come across as a personal attack on the library administration. If anything, I hope to convey that it is the fault of the students that so many resources go to waste.
Students know that the librarians work very hard to make an atmosphere that promotes academic success, and we appreciate it greatly.
Anything that can draw more students to the academic center of Puget Sound can start the ball rolling and get students involved and more aware of the things the library offers.