What Students Think About Libraries

Thanks to everyone who contributed thoughts about the most commonly held myths regarding libraries. Some of them were really new to me and I think some of them really illustrate the differences between academic and public libraries. Others were more universal! I will summarize the postings on my blog as soon as I’m sure they’re all in!

While I think librarians have a good sense of the general public’s attitude towards libraries, some of their ideas may still surprise us. Here is a link to comments made by students at a university in New Zealand about the Library of 2017. http://www.flickr.com/photos/15140711@N02/show/with/1581195673/ I especially like the view that librarians will all wear foil and pointy hats! 🙂

On a more serious note, I’m sure most of you have already read this report from OCLC, which came out in 2005 (http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/Percept_pt3.pdf). But it is worth reviewing in the context of myths and misconceptions about the library. The number one “brand” that students associate with the library is still, by a large margin, “books”.

Generation Jones

Today, on the blog, Tame the Web, I read a post entitled Generation Jones by guest blogger Michael Colford. In it, he poses the question, “So what do you think? Why do some people take to emerging technology trends and ways of interacting while others do not? Do you have any thoughts?”. He is specifically referring to why some Generation X (which I am and which I’ve heard of :D) and Generation Jones (which I’ve never heard of, but which he says are those born between the mid ’50s and mid 60’s) members are quicker to embrace new technology than others. He puts forth the idea that it may have something to do with early experiences with technology and also with personal need for said technologies.

My own personal thinking on this is that it is basically a personality trait. If you are a person who likes, even thrives on, change; then you will be quick to embrace new technology. In fact, many people of this nature like new technology just because it’s “new”. I have to admit to having this sort of outlook myself. Like Michael, I am an Omnivore according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s Typology Quiz. The Annoyed Librarian refers to us as Omnibores! But then s/he is a Lackluster Veteran, so what’s her point?

So I’ll pass on his question to you. First of all, are you an enthusiastic early adopter of new technology? Omnibores, speak out! And if so, do you also find you are the sort of person who embraces change in general? If you are not fond of Web 2.0, what is your overall attitude to change in general? Talk to us Lackluster Veterans. Let’s test my theory.

Why Choose a Small College

Steven Bell pointed out this article in his blog The Kept-Up Academic Librarian. I find it very interesting on both a personal and professional level. I too am both a parent of a high school sophomore and a library administrator at a small university. I firmly believe that smaller colleges have much to offer students. Most important, as mentioned in this article, are the personal access to high quality faculty members, the opportunities to do research, and the ability to take advantage of special programs. Read the whole article and pass it on to your prospective college students!

Big-name schools aren’t always best | csmonitor.com
From where I sit, both as a parent and as an academic administrator, I say resist the reflex to overvalue the “reach” schools and consider instead the complete package of a college experience. Given the number of well-prepared PhDs in the market, many institutions have first-rate faculties who develop challenging curriculums in their fields. Look for excellent academic programs, but also for undergraduate research, student leadership development, wide-ranging international programs, and opportunities for service. And weigh not only the existence of these programs but also the participation rates of students.