Are the books fading away?

Ajay Nadig ('13)/Eastside Staff

The library is a place full of books, multimedia resources and serves as a quiet place to study and get things done.

But do students actually take advantages of these opportunities?

            Arun Reddy, (‘13), a library regular, says that he sees the library as just a place to do homework and hang out; the thought of check out a book has never crossed his mind. When most East students think of the library, computers and relaxation comes to mind.   Very few students think of the library predominantly as a place to read.  When asked to rank computer use, relaxing, studying, and reading in terms of library usage, students unanimously chose reading as the lowest usage for the library.  Jishnu Desai, (‘13), says that the library is often too noisy to read and complains that the selection of books doesn’t reflect what all students want.  The library is not a place that prompts students to borrow books or read, but rather a place for a number of other activities.

            This reflects that the library is truly fulfilling its duty as a “multimedia center”, and that books are quickly becoming less and less relevant to students, especially for pleasure reading. Other than the usual formulaic teen lit books that cover front displays, students seem disinterested in borrowing books.  Jenny Gao, (‘14), complains that she has no time to read because her schedule is already filled with assigned readings. 

            However, others are optimistic about books being an important part of the library.  Mrs. Greenblatt, one of the librarians at CH East, is confident that though most students use technology, they still read for pleasure.  Greenblatt says that technology even bolsters book circulation; when students come to the library for any number of reasons, such as using a computer, they are more likely to check out a book. 

            Though certain students might borrow and devour books, this is a very small demographic.  Students do not see the library as a place for reading, or getting books.  They see it as a place to use the computer, relax with friends, and get some last minute work done.  The students’ shift away from printed media is inevitable, and the library should shift with students towards more technological interests.

            The library, rather than ordering the same teen lit books, should spend money in more technologically progressive ways.  The sign in the library directing students to the library’s eBooks says it all; a larger collection of eBooks would be much more beneficial.  These eBooks would be searchable, portable, and would have no return date stamped on it.  Furthermore, even though some may cite an unforgiving budget, the library should constantly seek ways to upgrade and update its computers, as well as purchasing more. Any student who has come into the library to print something and can not find an open computer can understand this need.

            Though printed media is great, and words on a screen may never compare to a physical book, the benefits to digital media are huge; digital media is much more portable, convenient, and searchable.  The library should not stop buying books, nor should students stop enjoying printed media, rather the library should focus more on the digital types of media that students want to use in their everyday lives.