The library is a place filled with books of knowledge and somewhere quiet to sit and get lost in fantasy and information. The Joseph Stauffer Library at Queen’s University is definitely no exception. A skylight lets light flow throughout the room, making it a pleasant place to spend your time. But all that could change if books are replaced by computers.
Bonnie, a librarian who is busily working at Stauffer, has a strong opinion against a $4.5 million budget cut, which would result in more online journals replacing her beloved books. Her main concern is that the students using these journals are not receiving all of the proper information. Bonnie fears this because some of the online journals could possibly be incomplete, and students could run the risk of not always being able to access the journal site online. She says that if the students use the real books, everything will be available to them on the library shelves, without having to worry about missing anything online. Another Stauffer librarian fears that if they try to stop the expansion of technology portion of the library, it will ruin the attendance of students because they depend on it so much. Since the budget cut in late January, the online journals have become a major part of Stauffer’s collection.
Meredith Dault, a graduate student in Cultural Studies, has other thoughts about the online journals used by students. Dault uses the digital journals more than books, and she is pleased that everything is easy to access from her home, on her computer. Dault says that when she’s reading through an article or a book that she can mark it up digitally, which is a very good accessory that cannot be used on the real books in the library.
“I would hate to see physical books disappear, but the technology is definitely useful” says Dault. She also says that from an environmental point-of-view, online journals save a lot of paper and trees. These digital sites also have access to books and articles Stauffer Library may not have in their collection. And so the age old debate continues…