Are university libraries necessary in our digitally motivated world?

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During my first year of university — back when the world was COVID-19 free — I frequently went to the library on campus to study or find books for my projects and assignments. I would check out physical copies of books and bring them back to my dorm room to find information on my topic. 

The library at Wilfrid Laurier University has been shut down ever since the pandemic began, but very recently, they have started to slowly open it back up. Students are now allowed to book times to study at desks or use computers, and checking out books is now back open.! This means we can access physical copies of books yet again. 

With the world transitioning towards more digital methods, libraries in post-secondary institutions seem to be at risk. Each year it seems more and more materials are found online.

 Our textbooks, novels for classes, and readings that our professors assign come from online databases; however, keeping physical copies of books, as well as having a library on campus is essential to our learning and experiences in life. 

Walking into the library and hearing the peaceful sounds of keyboards clicking and people writing notes is part of the experience. Many students and faculty use this space for studying, working on assignments, and perhaps even as a place to relax between classes. Some people may not have a quiet place to study at home, or if their dorm room and residence are loud, the library is a quiet space for people to utilize. 

Imagine life without libraries -— where would we go to study, to escape the noise , or do our assignments? There would be no more buildings on campus where the atmosphere would be peaceful and quiet, with people working hard on their studies. 

I could not imagine never checking out a book or textbook ever again. Physical copies of books are so much better than reading on our screens. We are on our phones, laptops, and iPads constantly in our everyday lives. Adding the idea of only digital books would not be ideal, not to mention the strain it has on our bodies. 

When I have an online textbook for a course, I find it much harder to read in comparison to reading from a book. There are such a great number of books in our library, with so much knowledge and information to be found. 

In essence, libraries are essential to post-secondary education and their campuses. They are a place of learning, reading, and act as a calming environment. 

Not only are they essential to post-secondary education, but they are also a major part of anyone’s life, at any period of their life. I remember going to the library in kindergarten and picking out a book, then having to return it after two weeks were up. 

We must keep these buildings alive and continue to read and learn from physical copies of books, as these are important aspects within academics and in life.  I don’t know about you, but I look forward to studying in the library, and checking out books on campus again! 


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