For many students at Florida A&M University (FAMU), technology is central to the educational process. Cell phones, tablets, and laptops have become necessary components to academic success, all of which allow students unlimited access to a range of information and topics.
This age of computers has left many to question the usefulness of standard libraries on college campuses. Are standard libraries growing obsolete?
Coleman Library, built in 1948 on the campus of FAMU, is no stranger to these concerns. Brenda Wright, the Associate Dean of Libraries at FAMU, says libraries on the campus of FAMU are working to increase student awareness of library resources through information literacy as well as strategic marketing and promotion.
“One of the 2016-2017 objectives, which was met, was to ensure that 70% of students could find library resources appropriate to their needs. After attending information literacy sessions, over 80% of students could complete this objective. Another objective was to increase graduate student’s awareness of library resources and services” Wright said.
According to Wright, the libraries also worked with an intern from the School of Business and Industry (SBI) to promote resources, which resulted in a 27% increase in usage.
Coleman Library had 1,898,817 visits by users taking advantage of the library’s physical facilities in 2016-2017. Faculty enter the library to place books on reserve for their classes but the majority of those using the library’s physical spaces are students. These students use both individual and group study rooms, computers, headphones, circulating books and reserve books.
Students like Bruson Ovil and Rahul Nair stated that they prefer to take advantage of the library’s secluded rooms and quiet environment more than any other resource in the physical library.
Ovil, a graduate student from West Palm Beach, Florida, believes libraries have the potential to be self-sufficient and are becoming obsolete in that area, but the buildings themselves are definitely needed.
“They’re useful for people who use them as a study area,” said Orvil.
Nair, a junior political science student from Miami, visits the library 2-3 times a week. He believes that while students can access information online from anywhere, being in a library reduces distractions and allows students to stay motivated and focus on their work.
“There’s a certain aura to a library,” said Nair.
While libraries on the campus of FAMU will definitely continue to compete with the ever growing and easily accessible information the internet provides, they will not become obsolete anytime soon. Many students value Coleman Library for the focused environment it provides them.
Students may prefer to use online databases and e-books as a means of gathering information, but the library will always provide something the internet never will: an environment that promotes peace and excellence.