Long live Libraries and Books at Colleges!
A M BADENHORST
The old library … described with words like lending, quiet, books, magazines, and reading. The more modern library (e-library) … described by words like technology, print, download, e-books, information, research, and access.
How do we classify our current college libraries? Are they old, modern, or non-existent?
A college library forms part of a student support system, primarily to be academic of nature and should support the programs offered at the college by providing necessary materials to meet both student and lecturing staff needs and to encourage reading.
The library as a student support system at a college needs support too. Apart from providing sufficient reading and study space, the library should have a qualified librarian in order to offer effective library services. The library should be continuously updated with books, magazines, audio-visual and other information materials that meets current and changing educational needs and to evoke lecturer and student interest. Another demand on college libraries is the fast developing digital age and the speed with which technology is changing.
Libraries at college campuses should continue to be a learning HUB not because it is only about just physical books which may or may not dissolve away because of e-books and the information that we nowadays find on the Internet.
The Internet offers only a fraction of the world’s knowledge/ information for free. College libraries stay a great resource of information in communities where the digital divide still exists. Publishers of e-Books may want students to purchase e-books; therefore it continues the college library’s mission to keep providing lecturers and students with valuable library support. It is thus crucial to promote, maintain and update libraries at our college.
The college should also think in terms of a college networked library, publishing internal materials produced by the college, and make them available through the college own document servers and websites. Students will access the networked library through the college network which will enhance distance access to the college library.
Our college libraries should become the central nerve academic support center for information.
Do not let the digital divide in South Africa becomes a content divide. Long live Libraries and Books at Colleges!