Letters to the Editor
It seems like there were many people upset about that article that ran in the New York Times last week. Read the letters to the editor here.
My letter wasn\'t published, but for those who care to read it, read on...To whom it may concern,
I read the article, \"Choosing Quick Hits Over the Card Catalog\", by Lori Leibovich twice. I did this because I wanted to really get the gist of what she was trying to relay to her readers. After perusing through it the second time around, I understood what happened. Ms. Leibovich apparently has not stepped into a library in about 7 years.
The reason for my observation is simple. The author states \"One problem with this strategy is that many students are not well versed in advanced searching techniques so a simple search for, say, information about the planet Saturn can yield tens of thousands of hits. Yet students persevere with this hit-or-miss approach, saying that they are simply more comfortable sifting through hyperlinks than they are flipping through a card catalog. And they admit that using the Web requires less exertion.\"
Realizing the card catalogs out-datedness, libraries ceased utilizing them during the early part of the last decade. Most just sat out on the library floor without being updated, before administrators decided it was time to throw them out. Card catalogs are a thing of the past, and obviously do not belong in article which appears in the technology section of an internationally published newspaper.
What should have been discussed is what is currently happening in libraries all around the world, and the goals of making use of library services much easier. The author chose not to mention that library catalogs are now online, and can be accessed via the Internet from all over the world. Yes, I can see if my library (or neighboring libraries) has a book from the comfort of my own home, so I don\'t \"have to spend a half-hour on a bus to get to the library and then find out the book isn\'t there\".
In addition, the author fails to mention that libraries subscribe to online periodical databases, with which students can easily use to locate and print out full text articles on any topic.
By stating, \"If a student is doing a report on Alexander Graham Bell and is using the card catalog, he might run across something interesting. But in the library, often you study things in isolation\", the author is portraying the wrong message to students that the library is outdated and unusable. This is far from the truth, just ask the millions of patrons that utilize library services every day.
Steven M. Cohen