This University President Tells Faculty Senate Going To Library Is A Waste Of Time

Steven Bell writes, "President Papadakis of Drexel University, which bills itself as the nation's most technologically-driven institution, was quoted in the school newspaper telling the faculty at a recent Senate meeting that "in three years (after being hired) I did not want any professor or graduate student to walk into the library to find a book, because this is a waste of your time unless you love books and are going to look at them". Papadakis is an advocate of electronic over print material, but the faculty tried to tell him they actually like to have their students use libraries - and read the printed books found there. See the story at page 2."


Gosh, it's a good thing they have a Library School Program, eh?

What a maroon.

I hate to say it, but although his comments may sound outlandish, they aren't all that different from what a lot of academics say (and/or think) these days when they are asked to make their opinions known about libraries and their value.

The trend is toward valuing the World Wide Web over the library, for reasons that we as library professionals all know too well, and Papadakis's remarks just reflect that trend.

The truly unfortunate part is that people in a position of power and influence like Papadakis, who could potentially make a difference in ameliorating the ingrained indifference of students toward the libraries at their institutions, are doing just the opposite with these types of comments.

This demonstrates the serious image problem that libraries have. Why do libraries have an image problem?? Much of this lies with librarians who do not embrace new ideas with vigor and modernize. Many libraries are stuck in the 60's with MARC and AACR2, both creations of the 60's. Both as useful as a typewriter. Not that typewriters are totally useless, but its usage is outdated. Ask yourself this question: Which business uses typewriters today? When you think of typewriters, do you think "old" or "new"? When the rest of the world is connected and is multimedia-based and multilingual-based, library systems are inherently text-based and cannot easily do multimedia or do other languages than English. Brilliant!!! No wonder we have an image problem.....

I'm not a Drexel alumna -- but the June4th issue of the Triangle did publish an op-ed/ltoe from a current Info Science grad student Gary Kaplan saying that the library deserves increased funding: tter.To.The.Editor.Library.Deserves.Increased.Fund ing-684449.shtmlKudos to him for speaking out!

Maybe he thinks of a library as with the multiple definitions of "church." Christians have the "invisible Church" (believers down through the ages), the "visible Church" (present day local groups of Christians), the Church Triumphant (faithful in heaven), the church (that building on the corner where the real church gathers to worship), and THE church (administrators, officials, and nebulous pronoucements and rules). And there may be more, but those are the multiple meanings that come to mind.

I, too, am a Drexel IST alum. I've never been a fan of Papadakis, but this is the limit. What an ass.

Well, there's always the Penn library, I guess, not that undergrads can check out any books or anything. Damn.

Learning does not have to stop but.... Back in '98, I tried to convince a few students that the Internet going down was not the end if the world. I suggested that instead of waiting two hours, she could use Reader's Guide to find citations and then use the microfilm to get the articles she needed. Her response? No, I will just sit here and wait. So I guess learning does cease to exist :)

Et Tu College President. What has become of academics that the written word is ridiculed by an academic official. You sometimes get a feeling that the computer industry is trying to distance us from the written word. I had a similar experience with my college president. We discussed issues involving information literacy and primary source materials. I had suggested a bibliographic methods and sources course similar to those given in law school. His reply was, " can't they get that information more easily from CD-ROMS and the Internet." I said no. It has always been my feeling that if the written word disappears then so does our freedom. (Farenheit 451) Remember the lawyer who still had books won the case for Captain Kirk and the computer and its malfunction were his accusers. I have one question for the Drexel president, what happens when the system is down or there is a power failure, does this mean that learning ceases to exist. If that is the case then heaven help us all.

As a Drexel CIST (or what ever it is calling itself now) graduate, I am ashamed that the president of my alma mater does not understand the importanc eof the physical library space. I was down at PALINET doing a presentation back in March. I stopped at the Haggerty Library and saw lots of people, including what appeared to be faculty and grad students, using the library.I stronlgy urge of IST alumns to write the Pesident and tell him how valuable the physical and the virtual library are to researchers.

Even if your goal is a library without walls, cutting library funding isn't going to help achieve a library without walls. With the costs of many electronic journals and databases it is very likely that a university library without walls is going to cost more then what univeristy's are currently spending on the current hybrid approach.

If your perception of the library is as "information place" only - then perhaps if all you ever need is "information" then you never need to go to a library. But in today's information environment, the free Internet is perceived almost universally as the information place. This demands that we change our business model to emphasize that the library is more than just an information place - it is a serious study place (especially on a campus), it is an idea place, it is a reading place, it is a social and cultural place - and much more. The President's flawed view - which sends a distinctly bad message to the campus community - is that the library is only an information place and nothing more. Read Sam Demas' AL article called EspritDe Place to broaden your vision of the library building as "place."

Why is is not a good goal to never have faculty or students go to the library?If librarians can create systems so that people can access high quality realible information from their desktop why the big concern that people go to a certain building?To many librarians treat the library like it is sacred. It is not hallowed ground. I am a librarian and I avoid the library as much as possible. Whenever I can get quality information online you will not find me driving down to the library to worship the books.

Mac Elrod just posted yesterday to AUTOCAT that AACR3 is now starting to be created. The Joint Standing Committee authorized such. The report that talks about what the new rules will be about (and other things) is available online. AACR2 was not released until 1988 as it is, though.