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Libraries: Who still uses them?

Freshman+Jac+Medve+studies+in+the+media+center+third+period.
Freshman Jac Medve studies in the media center third period.

Freshman Jac Medve studies in the media center third period.

Erin Stewart

Erin Stewart

Freshman Jac Medve studies in the media center third period.

by Erin Stewart

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The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/sGeAx

With all of the information that is available to students online, do we really need libraries anymore? Libraries are still as popular as they were 20 years ago when there was no Internet although it has evolved, call it Library 2.0.

“Print resource use is declining, but use of electronic resources is soaring.  In schools the need to teach information seeking strategies is as relevant today as it has been in the past, perhaps even more so due to the rapid expansion of knowledge.  High school students now as opposed to high school students even 10 years ago have access to more information than ever before.  The difficulty for them is not finding information. They are bombarded by it, but their problem is how to sort through all the information to find what is useful and accurate,” Media Specialist Mrs. Thompson said.

Since students are using the Internet for research more, they think the process has changed, but it hasn’t. “We now have access to different types of resources and more information is available to us, but the process remains the same.  People are still dependent on libraries to conduct legitimate research.  The look and layout of libraries is changing to embrace technology,” Thompson said.

Library media specialists promote reading for pleasure and learning, provide a collection that reflects the curriculum and individual interests, help students locate, retrieve, evaluate, analyze and use information, teach students how to use reference materials, take notes and cite sources, integrate technology into instruction, advocate ethical behavior in use of technology and collaborate with teachers about teaching and learning.

Most students are using the Internet more, but are they getting the correct information?

“The biggest drawback to using the Internet for research is accuracy.  It’s easy for anyone to publish anything on the web without any of it being checked for accuracy.  Most high school students don’t know how to evaluate websites to make sure they are receiving accurate and authoritative information,” said Thompson.

“Another drawback is attention or lack thereof.  With the amount of information available on the Internet, students are often side-tracked and spend lots of time unrelated to their task.  Still another drawback is the ease of cheating due to the Internet.  Many students simply don’t do the work, they just find something on their topic and cut and paste, thus completing the assignment but learning nothing,” she added.

“Using technology for research is easier because we can just type in key words or the search is given to us and before people would have to search a data base or books. I use the Internet because it’s faster but I don’t like it because a lot of information is unreliable,” junior Denali Packard said.

Libraries are much more than books; they are a social center.

“I use the library sometimes for research if I have a paper to write. If I don’t have enough time at home, I go to the library to help me catch up. I go to the library a few times a month,” junior Madeline Sheehy said.

“I know in older movies and shows they would film people in the libraries because back then that’s where they would hang out during school. The Breakfast Club is a great example. Now people don’t really go there as much as they used to unless they have to for class. Most students use the internet because outside of the media center it’s faster and you can get more specific information,” Sheehy added.

Senior Tessie Robertson has independent study fourth period, so she sees the day-to-day use of the library. “It depends on if there is a large class coming in like during Banned Book Week. But if not, there are usually one or two people including me. Students usually use the library for Internet use or just a quiet place to study.”

“School libraries are less popular because it’s easier to get books on Kindles, but public libraries are still being used and are still popular,” said Robertson.

“The assumption that libraries are less popular because of the internet is incorrect.  Libraries are more popular because of the Internet.  People go to the library to use the internet.  Libraries with electronic databases are still the major center for research at all levels of education.  Journals are certainly more accessible via electronic subscriptions replacing the practical use of microfiche and microfilm.  Besides books, libraries circulate DVDs, CDs, and eBooks for use on various readers (not just Kindles),” said the Information Resource Specialist of FCPS, Eric Condren.

American Association of School Librarians researches library use.  In their 2013 report, “62% of libraries report that they are the only provider of free computer and Internet access in their community.”  Although in our local area Internet access is easily provided, in many areas of the country, this is not true.

“I was traveling in the Adirondacks this summer.  People were waiting on the porch of the local library for it to open at 10:00 a.m. because there was no Internet access anywhere.  The library was the only source,” said Natalie Rebetsky, English Department Chairperson.

The report also reveals that “65% of libraries report having an insufficient number of public computers to meet demand. This increases to 87% in urban libraries.”

 

 

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The student news site of Linganore High School.
Libraries: Who still uses them?