Libraries are portals to all of the world’s knowledge and librarians make sure that knowledge continues to be recorded and saved for the future.  The way of preserving and accessing this information has changed over the years as technology continues to play a vital role in accessing information. While developments in technology have made it easier for students in higher education to access materials for their researches as this can be done virtually, will the digital age mean that libraries are becoming extinct?

Future of Academic Libraries?

Griffith (2015) posits that as information becomes more digitized and omnipresent the space of the library may no longer be needed and asks how can a librarian measure against a  back-drop of increase in limited funding? Simple, libraries have to become creative and face these challenges head on. The challenges are enormous however,Spiro and Henry (2010) and Nelson and Haines (2010) postulates that equally important, and deemed one of the biggest barriers to online resources in universities has been a lack of academic content and when you do find materials for courses they are very pricy “for publishers to set up and maintain infrastructures for both electronic and print books”(Spiro & Henry, 2010).

Although this may be true, we see that funding plays a vital part.In fact, libraries “predate books, and in their modern form, libraries of all kinds – public libraries, research libraries, school libraries” to name a few “typically stand at the heart of the communities they serve, and digitization creates new challenges and opportunities, hence, forcing libraries to take on new roles, and perform traditional roles in new ways”even with funding being a concern.   We dont grow when things are easy

Challenges and Solutions
Of course, librarians have become creative to align themselves with the growing e-resources and the lack of funding among others. Ubogu and Okiy (2011) agrees and states that “the importance of funding in providing quality library service cannot be overemphasized. It is the glue that holds the building, collection and staff together and allows the library to attain its goals. As such, money can be considered the soul of the library. As a result, inadequate funds impede the effectiveness of any library.” Therefore, libraries not only in Jamaica but globally have to dig deep and come up with strategies to stay afloat in this technological age to meet the needs of the users.


Now, in a third world country like Jamaica the University of the West Indies Libraries remain competitive. Mention must be made of their West Indies and Special Collection, (WISC), (Mona) that has earned several accolades over the years from persons locally and internationally for their unique Caribbean collection which houses-: Rare Books, Manuscripts, West Indian Creative Writings, Microforms, Maps, and Audiovisuals to name a few. This collection is one of their way of remaing competitive – then congratulations are in order. In addition, there is also the Edward Seaga’s Collection,
P.J. Patterson’s Collection and Rex Nettleford’s Collection among other notable gifts. These collections consist of items both in print and digitization and the content is quite valuable and persons globally come to Jamaica to consult these “prized” materials.

West Indies & Special Collection14

Notably, there are also e-books and e-journals that the library has to acquire regardless that they may also have the printed copy, and these are extremely expensive and take a chunk out of the libraries budget. Another challenge is vendor stipulations whereas libraries cannot buy some books as they would a print and have multiple users as the publisher would not profit so it creates another “roadblock” for academic libraries. Notwithstanding, academic libraries have to be marketable, they have to attract their users no matter the challenges faced.

Also there is the task of sufficient computers and these computers have to be equipped with programs and software that is current. Libraries wrestle with the “longevity of technologies and devise back-up plans before making large investments.” So yes, “libraries are likely to remain important for years to come” and “will still purchase print books even though “space over time is in conflict with space for users” (Renwick & Peltier-Davis, 2007).

users in library

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Library for example, carries several e-books,
e-journals, electronic databases which includes their Mona Online and Research Database (MORD), EBSCOhost Online Research Database, JSTOR, EmeraldinSight, and ProQuest Central to name a few. These are some of the databases that are shared on an interface platform so that students in Jamaica (Open Campus and Mona) and from the sister campuses (Cave Hill in Barbados and St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago) can also have access.The sharing of resources helps to offset some of the costs for all the stakeholders hence, giving students access across disciplines, across campuses in real time. As well, the library at Mona offers several other services to stay abreast of technology and make themselves more marketable for example, students that are visually challenged can still have access using – :

Assistive Technology – Visually Impaired Students’ Technology Assisted Services (VISTAS) was established in 1997. It provides visually challenged students with assistive (adaptive) technologies that aid in their learning process


Kurzweil – visually impaired users with access to printed and electronic material.

Printed documents (after being scanned) and digital files such as eBooks or email are converted from text to speech and read aloud

Jaws for Windows – This software provides speech technology that works with your computer’s operating system to provide access to popular software applications and the Internet for visually impaired students.

Braille Embosser – This machine converts text to Braille

Victor Reader – This is a sophisticated digital talking book with an audio and mp3 CD player that allows visually impaired students to read from the printed pages.
blind_graduate_212pxAs a result, several students with challenges have been able to leave the University with a degree in higher education. The library created access, equity and equality in a technologically driven time. They prepare these students for life-long learning with the necessary tools. The library should be considered the hub of any university and with this digital explosion over the years they have to be impressive. No wonder libraries have to step forward and embrace tele-education especially since there is a demand for online education (Wright, 2000). Does this make them on the road to extinction? I think not. It’s called reinvention and remaining relevant so that there is equal access. 

Speaking of access, who speaks for the person who cannot afford the online resources or just prefer the book instead of virtual resources? THE LIBRARY!!! Students need options. Some students need someone that is approachable, personable, can ask open-ended questions to assist them in becoming competent and adept to finding their own information – facilitating them to find, analyse and use.

So while the library tries to stay afloat in this technological age which is sometimes too impersonal for a lot of library users, there are some persons who are stuck in the era where books are supreme and their voice must also be heard, their needs must also be met (Sharma, 2012).They want to mark and feel their books, they want to curl up privately and read not thinking about the down time of the Wi-Fi or issues with their smart phone or laptop and just unwind.

Technology plays an “important role in advancing the availability of higher education for the under-represented student populations”, while ensuring “accessibility of web materials” for the physically and visually challenged but what about persons who are not ‘tech savvy,’ where is the equity? Libraries play a vital role even in this world of technology and materials being digitized, and have to cater for diverse users to show equity.Students and faculty need options if they find it difficult to maneuver the databases or catalogue. Furthermore, some students love to sit with a librarian who can give them personalized attention and facilitate their production of the best research papers they can (Peltier-Davis, (2011). So no, there is a place for both the library and technology even amidst the unyielding challenges. Libraries will continue to reinvent themselves to meet the needs of not some of their users, but all their users – both technologically inclined and otherwise.

library competition


Griffith, J. (2015, September 2). Emerging trends and the implications for libraries. In The Library and Information Association. Retrieved March 18, 2017, from

Harris, S. (2016). “Trends and issues in Jamaican academic libraries 2010-2016”. New Library  World117(11), 721-745.

Nelson, M.R. and Haines, E. (2010), “E-books in higher education: are we there yet?”, ECAR Research Bulletin 2, available at:

Peltier-Davis, Cheryl. “Overview of library services in the English-speaking Caribbean –

Management, innovative services and resource sharing.” International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, 2011, Accessed 18 Mar. 2017.

Renwick, S., & Peltier-Davis, C. (Eds.). (2007). Caribbean libraries in the 21st century:      changes, challenges, and choices. Medford, NJ: Information Today Inc.

Sharma, R. N. (2012). Libraries in the early 21st century: An international perspective. Berlin:
De Gruyter Saur.

Spiro, L., & Henry, G. (2010). Can research library be all digital? The idea of order
transforming research collections for 21st century scholarship (pp. 5-80). Washington DC: Council of Libraries and Information Resources.

“The future of libraries in the digital age.” The Ohio State University, 2017, Columbus. Address.

Ubogu, J., & Okiy, R. (2011). Sources of funds in academic libraries in Delta State, Nigeria. Library Philosophy and Practice. Retrieved from University of Nebraska (1522-0222).

Wright, C. (2000). Issues in education and technology: policy guidelines and strategies for
Commonwealth countries
. London, United Kingdom: Commonwealth Secretariat.









  1. tanneice says:

    Thanks for sharing this blog about the library. I want to use my comment to share about a fairly recent visit to the UWI Main Library in semester 1 of the current academic year. I was pleasantly surprised at the professionalism and friendliness of the young woman who I spoke with at the customer service counter. I was completely lost as to how the library functions (to get a book) – I did not even have the full name of the book with me. The young woman listen and took clues from what I was saying and ‘click;, click, click’ – she was able to find the exact text that I was looking for and she did not seem annoyed that I came with little information – she wanted to help and serve. I was impressed.

    I do however wonder about why the library is so empty in a University that says you have to ‘read for your degree’ – certainly all our students cannot afford to have all the required and recommended texts – or maybe it is just me. I wondered then – what the the main reason that students use the library and when is the library mostly in use? Maybe if we can find out why the library is not always over-run with students at the various levels from the various disciplines – we can know what is needed to push the perception of the library in the direction desired.

    Brain Matthews (2012) stated in his article on ‘how do we want students to feel about the library that – If you never use the library building it is likely you’re not going to start. Those first experiences seem to make or break it for a lot of students I’ve spoken to over the years. It becomes a place they love, a place they hate, or a place that’s “ok, but nothing special.” My mission right now is to transform our library into a preferred destination for academic work. A place that students feel enables or empowers them to succeed better than other locations on campus. I am not sure what is the mission or strategy of the UWI Library to get more students through its doors and keep them coming back.

    The other thought is whether use of the library and its available technology and resources can be infused and adopted into the syllabus for students at the undergraduate and graduate level, even as one of two tutorial sessions (that is compulsory) – that session is held at the library, where each student must be at and use the library and present some assignment that is graded from those tutorial sessions. Maybe this can get them through the doors and if the staff member who assisted me can be cloned – then perfection of customer service & technology achieved!

    Dohorty (2016) in his book ‘Technology Centered Academic Library, Partnerships & Collaborations, noted a few interesting points:
    a) Finding willing faculty collaborators is just one part of creating fruitful partnerships
    b) There is a need to find innovative projects that will fuel the interest of all parties involved
    c) A pervasive fear is that the library that is not innovative is falling behind and heading
    towards towards obsolescence
    d) to be truly innovative, librarians must create an organizational culture that encourages
    and support innovations that goes far beyond just offering a new method of doing things.
    e)True innovation means taking risks and tolerating failure – being first adopters and the first
    to do something well.
    f) Librarians must be willing to persuade university administrators, faculty members, students
    and even their own staff that the reward to be gained from a particular innovation is worth
    the risk and cost.

    So , what is the new innovation that UWI library has on its plate that it will be putting on a campaign about to persuade all the stakeholders to support?

    Finally another thought (which would take some doing and capital injection) is to have a library for each faculty, located conveniently in that faculty – like the medical library and law library. Librarians who be deployed to those faculty libraries, serving the students where they are. Yes, this may be utopia for those who do not want to trek to the Main library -, but it could also be meeting the customers where they are. I do recognise that this suggestion may not be feasible and funding, space and human resources would become an issue. The Main library would remain, with all its collections and shelves upon shelves of books and periodicals – offering a unique melting pot of students and information.

    I just thought I would share my thoughts.


    1. realchez says:

      Glad that you had a wonderful experience at the UWI Main library. Sure we all value excellent customer service especially when we feel the research and other elements of this world closing in. Or we may just need a friendly face to tell us it is going to be ok and they are here to help – YOUR RESEARCH SUPER HERO!
      The library has come a far way. There use to be a time when especially on a Monday or a Friday when the lines at the library were so long you could ask for a book and go to lecture and come back and still get that book. WOW…then comes TECH, TECH, TECHology – the age when persons can stay at home and get their information online or they can just run in borrow a book and run back out… In addition, the library in the past closed at 430, then it closed at 10 but now it closes at 6am and that is also another reason why you don’t see the crowd but they are still there though. It depends on the time. At times we have a rush and then it cools down. On Fridays persons are in and out borrowing as they can keep core text for the week-end (borrow Friday and return on Monday).

      Most of what you suggested is already in place but I am sure they do welcome your input. There is a suggestion sheet at the front please feel free to use it.


  2. elsaceline says:

    I was pleasantly surprised that you stood in the gap for the underrepresented few who, like myself, like to curl up and feel my book during the rare down time. As a lover of the printed material I had to comment on that first. The importance and usefulness of the library is a very real issue. I doubt that anyone would consider the library as an obsolete institution ( I hope not). However, as you have pointed out the debate exists about how libraries need to change or evolve in order to not only maintain relevance but ensure its sustainability in this technological age.

    Electronic databases, ebooks and ejournals certainly help to make life easier and more convenient for the student in higher education. Especially for the non-traditional student the existence of these library services makes accessing pertinent information more accessible. Libraries need to ensure that they remain current and aware of market demands. Kudos to UWI for improving their private collections and making changes to respond to its market. Congratulations also on the addition of the mentioned private collections which have been gifted to the UWI. I hope to see the addition of other collections from international sources in order to properly represent the international nature of our university. International students should be adequately represented by the material in the main library.

    With millennials being a huge part of the cohort of today’s student body libraries must take their needs into consideration. As realchez has pointed out, librarians are aware of these needs and are trying to meet them but are facing financial challenges.Sweeney (2005) states that librarians must merge almost all library services digitally with the Internet to meet the expectations of the Millennial generation. For Millennials, the physical and virtual libraries must not just be intertwined, they must be inseparable. This is not just a requirement for millennials but also for non-traditional students. For a part-time postgraduate student like myself it would be extremely convenient if I could perform almost all library functions online. Yes yes, I understand the limitations to this desire but I would love that to be a possibility. I must commend the UWI main librrary however, for their email response time to queries and the for quickly advising via email when a requested book is made available. I am obviously easy to please. Service, GOOD SERVICE pleases me.


    1. realchez says:

      Good service pleases me too. It makes me want to keep going back.
      As they state their vision :
      To be a knowledge resource centre of excellence, providing effective information and related services in support of the University’s regional and global mission.

      and their Mission:
      To be a gateway to global information supporting the teaching, learning and research needs of the university community thereby enhancing its regional and global reach.

      They are always trying to meet the needs of their users.
      Technology does not make it easier its makes it better.


  3. shenzhem says:

    Oh yes Realchez, Libraries are very much in style!

    Growing up, I never had anywhere to go but the library as I could not afford a computer much less internet (did not know what that was). From primary through to high school the library was all I knew, from the Parish library on the weekends to the school’s library at high school. All assignments and major projects completed courtesy of the library. Today, 2017, I am sure that there are children in primary and high school right now, who cannot afford a computer and have to make the same trek to the library like I had to.

    I got my first laptop when I enrolled in university and even then I still lived in UWI’s library. I was able to maximize on the number of sources that I had for each essay I wrote because of my several visits to the library. If it was not for the library I would not know how to access the e-journals and databases, right now JSTOR at home is my BIBLE, and that is because of the staff at the UWI library.
    I never had a computer much less a printer growing up, all my prints were done at THE LIBRARY. I am happy that the library has been improving its system to serve the public.

    My only issue is the outdated computers – Realchez, I will say no more on the computers. Also, not sure why the library opens at 12 on a Sunday, sometimes I would love to access it before (maybe not enough persons were utilizing the 24 hrs service, not sure).

    Libraries play a major role in higher education and must be commended for trying with the little they have. It is unfortunate that the libraries are underused by some disciplines. The library is a go to point for several researchers and students. When a new writing style surfaces, the library takes the initiative to host training sessions for students on how to use MLA, APA, the search engine etc.

    It would also help if they advertise the training through other mediums to reach the students. Some students have never been to the library (as to why, reasons vary). Also some journals we cannot access at home – this could be looked into – to improve the system. As Elsa said, accessing all the online offerings from home would be helpful to students.

    Libraries matter – they support undergraduate research, post graduate work, haven for scholars, support online learning making scholarly work available and accessible to students.


    1. realchez says:

      Thanks. Yes, libraries do matter and will continue to do so long after our generation.
      Yes the computers they are aware really need upgrading. Resources are being discussed so eventually they will be. Can’t come soon enough though, it’s so needed.
      As a result of surveys done they times were decided.
      Main Library: Mon – Fri: 8:30am- 6:00am| Sat: 8:30am – midnight| Sun: 12noon- 8pm

      Medical Library: Mon – Fri:8:30am- 6:00am| Sat: 8:30am – midnight| Sun: 12 noon – 8pm
      Science Library: Mon – Fri:8:30am- 6:00am| Sat: 8:30am – midnight| Sun: 12noon – 8pm
      Law Library: Mon – Fri:8:30am- 6:00am| Sat: 8:30am- Midnight| Sun: 12noon – 8pm
      April 3 – May 19, 2017: Mon- Fri:8:30am- 6:00am| Sat:8:30am- midnight| Sun:12 noon- 8pm
      WISC (Main Library): Mon – Fri:8:30am- 10:00pm| Sat: 8:30am- 4:00pm| Sun:Closed
      Overnight Reading Room: Sat:12:15am- 6:00am| Sun: 8:15pm- 6:00am
      Western Jamaica Campus:
      Mon – Thurs:9:00am – 9:00pm|Fri: 9:00am – 7:00pm| Sat: 10:00am – 6:00pm| Sun:Closed

      Appreciate your response though…
      Please free to visiit or go on the website to see what else is offered.


  4. wkeisha says:

    I do not have fond memories visiting the library in my younger years like my colleagues, but I have been reading from a tender age. It is my belief, therefore, that as long as there are books, there will be libraries. Unless authors intend to have their work published entirely online, I do not believe that librarians need worry. Have you ever been able to access a text in its entirety without paying for it? Answer: Only at a library. Amazon offers an inside look before purchase, but you will realize that you can only retrieve snippets of information. Also, if you do not intend to purchase every book you will ever need throughout your lifetime, libraries will always have their place. Technology or no.

    One should remember that the internet, or technology as we know it, is a new phenomenon. Information has been around since the dawn of man and majority of what has been written is not yet available online and what is online is not always accessible for free. Yet libraries do not only house books but a country’s historical data and archive. The National Library of Jamaica is perfect example of a Library of purpose. There is information within those walls that cannot be touch by hand and taking a picture may damage the text. This is information unavailable on the internet.

    For viability, universities will make cutbacks, so it is possible the libraries may be losing some of their funding. However, the library still represents a significant investment for any tertiary institution. A university is not a university if it does not have a library or libraries. The hard copy books are still required but as more literature becomes available electronically by publishers, libraries are investing more in online literature. These can be very expensive. My HEI pays US$15,000.00 for EBSCO, the “leading provider of research databases, e-journals, magazine subscriptions, ebooks and discovery service for the academic, medical, corporate, etc.” That amount only covers limited access to the programme areas offered by the institution.

    Reading is my favourite past time. The typical student of today, however, does not like to read. The National Library of Jamaica represents the traditional library of old. The library of the future will have to implement creative initiatives to appeal to and entice patrons to their hallowed ‘stacks’.


    1. Let me first say I am sorry you do not have fond memories of the library but may be that can change. Visit the Main library sometimes there are books there that will certainly help you with your papers, I promise. In addition there is a librarian you can talk to who can assist you with sound advice to produce an A paper plus you can talk to one virtually too just visit the website.

      The National library has also started the digitization process but yes they have to think preservation, preservation it is important. Also depending on the material there are different ways to preserve it that technology can not compete with so yes, the library is quite relevant and here to stay.


  5. shanique101 says:

    Interesting topic Chez.

    Just the other day I was arguing with some colleagues who believe libraries are becoming obsolete. The conversation started because at CMI, they are expanding the library. One colleague joked, “dem fi expand the wifi and not the library.” I clearly did not get the joke. I enjoyed visiting the library on Saturdays while growing up. I can vividly remember skimming through Britannica encyclopedias etc. to find information for class projects. Even as an undergraduate, I was an avid visitor to the library. Notice I said “was’ because I really have little time to visit a library anymore. However, I do visit the e-libraries.

    Now, despite my inability to visit the library as often as I would like, I do believe that libraries are not obsolete but needed more than ever. Wylie (2016) shared that most of the people who express that libraries are becoming obsolete either don’t use libraries, have an agenda to follow or think the library should only provide what they personally want. I want to agree with this because libraries offer a host of resources that technology cannot offer. Nothing can come between that feeling you get in a library. Let’s admit that libraries are usually conducive to learning and studying. It’s usually quiet and helps us to focus our thoughts far better than sitting at home around the computer. Let’s give the library a thumbs up for maintaining this.

    Yes, the UWI Library is two cuts above the rest. They are an epitome of greatness and quality customer service. Hats off to the CMI who is expanding their library.


    1. Thanks Shanique101.

      Knowing the value of the library I would not have found it funny either.

      Shanique101 technology is really here to stay but so is the library. Plus, its a challenge publishing all these editions of books for e-resource too, it cost a lot. Who is going to buy an e-book each time a new edition comes out? Challenge wwwaaaayyyy up, for not only libraries but for publishers too…its a ripple effect.

      In addition, persons should visit our own Post Graduate Learning Commons and get a feel of how far we have come… HATS OFF TO THE UWI LIBRARIES…trying to stay on top is no easy feat… yes Shanique101 greatness and quality customer service amidst this turmoil of technology…


  6. kerjfra says:

    I like the information you have here. The library has indeed come a far way. The Library in general are not my favourite physical place to be as I like to move about, eat and be more comfortable when doing my work. However, I love the online resources and utilize them a lot. I also find the space especially post grad facilities at the main library and the medical library (carrel, when available) to be suitable for intense work. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. realchez says:

      Yes KERJFRA, also there is a reference librarian who can assist with queries that can help with your paper…guide you to sources and also help with your citations. The online resources are quite helpful for me too and the West Indies and Special Collection especially when the research has to do with the Caribbean.


  7. trevis24 says:

    I am one who has never seen the need to visit a library; while doing my undergraduate studies the most i did was to use the library as a safe haven to grab a nap in between classes or to relax on a hot day but my intentions were never to browse books, journals or any materials housed there. It is beyond me why one would want to walk into a library to conduct research for a paper when all they need is a laptop and a good internet connection and you’re good to go to browse the many platforms you made mentioned.

    But here is the challenge to it all: Are libraries really extincted or is it a case of libraries evolving? Whose opinion is it that a library must be a physical building with physical materials and resources and physical people? Of note, is a suitable definition to the term library ‘a space designated to the storage of academic and non-academic materials that may be useful in times of research’ [my definition]. A space is not necessarily physical but can of course be virtual; exactly what we are seeing today. If society is evolving, why shouldn’t the library be allowed the same privileges as well, why must we confine the library to a physical space. In fact, Denning (2015) stated that “for several decades, libraries have made significant efforts to make themselves relevant to the computer age with elaborate efforts to computerize services and develop new technology”. From this statement it is clear that the library is simply maintaining it relevance in a computerized age by changing [evolving] as apposed to being static.

    Of note, Denning (2015) suggested libraries are asking themselves, “what will make things better, faster, cheaper, more mobile, more convenient or more personalized for our users?” And from that question, out of consideration for the users it [library] has decided to transition as all other entities in society are doing. So i ask you do not think of the library as extincted or as it evolving. Those who live a fast life, in the fast lane will use the platforms on their devices while on the go, likewise those who prefer the comfort of their homes while those who enjoy a good book between their fingers will pedal their way to the buildings, dust that book off, sit on the floor cross legged, glasses on their nose, absorbing all they can. The end of the day, it is the same knowledge.


    1. realchez says:

      Ahhhh Trevis…. Noted.
      The library is for multiple users with different needs. They continue to re-invent according to the needs of their users and I love and appreciate that. I am one of the persons that love a book and also I love those hard to find sources that the right keyword search produces hence the library facilitates all.

      Additionally Trevis, some person do not have Internet and being at the library helps them tremendously. Persons like you did also come just to relax and that too is important…aesthetics encourages that along with a staff that should care what happens to their users. Are you tired there is an area to rest your head, thirsty, water fountain, sick, assistance to health centre…. libraries are here to serve, and what they cannot provide immediately they should have the know how…Libraries are relevant and will remain so for a long time to come.


  8. Lotoya Bond says:

    Visiting the library is and will always be the major source of gaining information on any topic. The libraries these days are more structured than before, this makes it easier for individuals to find books much quicker than before. Using the internet on a computer is faster to get access to information however; if the connection is not good it can suddenly fail and all that information is gone. Using the library has so much to offer, you feel welcome by the staff courteousness, you are able to get assistance if you are having challenges, you get a chance to select from a variety of books. Using the library caters to all types of learning styles. Some persons prefer to use the computers to search for their information, this is not entirely bad because we have to move with technology in the time that we are living in. The library however, is more convenient to students who work better with tangible materials. When you hear the word “library” you talk about a variety of books. Books contain a wealth of information and continuous reading of them helps to increase your knowledge and improve your writing skills.


  9. realchez says:

    Yes Lotoya it sure has a lot to offer. Sometimes even more than we know if we only take the time to stop and ask. They cater for several needs as you have shared and I agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I certainly agree that libraries still have their place even in this technological age. Personally I prefer to read a physical book rather than an online one. There is a sense of pleasure that I get from turning the pages instead of scrolling with the glare of a screen in my eyes. However, that is just my personal preference. Still, shouldn’t universities cater to for those students who have preferences like mine? Or event more importantly, shouldn’t universities cater for those who may learn better by using physical books? I also like the point that was raised about having physical books as a back up for when the wifi isnt working or laptops, phones and tablets are malfunctioning. It goes to show that technology isn’t always full proof and while physical books may be considered obsolete by some, the fact remains that physical books are often times more reliable than digital ones.


    1. realchez says:

      The library should cater for everyone. If you want to use the physical book then that should be available and if you want online materials then that should be available too. In this economic climate, it makes it difficult to have every book for a course in both formats – print and ebook. However, I am sure they try to get as much in both formats plus e-journals along with the printed copies.


  11. Libraries play a crucial role in tertiary education and I am happy that they are making strides especially in this technological advanced age. I must confess though, based on my busy schedule I seldomly visit the library at the UWI Campus, but happy to know that with latest databases, ebooks and ejournals this has certainly make life much easier for me and others. Libraries have come a long way and UWI by extension improving their private collections and making the necessary changes to respond to its market.

    I also support the argument about having physical books as a back-up for when Wifi or internet is not available. I also agree with Tanneice that I would love to see each faculty establish its own library like the medical and law libraries serving students where they are. However, I have to take into consideration that UWI as well as other universities might not have the financial resources to implement such. I believe that libraries over the years have created and still creating impact in the intellectual development of scholars around the world. Therefore, I believe that libraries should continue to be valued as intellectual reservoirs that all should invest in order to obtain social mobility.


    1. realchez says:

      Libraries continue to make strides but a limited budget it is hard. I believe that in light of this libraries should continue to find different ways to please their patron – apart from having the resources customer service and aesthetics is important. The library caters for diverse learners from all walks of life and sometimes especially when it is exam or assignment times they need to hear a kind word. These students sometimes come to the library just to sit and talk. I am often surprised how these students open up about personal issues but I pride myself on listening and just being there. The library is very open to everyone… so I agree “that libraries should continue to be valued as intellectual reservoirs that all should invest in order to obtain social mobility” (Thompson, 2017) and they should come no matter the problem… IF THEY CAN’T HELP YOU THEY WILL POINT YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!


  12. patknightletts says:

    Before the use of technology libraries served as the central mean of obtaining information for all. Today they remain an important feature of any educational institution, and in my opinion, will forever remain a physical feature; even though there have been great advancements in the use of technology as a source of information for many persons.

    It is important to note that not all individuals readily have access to internet services, and even if they do, would rather “go to the library” to do their research or just to “get away and find some peace and quiet” in order to be able to concentrate and work better. This as a matter of fact speaks to me, as I find the library to be quite and most effective when completing an assignment which requires require extensive reading. Added to that the UWI library has a wide array of materials compare to other institutions.

    The use of technological devices even though will greatly assist one in his/her academic pursuit does not and cannot provide one with the human presence most persons depend on to grow. One must admit that while there is Skype, among other ‘live’ or instant fora, nothing can replace the positive effects of face to face communication among humans.


    1. realchez says:

      I agree with you, Pat. I share the same sentiments. Technology is everywhere but it has its downtime and the library is here during those times for persons who prefer online. I love to print my e-journals and I am sorry I cannot print my e-books because I enjoy turning the pages and marking and making notes on my paper. Technology or not I love my print


    2. verinica5 says:

      verinica 5 veronica writes
      The University Main Library once used to be a hub of activity with people photo copying trying to access books and vying for the attention of the librarians and their assistance. Where have the students gone? The library is very different from the ones I used to visit and use as a child and as young woman.
      It is not that the library is not being used but that technology, IT AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB has changed how knowledge is accessed Once the library kept books stacked on shelves , within four walls . Then one needed the help of the competent librarian to navigate one’s way around that library. The library now and of the future is becoming or has become more accessible. Text books are available on line and information is freely available on the web that has no time boundaries and is open twenty four hours. It can be challenging I must admit to research on the web as so much is available that navigating to find the ideal material can sometimes be time consuming. However one can doubtlessly appreciate the ease of access without having to travel the distance to the physical library
      According to Keiser, (2010). The librarians’ role has changed to a more in-depth organization of a much wider content while ensuring copy rights respected and preserving data for future generations.
      The library can never become obsolete In fact the many internet cafe selling time on the internet have become mini libraries to all age groups. Commercialization has impacted the access to information. Sadly, often, on line, the best articles are available at a price.


  13. judsbloggy says:

    I am in agreement that libraries make sure that knowledge continues to be recorded and saved for the future. A salient point. The development of internet, technology has provided academic and research institutions with a very high level of visibility on the web. We are indeed in a technological era and tertiary students do not necessarily have to visit a physical library to acquire needed information. It’s all accessible virtually. The rise of the internet and the rapid expansion of information successfully has eroded tertiary institution monopoly over the
    distribution of knowledge. There is no need for a physical space, well so I taught. However I have come to learn that having a physical library is a God sent, meaning that in many courses the readings that are found have limited access and the library helps me to acquire needed readings. One should understand that materials online are converted from hard copies to electronic copies in order to enhance access and improve the presentation of library materials. Digitalization is an essential task in modern day libraries. The library plays an important role in sustaining the open access initiative. These digital libraries are an emerging concept in many higher education institutions.


  14. realchez says:

    Ahhhh… I totally agree. Glad you understand the importance of libraries and the space it holds. While it has it’s challenges it is important to researchers and others. Open access is important too.

    While library resources are perceived as a free service in higher education because the faucet of information is always there, just waiting to be turned on, the truth is, it costs big bucks for subscriptions to the electronic resources that support learning and research. College and university librarians are advocates for a new system of scholarly publishing that broadens public access and encourages faculty to publish in open-access journals that can be produced at much lower costs than commercial publications. Shifting from closed to public access requires the cooperation of faculty and a rethinking of the tenure and promotion system. Online access is expensive however, libraries continue to try with what little they have… Having enough print is also a task but yet they rise… the Internet is helpful too but I have found that sometimes along with the sources from database I find a very good book that helps and makes such a difference to the paper

    The library continues to be the first and the last for a lot of students and I continue to inform students that the library can be the difference to getting that A.


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