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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Libraries: Cooler than the Net

The question arises ever more frequently: Do students ever step foot in libraries anymore? Yes, say some librarians, and the reason is, many libraries are even better than the Internet, students are beginning to find. And libraries are online too (this is not news to librarians!). According to the North Adams (Mass.) Transcript, a librarian at Williams College says forget the statistic (from the Pew Internet & American Life project) that 73% of college students "used the Internet more than they used the library." They're coming back to libraries because of the deep, rich databases of information they subscribe to which aren't accessible with a mere Internet connection. This anecdote says it all: "A Williams art history major from Schenectady, N.Y., who declined to give her name, said the library has become easier to use than Internet because she can search databases of scholarly journals to locate the full text articles she needs for research projects. And if she gets stuck, she asks a librarian for help." For a short study at Wellesley College on how much help young Net-researchers at that college need, see "Critical thinking: Kids' best research (and online-safety) tool" in my newsletter.


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