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Keep library a relevant institution

Letter to the Editor | Monday, September 7, 2009

While “A Library With No Books” (Sept. 4) may have been written with some tongue in cheek, I thought it raised an interesting point. Gone are the days (back in 2002 when I was a graduate student) when one could walk into the library and find in his two favorite places – the periodical room on the first floor and the political science section (I think it is on the ninth floor) – journals and books on political science to one’s heart’s content. Now in the periodical room one finds totally meaningless journals (to a large extent) and on the ninth floor chaos and predominantly empty shelves with a few copies of ancient journals that cannot be computerized.

Because of the assumption that everyone has computer access all the time, the library made the shift to electronic cataloguing and online journals (I imagine in the name of cost-cutting). In the process, the Hesburgh Library has become virtually useless as a place to browse and spend non-academic time in. This seems to take away an important aspect of a library – namely to encourage people to read.

In the course of this past year that I was in South Bend, I went to the library twice for non-academic purposes and a few more times to sit and write. It is unfortunate that the library has lost some of its luster and while the editors seem to endorse making life easier for the students by doing away with exams and research papers, I would suggest that more could be done in balancing the technological age (of all computers) with the traditional age of hands-on materials.

Fr. David Kashangaki, C.S.C.


Class of 2005

Sept. 4