Let's keep our libraries intact 2

November 23, 2007

The fact that that 2 million books and journals are thrown out of British universities each year is appalling, as is the fact that academics do not raise any protest, given that library materials are a crucial resource of a university. Furthermore, staff are rarely consulted on what is disposed of.

What many librarians and administrators fail to grasp is that even electronic storing does not act as a substitute for having those books and journals on open shelves. Most academics do not merely go to their libraries to search for a particular title or a set of particular books but to see what is available for their needs.

An electronically stored text of a book is only a (poor, eye-straining) substitute for a book if one knows exactly the title and author one is looking for. Searching for a book on the shelf is also the most time- efficient (and least eye-straining) way of finding information for academics under ever-increasing pressure.

Paul Hudson , London.

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