The advancement of modern technology has reduced the need for physical copies of books, which leaves Humber College’s library with a lot of free space.
Notably, there are other options than going to the library and borrowing a book for an assignment.
Jumana Nuri, a post-graduate Project Management student, explained that she frequently visits the library and has not borrowed a book during her time at Humber.
“My first instinct when I get an assignment would be to go to one of the databases for research. I wouldn’t even think to rent a book,” said Jumama, adding that she does enjoy the spacious environment and electronic resources of the library.
Libraries have progressed rapidly with regard to the way students can use them.
Alexandra Ross, a Liaison Humber librarian, listed some statistics that can explain the current state of the college’s library.
During the calendar year of 2015, students at the North campus borrowed 17,874 print materials. In the 2016 calendar year, that number decreased to 13,158. This significant decrease is likely to continue as time progresses.
Ross said the decrease may be because of electronic books. In the 2015/2016 academic year, just over 53,090 e-books were borrowed across the three campuses.
The library increasingly purchases more e-books, while print books are not purchased as frequently, she added.
The library’s biggest asset today is its store of electronic resources. In the previous academic year, there were 405,589 database searches among the three campuses at Humber.
Humber is now looking to buy fewer books, which allows more open space the library would use for study areas.
There are benefits and disadvantages with the development of the library. Some of the advantages include the accessibility of E-resources where students can work from the comfort of their own home at any time of day.
Ross said E-resources allow academics to speak to one another and share information with students.
A disadvantage of databases can be the formatting of the web page. Sometimes, files may not be fully downloadable and students may be stuck with only an abstract or a single chapter. E-resources tend to be costly, which may influence Humber not to buy a particular database.
Although E-resources may be confusing for some to use, Humber staff members are available in the library to help students in need. There is also a feature where students can get help from their home by texting and chatting with online support.
Compared to the past, students today have the upper hand in terms of accessibility to electronic information.
Adam Weissengruber, a Humber librarian, noted E-resources will continue to evolve. The number of physical books will decrease and it is possible that students may have no need to actually enter their school library, he worries.