With the sheer amount and variety of information accessible online, and the popularity of easily available e-books, college libraries, the traditional treasure troves of knowledge, seem to be losing their relevance.
However, students and academicians alike feel libraries are far from becoming redundant.
All they need is to be made more adaptable to today’s students’ needs.
“The number of students visiting the library has definitely gone down.Students have lost interest in library culture as there is a huge amount of information available on the web. But what they don’t realise is the lack of credibility of such information,” said Dinesh Panjwani, principal, R.D National College.
The college is doing its part in enticing the students back.
The college is in process of linking the library’s database to their official website for better browsing and easy access for student.
“Having the information of what books are available at the library online, instead of going through it themselves, will get the students’ interest back,” said Panjwani.
Some students feel that if you can sort out the genuine information from the useless, studying online is a much better option.
“I don’t visit the college library much apart from taking a look at few reference books. A lot of useful information is available online for free. So I find it better to study online,” said Mahek Parmar, a law student.
“One of the worst things about college libraries is the long process required to avail a book. Though chances of tampered and misleading information are higher with online information, it at least ensures you faster results,” said Bithiah Job, a BMS student from Wilson college.
According to Jyoti Thakur, vice principal, Jai Hind College, “The environment needed to encourage studying needs to be developed in all college libraries. An amalgamation of both print and online material should be made available, to help students gain maximum knowledge.”
However the Mumbai university library, which boasts of a collection of over eight lakh books, still has its benches full with eager students looking for reference and study material.
“Though we have internet facilities and provide e-papers and ebooks to read, students prefer to sift through books and journals to study. Also, much of the credible, highly recommended data is not available online, for which students flock to the library,” said BK Ahire, deputy librarian, University of Mumbai.
“For my course, there is nothing useful available online. I regularly visit my college library for first rate books on design, photography techniques etc from reputed authors,” said Lekha Kambli, student of photography at Rachna Sansad College.
Though the libraries are here to stay for a long time, perhaps a little touch up would do wonders for it.
For now, books on dusty shelves wait in anticipation for more eager hands flipping through their pages.