The case for a university library

Every time I walk past the children’s section in the library, I secretly seethe. Knowing the amount of books we have downstairs, I can’t help but imagine all the space available if all those elementary novelettes would somehow just disappear. Then, of course, I snap back to reality.

When it comes right down to it, the library we use as students wasn’t made to serve us, but instead the community. It isn’t us who can or should demand things of this place. Brantford residents have a right to access free reading materials, to use communal computers and generally have a place to go. Laurier University doesn’t have a right to annex this space and to their eternal credit, they haven’t tried. With all of that settled though, the same gut feeling remains – where is our library?

I know that Laurier Brantford is a progressive campus. Our work with Trellis and other Internet sources of academic archiving has been largely successful, but there’s something profound missing. It breaks my heart that a lot of our resources in the public library are kind of banished to a corner. I think we have approximately one bookcase dedicated to philosophy for the entire campus whereas if you wander the floors of Douglas Library in Kingston, you can see entire flights given to it. Maybe I’m old-fashioned in this way, but seeing a text and reading it firsthand is a much better experience then digging it up online.

I’m not calling for a ten-story blueprint. I’m not wishing for us to conform. What appears imperative though, is that Laurier Brantford understands that creating this place would be worthwhile. It would be a powerful tool for every student and every professor. Laurier Brantford is expanding greatly, more students are joining and more structures are being built.

Now is the time to seriously consider creating our own library. Many, I’m sure, have the fear that it will be small compared to others but that certainly is not mine. Every new venture has to begin at a relatively humble stage. My biggest fear is that 10 years from now, even with a booming population and broadening reputation, students will still discover that the community library only has one shelf dedicated to philosophy.

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