Mabee Library is receiving a breath of fresh air. New interim dean Alan Bearman and the staff of the library are giving it a much-needed rejuvenation.
While the search for a permanent dean of libraries was unsuccessful, the work that the staff already put into the library resulted in noticeable changes. Many events are planned for the future to draw in students and faculty.
The library should be the center of the university. As a center for academic pursuits and learning, the university must use its library. By using it, the university supports the library. I have heard students who proudly claim that they have gotten through four years at Washburn and never used the library. Granted, with many of the library amenities on the Mabee Library Web site, it is easy to use the library without physically walking into it. On the Web site, students can talk to a librarian via live chat and access the databases. Although some of the couches are not as comfortable as the ones at Barnes and Noble or in one’s own room, that isn’t an excuse to ignore the library.
It is amazing that there are some programs that have loopholes that allow students to bypass the library. What are these programs doing? Why are they not using the resources on campus? Complaints abound about the library, including “I can’t find anything,” “It doesn’t have what I need in it” and “It smells funny.” Firstly, if one cannot find something in the library, it is full of well-trained and knowledgeable librarians who care about the library and care about students finding the information that they need. If you cannot find something in the library that is entirely your own fault for not using library resources properly. Secondly, if Mabee Library does not have what you need in its physical resources, there is a wonderful staff in the Interlibrary Loan department that can find nearly any book on any subject. Also, there are more than 90 databases to which the library subscribes to that can aid in finding books, journal articles and reviews – most of which are attainable through ILL. Finally, if you think the library smells funny, you should probably get over it. Books smell like books. If you smell something other than books either you need a shower, or the kid sitting next to you needs one.
Aside from its powers of research the library also houses extensive Washburn archives that tell the story of the university going all the way back to when it was Lincoln College. These options are what Mabee Library had before this semester, though. Mabee has new laptops in the electronic classroom and big plans for events in the library. Mondays at The Mabee is a new event for honors students and professors. As well, other new events, speakers and physical changes are planned for the library.
The library is not necessarily where students want to spend their Friday nights, but it should be where they want to spend part of their collegiate experience. Academia is an important part of the university, along with student organizations, Greek life and life off campus. Remember the library next time you are writing a paper or doing a project. Google is gradually taking over the world, but it does not know everything yet. Keep an eye out for the library – it seems like it is coming back to life. It still smells like books, though.
For more information, visit the Mabee Library Web site at www.washburn.edu/mabee.