I think when I was an undergrad 40 years ago, I may have studied at the college library once, maybe twice, in four years.
This semester alone, I’ve used Villanova’s library three times as a place to study before my Calc tests.
It seems like the ideal place to study. I can spread all of my stuff out on a table – textbook, notebooks, laptop, calculator – and study with no distractions. I’ve even found “my spot”. It’s at a table on the third floor, in one of the corners, and I sit facing the wall. There’s an outlet for my laptop and a window looking at on campus. Really, life doesn’t get much better than that…
I’ve also been amazed at how popular the library seems to be as a place to study. Maybe it was that way when I was in college as well, I just never bothered to find out. And as a faculty member I haven’t found much need to physically visit the library, as most of what I need can be found online.
The libraries of today are also quite different from the libraries of the 1970s. Beyond the obvious impact that technology has had on libraries, it seems as if colleges have added coffee bars and lounges as a way to draw students in.
If that’s what it takes to get students in, then so be it. Perhaps students will realize, like I am just doing now, 40 years later, what a wonderful place the library is for studying.
And I think the sooner they realize that, the more successful they will be in their classes. After all, that is what college is supposed to be about.