L.I.F.E.: Libraries and librarians

It’s Week 4 of this semester, and some students still don’t know where the library is. An unscientific poll — pursued by none other than yours truly — gave me a cause to worry.

Last week, I asked no fewer than 27 students if they could tell me where the Weber State University library was located — and the results were a bit saddening. I think there might have been a few people who simply didn’t care to help me, secretly knowing where they could direct me to find the spot.

Of the 27 students I asked, only 14 could give me correct directions. Alas, two or three among the 27 thought they knew where one could find the library, but gave me directions leading to the Browning Center, Building 4 and somewhere I did not really understand.

I know, I know. I hear the cries already: “But some of these are freshmen, Mr. Spicker. Freshmen!!!”

Nonetheless, a student’s first tool to great grades (and I think a great place to hang out) could easily be the library. Rows upon rows of top-o’-the-notch computers, quiet and non-quiet places where, respectively (I hope), students can study individually or groupally (OK, I made up that last word up . . . how about non-individually?). Man, I really like those adverbs.

I don’t know what to do about students’ “misinformation-itis” or “lack-of-being-informed-itis” but something has got to be done!

Another thing of equally great concern: it’s apparent that many students don’t know how to use a  librarian. Just Friday, I popped into the library to talk to a few of ‘em. Boy, were they cheery and willing to help. In fact, they would be worthy of Jane and Michael Banks’ approval (and would meet with every standard they wrote in that nanny-seeking letter of theirs . . . except maybe that stanza about castor oil).

Note to yourself: Go and watch Mary Poppins on DVD, VHS or on YouTube if you haven’t seen it lately. It’s really great. In fact, I’ve always promised myself to find a woman like Mary Poppins: practically perfect in every way. And look at her chompers — she’s got a nice set of teeth and a strong back.

Meanwhile, in library land. . .

Did you hear?  The library has cool places to hang out. They’ve got couches in front of a widescreen TV hooked up to a PS3, a Wii and even an Xbox. The best part: games included! So, right after you have a one-on-one with a research librarian and learn about the art and science (gotta love those Boolean operators!) of making search queries in Academic Premier or in any other of the hundreds of article databases, you can go hang out with your friends and play a nice, relaxing game of Halo.

All in all, don’t be afraid of the library or the librarians. They won’t bite (heck, the library physically cannot bite, while the humans can — but they won’t, I promise!). To those who remain in high-school mode and were accustomed to one-building-fits-all, find yourself a map and get familiarized with WSU’s layout! I promise you that you will not regret it.

And remember the wise words once sung on PBS’s Arthur: “Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card!”