Academic Libraries

I posted my intro and all other info on my homepage under the class roster. So I wll just start this blog with assignment 2.

 1.I personally believe that higher education still has an extremely important role in our country today. I will be the first to admit that not everyone has to go to a traditional 4-year college. Gone is that myth. I believe some student excel in four year universities but many find their place in other academic settings.  The purpose of higher education is for people to find their sense of self and figure out how they fit into the world.

Liberal arts education is a great environment that fosters the idea of self-discovery. I attended a liberal arts school and it helps to create a well-rounded individual. I was a History major who took a Chemistry lab science class. Things like that helped me to go outside my comfort zone a bit. Now, many universities aren’t necessarily liberal arts but still offer a great variety for their students.  These four-year universities allow students to focus on their strengths and excel in them.

In addition to traditional universities, we alos have many good technical colleges and trade schools that train people for many careers that don’t necessarily require attendance at a four-year school. These schools allow students to train in fields that are necessary for our society. We need medical assistants, computer technicians, and mechanics just as much as other professions. These schools have an important place in our society because they provide focused training for many career fields.

Another but equally important type of school are specialized education institutions. These schools offer specialized programs of study in art, theater, and music. Some may say these schools aren’t necessary and are a luxury but they are essential to cultivate individuals with great talents. They help foster talented students to excel in the arts. We as a nation really need to keep the arts alive not only in these schools but in other public universities.

2. In all of the above types of schools, the library plays a very important role in the educational life of the academic institution.  They provide academic support for the particular institution’s educational goals with physical collections and research facilities. Also, the librarians can provide instruction on the use of the library’s resources for the accomplishment of students’ course objectives. The library also acts a place for meeting, study and collaboration. There has been quite a trend in academia to turn the libraries into learning commons, where there is more space for student meetings and workspace. These new libraries have more of a focus on electronic resources as well as physical collections.

3. The organization structure of an academic library can make it or break it. In larger schools with multiple libraries, a hierarchical structure would work better with clearly declined roles and responsibilities so as to avoid confusion. However, in smaller libraries with a smaller staff, one can have a looser structure and still maintain an organized library. It really depends on the leadership at the school and the library’s needs. In my experience at a large public library system, a structure that is too flat creates problems in communication and redundancy. So I can see the need for a strong hierarchy in large institutions.

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