The printed word is dead: Kill the library skills

Imagine this: you’re at your adviser’s office, waiting for him to tell you that you’re almost ready to graduate from Temple University and head into the real world! In your mind, you imagine how it

Imagine this: you’re at your adviser’s office, waiting for him to tell you that you’re almost ready to graduate from Temple University and head into the real world!

In your mind, you imagine how it will feel to walk up to the podium in the Liacouras Center and receive your diploma while your loved ones applaud loudly and proudly at the adult Temple has made you.

But something your adviser says jolts you back into reality. It’s your library test.

“What library test?” you ask.

And then you vaguely remember someone at the incoming student orientation mentioning something about it to you.

Then, like a domino effect, you recall bits of conversation with classmates, you remember them mainly venting their frustration at the utter stupidity of library tests.

“Oh no!” you gasp, as your adviser explains the need for you to take the Library Skills Workbook test to graduate.

While he goes on, you recall the one in high school: searching for the heavy books on the slip given to you by the librarian.

The purpose of the Library Skills Workbook, according to Paley Library’s web site, “is to enable you to find information as easily and independently as possible.” Every student who wishes to graduate from Temple is required to take the workbook test.

Taking the workbook test now is much easier than before.

Just log on to the library’s homepage and click on the Library Skills Workbook link. From there, the computer program guides and instructs you, making the task hassle free.

Although it may be hassle free, it is time consuming. The workbook can take up to one hour of your time – time that could otherwise be spent on class work or other research.

I understand that knowing how the library works is important if you’re going to use it.

Knowing where certain Paley stacks are and how to find them can be a fruitful lesson, and will prevent you from (let’s say) getting scared on the third floor.

For those who don’t know, being on the third floor is like being in a maze with fluorescent lighting and books surrounding 50 percent of you. Walking among those large stacks can be quite daunting to say the least.

However, if you are web-savvy and are able to go online and find information from there, what use is the workbook?

I know many people who don’t even step into the library; they do all their research on their computers at home.

Imagine the horror they will feel, having to virtually go into the library, trying to pass a test for something they have no use for.

The library administration may counter by saying that it is very helpful for those who require books from the library. I agree with them there.

However, I don’t think it should be required that every student take it.

Once you leave Temple, it’s high unlikely you will use a library like Paley again.

So what’s the point of knowing how Paley Library works, especially when you’re about to leave Temple, as are many seniors?

The library administration could make things easier for students by not making the test a requirement. Thus, people who don’t intend to ever use a physical library don’t need to know about it.

If people do require help in locating books, the administration could point them to the workbook and explain how it will help them find that certain book.

With this resolution, it will benefit both the library and the students: the library administration won’t have to hear students’ complaints and students who are interested in the library will genuinely learn about the workings of the library.

As for me, I took the workbook last semester. However, I don’t recall the majority of it. The only thing that fascinated me was how they managed to make the program as real as possible and managed to have a sort of applet with two windows running consecutively.

This is handy information to take with me once I graduate, isn’t it?

You can find out more information about the Library Skills Workbook at Paley Library’s homepage or by using this link:

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