The B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library

Your connection to the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University

vol. 7 no. 1, Spring 2000

Why We Still Need Libraries in the New Millennium
Albert Einstein once quipped, "I never think about the future. It comes soon enough." However, as we embark on a new millennium, it is impossible to take this advice. Everyone from businesspeople, scientists, media pundits, futurists and college professors are making predictions about all aspects of our political, scientific, and social life. While forecasts range from grim apocalyptic warnings to wildly optimistic visions, not a single institution has escaped analysis ... including libraries.

Like everything else in this technological age, libraries are profoundly changing. The Internet and the enormous impact of electronic media have transformed the way people use, view, and search for information. Computers now allow homes and offices to become information portals, a role traditionally belonging to libraries. Indeed, the easy availability of these electronic resources has led some to question the place that libraries will have in the next millennium. However, the Internet will not be able to replace libraries any more than home videos replaced movies. The future will hold a place for both of them. There is no doubt that the role of libraries will change, but the essential mission of a library will remain the same.

Libraries will continue to ensure that everyone is entitled to free access to information. The Internet, as an industry, is still in its adolescence, and like any market is changing as it matures. When a market matures, the players in the market consolidate and the industry becomes dominated by several large companies. The impact that the consolidation will have on the availability of information has yet to be determined. However, even now, some trends are emerging, and information that started out "for free" is turning into "for a fee." One company is using a model based on the popular Priceline, a web site where surfers bid on prices for hotels, cars and even mortgages. The new company, InfoRocket, allows users to ask for a piece of information and then name the price they are willing to pay. If this trend continues, then the economically disadvantaged will become society's information poor. Libraries, as they always have, will continue to ensure that no one is denied access to information.

"Only 1% of 1/100th of all information is available on the Internet"

The library is certainly more than a holding place for information. However, as old-fashioned as this concept sounds, libraries are still a storage house for books, monographs, texts, journals, and videos. A high-ranking IBM executive estimates that in 1999 only 1% of 1/100th of all information is available on the Internet. Creating a bridge between print and electronic sources will continue to be a challenge for libraries (and librarians). While it may be surprising that not everything is available on the Internet, the average person has access to more information than at any other point in history. Terms like "information explosion" and "information overload" have been so overused that they have become cliches.

Librarians will continue their role in helping people navigate through these vast and sometimes overwhelming resources. Finding, using, and evaluating information are essential skills people need in order to be successful in today's society. Promoting information literacy will be an ongoing goal.

"The library was the only facility on campus whose use had any effect on student retention."

Libraries will continue to be important in the academic experience. A study as far back as the 1920's shows a correlation between library use and student retention. Even when the length of time studying is the same, students who study in the library as opposed to elsewhere are more likely to stay in school. And of all the facilities on the college campus, the library has the greatest impact on college students. A later study evaluated student use of university facilities and found the library was the only facility on campus whose use had any effect on student retention. These studies only hint at the valuable role the library has in promoting lifelong learning.

There are some that question whether the library as a place on campus is necessary in this technological age. Of course, there are some that believe that the college campus will become obsolete, replaced by corporations promotmg distance learning taught by celebrity professors. However, others would argue that the library is the very environment where the actual physical building is one of the most important elements. In his new book High Tech, High Touch: Technology and Our Search for Meaning, futurist John Naisbitt writes that we are living in a "technologically intoxicated zone" where people are "distanced and distracted." To counter the feelings of alienation caused by technological immersion, people are yearning for a "high touch." In other words, people are looking for an emotionally satisfying existence and a place to belong. Today's students are confronting their own ambivalence towards technology. C.W Post senior Jason Cancellieri states, "I think it is important that we do not let computers and the Internet lead us to believe that we do not need a library. Technology is growing at an unbelievable rate, but we should not put all our faith into machines." Both the college campus and the library itself provide an important sense of community.

The library in the future will be very different than it is today. Any predictions of what it would be like in a thousand years from now would inevitably start sounding like bad science fiction. True, the library will change, but the fundamental principles of what a library stands for will remain the same. It will always be a place where no one is denied access to information; where people can find help navigating through the vast web of technology; where books, monographs and materials are kept; where information literacy is promoted; where there is a sense of community, and where lifelong leaning is cherished. It holds an important place in our future.

Nancy Marino, Center for Business Research

Virtual Reference
Check out Teachnet for lesson plans, activities, teacher freebies, reviews, and additional links for meeting diverse educational objectives.

Ejoumal SiteGuide: A MetaSource provides a select, annotated set of links to sites for e-journals.

An easy way to access both Teachnet and Ejoumal SiteGuide, as well as extensive lists of other informative web sites covering various subject disciplines, is through Reference's Virtual Reference Collection. The web sites listed here, carefully selected by the Library's knowledgeable professionals, ensure that you have access to information that is both authoritative and informative. The Virtual Reference Collection allows you to easily access web sites that are sure to become favorites and stay informed about new web sites in your area of interest.

Database Update
The Library has just acquired access to Carl Corporation's Dialog@CARL-Basic Collection through EmpireLink. EmpireLink is a New York State Library pilot project designed to provide the people of New York State with free access to many online databases. It has been funded through a federal grant for a three year period. Among the databases it will include is Newsday, providing full-text coverage from 1987 to the present.

The full-text of National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Papers, from November 1994 to the present, is now available via any computer connected to the University network. NBER researchers initially report their findings in papers of which nearly 500 per year are subsequently published in scholarly journals. Subject areas covered include aging, children, developing countries, labor, productivity, and more.

The Center for Business Research (CBR) has purchased a University-wide online subscription to the CCH Internet Tax Research NetWork. It is accessible by going to the Library's list of online databases This replaces the CBR's print subscription to the Standard Federal Tax Reporter and provides access to the latest tax news, detailed explanations, analysis, cases, and a wealth of other primary source material. The CCH online subscription is being provided in addition to the RIA online subscription already in place.

Database Instruction
Are you finding all the new electronic resources available to you at the Library a little overwhelming? Would you like to have the Library's professional staff show you or your students how to get the most out of the Library's electronic resources or the Internet? Individualied or group instruction is always available. Please call either the Reference Department (x2305) or the Center for Business Research (x2310) to make an appointment.

What's New
Are you looking for a particular periodical? Do you want to find out if it is included in the Library's periodicals collection? Just click on Find a Periodical on the Periodical Department's homepage for a list of Library journal subscriptions. Besides holdings information for the C.W. Post Campus Library, you can also discover which periodicals are held within the Library and Information Science Library, the Center for Business Research, or at the Southampton and Brentwood Campuses. If the journal is not available at any of these locations, you can link to the OCLC Union List of Periodicals (now: OCLC WorldCat) to find out which libraries in the area have the title by simply typing "NY" after the name of the journal. For periodical titles that have ceased, been cancelled, or have undergone title changes contact the Periodicals Department at x2872.

The Library's Rare Book Collection was recently privileged to be the recipient of a significant collection of books, pamphlets, historic flags, maps, wills, deeds, letters, and other documents connected with the history of Long Island. The materials were generously donated by the Cedar Swamp Historical Society. A number of the collection's documents and flags were recently on view at the Nassau County Museum of Art exhibition "American Revolution."

Stop by to check out these and other recent additions to the Library's reference collection:

The foundation of a collection of primary sources documenting prominent Long Island business leaders and institutions was established with the recent donation of the papers of Long Island banker Arthur T. Roth to Long Island University. The papers, which are housed in the Center for Business Research, are available to researchers interested in studying the banking industry on Long Island from 1926 through the 1970s.

New equipment and software are currently available in the Periodicals Department to aid blind, visually handicapped, and learning disabled students with their research. These devices change print into sound, enlarge words, and access both databases and the Internet.

Vending cards worth five dollars to be used for making photocopies in the library were given out to blood donors during the blood drive on March 1. Over 100 cards were distributed to students, faculty and administrators who were delighted to receive them.

People in the News
The Library is fortunate to welcome Assistant Professor Mary Kate Boyd-Byrnes to the Reference Department. Professor Boyd-Byrnes previously worked in the Acquisitions Department and as an adjunct in many Library departments.

Visit the Library to read the entry on Webmaster and Reference Librarian, Robert Delaney, in the Millennium Edition of Who's Who in America.

Look for an entry by Professor Melvin Sylvester, head of the Periodicals Department, in the forthcoming Encyclopedia of the Great Plains published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska.

The article "Combining Access with Ownership: Meeting the Need for Business Articles in Academic Libraries," authored by Assistant Professor Dona McDermott of the Center for Business Research, was recently accepted for publication in The Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery and Information Supply.

Congratulations to Acquisitions Librarian Emily Walshe and her family upon the birth of Liam Padraig.

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