Letter to the editor: Alum upset with library decision

The last time I wrote something for the Spartan, things were a bit different. It was fall of 2021, and we weren’t sitting as close to seeing the name “Castleton University” banished to the ethers of history as we are now. Those who know me may wonder if my opinion on the name has changed as we close in on the two-year mark of that article. 

Spoiler alert: it hasn’t.

Frankly, I thought that that letter to the editor would be the last time that my name would be seen in the bylines of the paper I used to write for. But, I still like to keep my eyes on the news from my old stomping grounds. I found something to write about. And sometimes, they’ll spare some ink for me.

As of July of this year, Vermont State University’s library is going all digital. What that means, from my understanding in reading their press release, is that after the first of July, you will no longer be able to walk into any library in the university’s system and check out a physical book. The current library materials are to be offered up to the VSCS community. The spaces that the books now occupy are to be reimagined into common and study spaces. 

I don’t disagree with every single part of the plan, as it was laid out. I’m not unfamiliar with not having a physical library to go to as a student. As a proud alumnus of CCV, I can tell you that having access to Vermont Tech’s Hartness Library to access research materials was invaluable. With Hartness, however, we were still able to get physical copies of books to our hands if we needed it. And that’s the one part of the plan that I disagree with.

For some people, using digital source materials works perfectly well. In fact, it’s an asset, especially since in a physical book, you can’t change the font size, or have it read out loud. This has opened the wide world of reading for people who otherwise had no other way to before digital media was brought forward.

But there are some people out there, like myself, who are tactile, meaning that they learn and understand better by being able to see something physical as opposed to something on a screen. If you get rid of the physical copies of these books, this may prove to be a disadvantage for people who learn better in this way. And that, I think, is what disappoints me the most about this announced change. I’m all for progress, but I don’t believe in leaving behind systems that currently work.

I’m not going to waggle my finger and cry foul about this. I’m not even going to say I’m angry. It’s measured progress, which is a key part of the human existence.

I just can’t help but think there’s a better way.

– Adam Cook

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