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Schools taking a closer look at their library facilities

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Back when you went to school, you probably spent hours amongst the stacks of books in your university library. But those stacks are now shrinking.

Langara College is among the schools taking a closer look at their library facilities.

Ian Humphreys, Langara’s Associate Vice President of Student Development, says their library opened just five years ago, but lots has changed since then.

“In 2008, our electronic collection amounted to about 500 pieces,” says Humphreys. “Currently, so in four years, our electronic collection has exceeded 65,000 pieces.”

He points out technology is changing so fast, it’s hard to keep up.

‘”The one that really is quite shocking is the Ipad, which made its debut in April of 2010, so it’s really only two years old, and yet it’s become ubiquitous as a device for accessing online information,” Humphreys explains.

Patricia Cia, the school’s head of library services, says with more digital assets, some print collections are being cut, starting with reference books.

“We’re reducing that to probably a third,” she says. “Our print journals we’ve reduced again probably to half of what we had before.”

She admits the demand is dropping off for printed materials.

“Some things are better served in a print format, but a lot of our students now are looking for the online resources, the ability to either access them from within our building, or from home.”

Renovations are already underway, as Langara launches an extensive review of library operations to shape the next decade.

The changes will see some of the old stacks replaced by a new writing centre, tutoring facilities, and study space equipped with computers.

As part of the review moving forward, students, administrators, and faculty will all be asked how they expect to use the library in the future.

The school hopes to establish a new strategy for the Langara library over the next year.