Suggestion Box: Books in the Libraries

Published Dec. 02, 2019
Updated Nov. 02, 2021

Comment / Suggestion: I am a returning student. I stopped in to the library at the beginning of the semester and was dismayed to find many computers but few books. The last time I used a library I could get lost for hours searching the stacks. Today libraries look like skeleton offices with some computers scattered around. There was still renovation happening at Hayden and I hope that is the only reason. When I go to a library I want to browse rows and rows of physical books, I want to hold them in my hands, look through them to see what might interest me, and what I need for an assignment. It is sad to see so many libraries, both public and institutional, trading real books for computers. Tragic, to walk into a library and not smell books. The search is not the same, nor is it better. I am not suggesting you get rid of the computers, but please don't reject the books. We lose a lot by doing that. Computer searches and transfers cannot replace the benefits of immediate access to the information in books. How can we get the books back?

Library Response: We understand your concern about the differences in libraries, especially ASU Library locations, currently. We know that for many, including ourselves, the presence of books in a library represents the essence of what a library is, and what it can be. We want to emphasize that print materials - books - are very important to the ASU Library, and planning on how to manage that core part of our institution drove a lot of behind the scenes work during the Hayden renovation. When Hayden Library reopens, you'll be able to find a number of book collections on multiple floors. In our efforts to develop ways to make our print collections more visible and usable, the ASU Library has shifted to a more flexible, user-driven approach that has produced more inclusive, high-quality print collections for ASU students and scholars. Find out more about the book collection in Hayden Library specifically in Hayden2020: The books are returning. More information about this process can be found on the Future of Print web site.

We are also shifting collections to better utilize the space and invite exploration in other libraries as well, especially the Noble Library on the Tempe campus. Those changes will start to be apparent by mid-spring semester in 2020.