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I think a lot about how libraries are perceived these days. I have met students who see libraries as wonderful welcoming places, and others who find libraries intimidating and institutional. It’s not just students who feel that way about libraries–a scholar and librarian writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education that he, had an encounter with a special collections librarian that made him feel unwelcome. I should say here, I’m pretty unsympathetic to his dilemma, descending as he did on a private library of unique items, and expecting to be able to page through the books right off. However, I think it’s interesting fodder for conversation.
In fact, I think the most interesting part of that column is the comments section–it contains a lively discussion about what librarians and patrons want from Special Collections. I think that many of the same points can be made about libraries generally. It can frequently be difficult to balance what patrons desire with what is necessary to keep the library functioning well, and to provide access to information.
So, how do you feel about libraries? How do you feel about Atkins in particular? Now that people are using the library 24/7, it seems busier than ever. I think at least some of you are here because you like it.
Or am I wrong?