at Houston has announced that it is removing almost all the books from its undergraduate library to provide space for a digital learning center, where students can use computers to access a wide variety of information. University officials are proud to be leading a trend.
It is good to see academia catching up with technology. But what are the repercussions of this shift? I am thinking about this from various perspectives: Teacher, researcher, author and reader.
When I became a doctoral student, my department chairman sent me a list of 45 books for the summer before by studies commenced. Initially I thought of picking one or two favorite titles, but a telephone call clarified the issue: I was to read every single book, and discuss them intelligently in our seminar. So I made sure that I had prescription sunglasses and went to work!
Today, whenever I assign two chapters of a book to my students for our next meeting, I get requests for clarification. I know that I am becoming outdated in my reading demands and the removal of books at UT will only hasten the demise of my apparently tyrannosaurical expectations.