I have a confession to make.
Never have I ever, in the three years at my current* university, borrowed a book from the university library.
I’ll give you a moment to get over the shock.
But I’m honestly thinking this isn’t all that uncommon, especially in this technology-dependent age.
I mean, I love books and reading and libraries, but when it’s more to do with pleasure reading, not research reading.
And I made sure I took the library tour in the Orientation Week of my first semester at this university, so that I knew how their systems worked if I ever needed to borrow a book. But I have never used this knowledge.
Sure, I have referenced books from the university library, but only those books that I was able to view and read online.
Photos sourced from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT)’s flickr.
I haven’t come across many assessment pieces that demand a reference to a physical book. If I recall correctly, only one unit in the last three years had that requirement – and that was a first-year introductory subject, and the intention of the requirement was to ensure students used a variety of sources.
And it’s not as if I don’t use a heap of references – you should see the length of some of my reference lists – it’s just that I work better autonomously (a reason why I don’t particularly enjoy group work) and live a distance from university that makes it inconvenient to travel to look for and borrow a physical book that could be unavailable, when I could just read it online and continue with my assessment.
And sure, on one hand I would encourage students to use the great resource that is the library – it probably is inevitable for some – but on the other, I would also say there are other, more convenient ways to access these sources.
So although you should make sure to use a variety of sources and source types in your research, using physical copies of sources needn’t always be the case.
*I previously studied at a different university. I borrowed books from that library.