Despite increased availability of electronic reading applications and devices, library circulation numbers are still on the rise at Odum Library.
When asked how many books have been checked out this year compared to previous years, Interim Librarian Dr. Alan Bernstein said, “As many as ever.”
“I know it bucks the system right now for most academic institutions but the numbers don’t lie,” Dr. Berstein said.
According to Dr. Bernstein, circulation numbers for the last fiscal year concluded at 27,800 books. This year the number is already at 25,300 with three more months to go.
Bernstein suggests a number of reasons that could explain why the circulation numbers have remained so steady for VSU.
“There are still a lot of books that have not been digitalized yet,” Dr. Bernstein said. “Another reason could be that professors might be assigning projects that require checking out books which might account for it.”
Although Odum library has not experienced a downfall in its circulation numbers since the rise and demand of e-readers, the library is doing all it can to stay above the power curve by getting on board with the e-book movement .
According to Sherrida Crawford, automated systems coordinator at Odum, the library has approximately 32,000 digitalized books available for download to your desktop, iPhone, kindles, nook, or any other e-reader devices that support the PDF format.
“The e-book content we have has been available on desktop for years and has recently in the last six months been made available for download,” Crawford said. “14,400 Galileo books were added in 2001. A later collection of 12,000 was acquired in 2003 and another was added just last year.”
Downloading e-books from Odum library is a fairly simple process and instructional guides are available to students in the central library on the second floor.
Although there are several benefits to the e-book format, including a definite and timely book return, and the convenience of storing multiple books in one device, Crawford said she believes physical books still have a valuable place in the library.
“In my experience one format does not generally replace another,” Crawford said. “Our users want both, they use both and we will provide both.”
According to Crawford, although the e-books cover all disciplines of academia, there is an underrepresentation of books for pleasure reading.
“The e-books were developed for college libraries or academia and occasionally nonfiction or fiction that has been labeled classics,” Crawford said.
Student-views pertaining to Odum’s release of e-reader friendly texts are varied.
Some students believe the library has not publicized the availability of e-books well enough for students to benefit from them.
Tiara Schinnery, a sophomore nursing major, said, “They haven’t even made it known to us that we can get actual books, so how am I supposed to know that there are e-books? They do not notify you of anything. If there was more information about these books I think students would use them more.”
Other students are appreciative of Odum’s efforts to remain current in the technology scene.
Ranesha Jackson, a senior early childhood education major, said she is glad that they finally provided e-books that she can download to her e-reader.
“It sure takes away the hassle of carrying around a lot of books,” Jackson said.
Other students are less interested in the e-books and continue to use the library to check out physical books.
Azimah Caines, a sophomore sports medicine major, said she still enjoys checking out books but recognizes the benefit of e-reader devices.
“I actually just returned a book this morning,” Caines said. “I would love to have a Kindle or any other e-reader because they are so convenient and you can access all of your books and magazines from that one device, but I can’t afford to pay for one of those now.”
The library has yet to detect a circulation trend concerning e-book sessions, as library circulation numbers are reviewed at the close of the fiscal year and Odum has only had e-books available for approximately six months.