Thursday, May 14, 2009

Do Downturns Make Dumb Students?

Image: Dunce by

I've been thinking about how access to information correlates to our collective brain trust. 

Libraries across the nation, and probably the world, have reduced services or are looking to do so.  Of course, there are a staggering number of resources that are available electronically.  However, any good researcher knows that not everything is online or digitized.  This is especially true in the Arts & Humanities.

So the question becomes, "Are we handicapping our students by limiting access?"  Do we have a choice?  I'd argue that we do.  If we value education as a means to global competitiveness and diplomacy, then it's absolutely necessary that we continue to financially support our institutions. 

Of course, it would be naive to suggest we should do so without accountability or making tough decisions.  Without continual auditing and analysis, we would be throwing funds blindly at a problem we don't understand.  Additionally, shifting funds (at a personal, local, state, or national level) would not be easy.  Somebody, somewhere, will feel the pinch.  However, our students' educations really are that important.

Related: ALA & LSTA

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