September 30, 2020

By ELISSA DEN HOED

Libraries are synonymous with books, but these days, not all of the books at Conestoga College’s Library Resource Centre (LRC) are found on its shelves.
Though print books and e-books are identical in content, e-books, which are downloaded rather than borrowed, are becoming popular with students because of their advantages. They can be viewed by several people at once, unlike a print book, of which the library only has so many copies. They are also available any time, any place where there’s Internet access, including other Conestoga campuses and students’ homes – a feature especially useful for part-time and continuing education students, who are not always on campus for an extended period, or during the LRC’s daytime hours of operation.
E-books are also preferred by many who are visually impaired because the type size can be increased. The LRC now spends over half its annual expenditures on e-books and databases and has about 50,000 titles available at its website, www.conestogac.on.ca/lrc.
Despite the popularity and advantages of e-books, some students still prefer books in the traditional form. Aileen Barron, a student in the one-year TESL program, is aware of the e-book option but still prefers the tactile quality of a physical book that she can physically “flip back and forth” between pages.
A review is held annually to decide which books on the shelves are still relevant. “Just because a book is old,” Information Services co-ordinator Rachel Caldwell said, “doesn’t mean it’s not useful.” Older books that are classics or are on historical material are still useful to the LRC.
The LRC also has an @Ease collection of novels, magazines and, more recently, DVDs, made up of mostly donations.

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