Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Trve University is a Library

I found the statement in the title of this post (and yes, the u looked like a v--some sort of effort to appear erudite, I suppose) printed on a sticker glued inside an old book I purchased at a thrift store. I took that statment to heart as evidenced by the thousands of books in my own personal library. Lately, though I've been thinking about the space all those books take up and how difficult it is to find the one I need when I need it.

If the true university is a library, then the Internet is the mother of all libraries. Nowadays, I rarely leave my desk when I need to look something up. Instead, I use a search engine, usually 20 to 30 times a day. Google Scholar is especially useful when searching for stuffy, academic-type references.

If the true university is a library, then the Encyclopedia Brittanica is a little university unto itself. I've been considering giving away my trusty 20-some-odd-volume Brittanica to a little neighborhood thrift shop. The origianal cost of those books must have been in the hundreds of dollars, maybe even in the thousands. Now, they're just outdated dust catchers for the most part. But a thrift store will be able to get at least $5, $10, or even a little more for them. They do look nice on the bookshelf, what with their rich covers and gold lettering.

You can't say that for the Internet.


Blogger Dr. Tammy said...

I have always tended to think of a "library" containing information...information which is potentional knowledge for a reader. A library contains a historical record of other's knowledge. Even though a library is always collecting and growing more information, it still is a collection of just information for the reader...until the reader/learner decides to make it knowledge for themselves.

It seems to me the university CAN be more than just a library which contain information, if it chooses. The university consists of learners, who have personal experiences, thoughts and feelings. When university facilitators (instructors) guide learners toward information, they have the precious opportunity of helping the learner create MEANTINGUFL KNOWLEDGE, based on their interpretation from books, articles, lectures, presentations, personal experiences, thoughts and feelings...all this combined.

So, although a book or article is meaningful knowledge to the author, is it really meaingful knowledge to the reader? I tend to believe that it still remains only "information" to the reader, unless the reader/learner decides to make is personal, meaningful knowledge.

I believe the GOAL of "human" university instructors is to guide learners to find the information and create personal, meaningful knowledge based on their personal experiences, thoughts and feelings.

Humans, who make up the university, are more than a library, but a group of "tour guides" taking learning on a "tour" of information, which will CAN possibily become MEANINGFUL KNOWLEDGE for the individual learner.

8:21 AM  

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