Well, “death” is probably too strong of a word. How about “on life support with me ready to pull the plug”.
Stroll down to the college university library today to pull up a few articles needed for my “huge, colossal, due in four weeks” Literature Review for my final “big” class in college. Some of the articles I need are only available if you pay mucho dollars for them since they are a) relatively new and b) from really obscure journals. Of course, one night of this class took place in the library which spent a few hours going over how to pull stuff up online and how they have access to “special resources” you can’t find on the web, one of which was a huge journal search engine with free access to almost every professional journal out there.
OK, so I take a day off work and start writing said paper. Started pulling everything together so when I head to the library, I can get everything I need to get done as quickly as possible. I get to the library and thankfully it’s dead. Not a single patron inside except for the two people working behind the desk. I asked one of them how to get to the “Journal Search” site, which took all of 30 seconds and started digging. Find the articles I need except, I can’t download them. Nope, those articles are protected and for a fee (higher than what I had already found), I can download them. No mystical access to the files, no “we can do things you can’t do online”.
So what was the point? Seriously, libraries say they can help people find the data they need but in reality; they can’t. The help the one employee provided could have been done over the phone. And the books inside the library? Totally useless for what I’m writing about. And I’m sure this is the same for most of my other classmates.
The data I need for my paper lives on the Internet. I’m sure many other people are finding the same thing. And the point of this screed is the library; something that was the resource for the college is now nothing more than a really quiet student union which serves weird coffees.