Editorial: Get to know Booth Library before papers begin

Staff Editorial

The library is the heart of the university. Universities invest a great deal of money into building, maintaining and staffing them. This is not because university administrators are old-fashioned and like the smell of books. The reason is simple: libraries are extremely useful. Therefore, you should use them.

It has become cliché to dismiss the library as useless in the age of the internet. But while the internet is undoubtedly valuable, about 90% of the information found there is junk. It is often factually inaccurate, biased or simply poorly written. Of the 10% remaining, about 90% of that is behind a pay wall, because carefully researched, unbiased and well-written material is tough work, and people like to be paid for it.

If you are writing a paper, you will want the best information available, and for that, there is still no better place to go than the library. It gives you access to millions of books and journal articles, which are often better sources of information because they take much more work to publish than most internet articles.

Of course, books and journals are not automatically trustworthy. You must still apply critical thinking skills before you use them for a paper. Nor is the internet completely untrustworthy. But while the two may seem to contain the same amount of knowledge, the library has a much greater density of reliable knowledge.

In addition, at the library, you will have access to information that simply cannot be found on the internet yet, such as the most recent research on any topic. It is inaccurate to call the library “old-fashioned” because it is always on the cutting edge of new information. Libraries even pay hefty sums to get you past those pay walls where most of the 10% of good information on the internet is found.

Booth Library is an excellent library, and the staff there seem to have thought of everything to make reliable knowledge accessible. It has books organized meticulously by subject. It provides a quiet atmosphere so you can focus on getting knowledge from the page to your mind. Librarians are on hand all day and night to answer questions, and many have studied for years in graduate schools to become as effective at their jobs as possible.

They even offer tours each semester, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, in case anyone feels overwhelmed or simply curious. The tours will be available this semester until Feb. 2nd.

We at The News advise that you visit the heart of the university, preferably before you start typing your first paper. You will need the most reliable knowledge possible. So go to the place where knowledge is sought after, valued and respected: the library.