Inside USD

Byrd: University Libraries Remain Quite Relevant

Thursday, July 21, 2011

While advancements in technology threatens newspapers, books and even television, libraries, University of San Diego Librarian Theresa Byrd, PhD, contends, remain quite relevant.

Byrd, a librarian for 30 years, addressed her position during her lecture entitled, “The Modern Library…What The Future Holds For These Treasures,” to lifelong learners in USD’s University of the Third Age program on July 19.

Technology is changing everyone’s lives and, inevitably, changing libraries. Some suggest that advances in technology eliminates the need for libraries, but Byrd (pictured) believes that a combination of old and new technology makes the strongest information hub.

“The media puts out the wrong idea that all information can be found online and that libraries are irrelevant,” she said. “The truth is that libraries are now hybrids of print and digital technology. Both are great and they support each other.”

Libraries have always been repositories of information, but the way people access the information is changing. For example, instead of a professor putting a book on reserve and asking students to go to the library to read it, professors can upload an electronic copy of the material and students have 24/7 access via the Internet. They can also print their own copy of the material.

Byrd reminded the audience that libraries have always been at the heart of universities. In recent years, universities have invested millions of dollars to build new libraries that are adapting to meet the needs of modern college students. There are outlets everywhere for students to plug in their laptops and other devices. In addition to being plugged in, students today are very collaborative and often study in groups. Newly renovated university libraries include plenty of group study spaces, something Byrd supports at Copley Library along with a need for more storage space.

Students today study late, too. Many university libraries are open late and some are even open 24/7 and have cafes. Copley Library is open during the school year from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. each day with adjusted hours during the summer and Internsession. During the two weeks that center on final exams, the library is open 24 hours and a coffee cart is available.

Byrd, who arrived at USD last year after serving as the director of libraries at Ohio Wesleyan University, is straightforward when she says, “I simply enjoy libraries and working with students and faculty.”

The passion Byrd exhibits ensures that Copley Library can be to the USD campus community what it needs most — a quiet space on campus to study, read and learn, and use a computer for years to come.

— Ellie Faulkner ‘11

To learn more about USD’s Copley Library and USD’s School of Law Legal Research Center, click here.

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