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Setting an example: Opening the stacks

Why I contribute to the Library Fund
February 10, 2016
By Thomas Hobley

Thomas Hobley in 2015 Thomas Hobley in 2015

When I began at Sir George Williams University in the mid-1960s, the library was in the YMCA building on Drummond St. At the time it had “closed stacks,” meaning that students could not physically enter the stacks to search for and borrow books.

Instead, we would first look up the desired books in card catalogues, fill out request slips and hand the slips to library staff, who would go into the stacks and retrieve the books. If the books did not meet our needs, they were returned and the process started over again. It could take a few iterations to acquire the correct books.

Search time increased proportionally with the complexity of the project being researched, and increased dramatically at certain times of the day or week, when other students were attempting to get the books they needed. Students had to queue to get access to the knowledge we needed. The process was, to say the least, time consuming.

While the library did have the books we required for the work and remained the go-to place for finding accumulated knowledge, one had to plan to use it effectively and not fritter away that valuable, non-renewable resource: time.

The days of closed stacks are long gone. Yet even in today’s world, where much of the access is virtual, there are still impediments to getting to necessary resources — mostly due to the cost of journals, books and other media.

That’s why I contribute to Concordia’s Library Fund — to help reduce whatever physical or virtual impediments exist today.”

—Thomas Hobley, BEng (elec.) 71


Setting an example

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