Thursday, April 05, 2007

Belated April Fools Story

In the spirit of April Fools Day, I belatedly pass along the story from the University of Michigan - Dearborn. It's a hoot, but it may have the ring of truth about it.

"Mardigian Library to remove all books; students won't notice"
Asinusim Inlitteratus
Issue date: 3/27/07

Larry Wormer and Calvin Thorpe duel over one of the few books that were overlooked in the library restructuring. The overachievers made other students look stupid as they clung to the hardcopy. Students visiting UM-D's newly-renovated Mardigian Library will find plenty of room to study and hang out, now that the books are gone.Library administrators undertook the renovations in response to a Student Government petition, removing all books and shelving and installing a state-of-the-art sound system and night club-style lighting. According to the SG petition, the books and shelves were "taking up a lot of unnecessary space that might be better utilized by students who want to see their tuition used to serve their needs."Library Director Timothy Richards explained, "We sold most of the books on eBay and used the money to buy these super sweet strobe lights for the computer lab." He added that library administrators had made the changes with the best interests of students in mind. "We took a good hard look at how best to meet students' needs. We figured no one was using the books, so why not get rid of them? I mean, come on, we all know that students really come here to surf the Internet and make out on the second floor. And with these new innovations, they'll be able to do so much more efficiently."Students visiting the library seemed happy with the changes. Senior education major Helga Dummkopf said, "I guess I never noticed they had books here before because I only came here to buy cappuccino sometimes. But seriously, this is so much cooler, now I really want to come to the library."Mudack Padlo, a junior majoring in comparative literature, echoed Dummkopf's sentiments. "I was never actually inside the library before because I was kind of intimidated by all the books, but it's really more student-friendly now, so I'll be coming here a lot from now on."Aside from making students more comfortable with the library, the book removal has had a positive influence on the library's staff, said Richards. "The changes have really improved morale, the librarians are much happier now," he said. The truth of Richards' statement was attested to by two giggling librarians chasing each other around an unused microfilm reader, while another stood atop the circulation desk giving a rousing a capella rendition of "Fergalicious" as appreciative students looked on.Although the response to the changes has been mostly positive, Richards explained that there was some initial hesitance on the part of some faculty members. "Yeah, a couple of the professors weren't down, they wanted to make waves. It was cool, though. I just had to let them know what's up," said the former Navy Seal, cracking his knuckles menacingly.Faculty and staff have become more supportive of the changes, now that they've seen the positive effects on students and staff, said Richards. "Everyone's on board now, they're all loving it. The whole crew's participating," he said, adding that "Big Stan" (Vice Chancellor Stanley E. Henderson) and "J-Dawg" (CASL Associate Dean Jonathan Smith) were expected to come by later in the evening so Richards could teach them to "walk it out."In addition to this resolution, the SG has proposed a another resolution to add a 25th hour to each day, so as to leave the library open for 25 hours to meet the needs of the students."

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

There is a full page illustration in this week's New Yorker (not available online, alas!), that shows a similar library transformation. There is a small bin of books marked "for bums only" and the rest of the floors are all given over to video images (biography is YouTube, for instance). There is a security guard hauling off an old lady who was caught looking in the books bin. All other users are absorbed with their i-pods plugged in and using video games, computers and viewing stations.