Students should demand modern library resources

Evan Watson/The News

Our view

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

One of the great things about being a Murray State student is having access to Waterfield Library and all the resources that come along with it. Whether you’re doing research for a class project or just goofing off between classes, Waterfield is the place to be. Students have access to a well-equipped selection of desktop computers on the ground floor, as well as the ability to check out laptops, iPads and Chrome Books if need be. Unfortunately, ‘if need be’ is becoming more and more the case with fewer students able to access those services Waterfield provides.

Evan Watson/The News

Evan Watson/The News

As the number of Murray State students grows, so do the number of visitors to Waterfield, and therein lies the problem. With 60 desktop computers and around the same number of laptops, and with an average of 4,000 visitors per day, its not hard to see why students are having difficulties finding access to a computer at Waterfield Library. Adam Murray, dean of University Libraries, has said that adding more desktops is unlikely; an outdated electrical system in place at Waterfield Library, which hasn’t been updated since 1978, is to blame.

This brings up a host of questions all its own. If what Murray is saying is true, one wonders why the University hasn’t bothered to update the electrical system in Waterfield Library in 35 years. Is it just not high up on the list of priorities for the University to have an up-to-date and efficient electrical system? Was there just “no money” to complete such an overhaul, as is the typical claim from the?University administration?

Even if we give the University a pass on not maintaining Waterfield Library, we can’t ignore the fact that there are students currently being underserved by an institution they pay quite a bit of money to attend. Tuition is nothing to sneeze at. We’re paying to come here and we’re still not getting what we’re paying for if we don’t have enough computers to go around for students who need access to them.

The University should do something to address the lack of computers, and it should do it sooner rather than later. If that means updating the electrical system so that it can enter the 21st century, so be it. If it means buying more laptops and thus allowing students more access to them, then so be it.

Doing nothing is not an option, nor is playing the blame game or giving students the run around. “We don’t have the money for it,” is not a valid excuse – as we have said in a previous editorial taking the University to task for ending the 24-hour library during finals’ week – we know that’s not the case. The carry-forward funds (which total in the millions) make a mockery of that claim. The University should quite literally put its money where its mouth is and give students equal access to computers in Waterfield Library.

Bear in mind that none of this is possible without you, reader. If you are seriously concerned about not being able to access computers in Waterfield Library, you’ve got to do something about it. We can’t do it for you. If you want this, you’ve got to be the ones to demand it.

You have to be the ones to write those angry letters to the editor. You have to be the ones to call up the administration and give them an earful about the lack of computers in our libraries.

You have to be the ones to make a fuss at the next Student Government Association or Board of Regents meeting – we just report this stuff. You have to take the next step and make something happen.