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One could argue that universities originated

from places like the Library of Alexandria, established

23 centuries ago in Egypt. Libraries like

the one in Alexandria attracted the most talented


They contained not only a large number of

papyrus scrolls but also served as botanical gardens,

collections of art and places of residence

for scholars.

When modern universities were built, libraries

occupied a distinctive place where students and

faculty went on an almost daily basis to seek the

information they needed for their studies. But

over the last few decades their role has transformed

and lessened. One reason for this decline

is the spiraling cost of running them while institutions

of higher education – particularly public

ones – face constant budget cuts. Another reason

is the increased availability of scholarly journals

and books in electronic formats that can be

accessed from remote locations, making a visit to

the library less and less necessary.


This work was originally published in The Edwardsville Intelligencer.



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