Oklahoma State Library Moving Towards The Future

Wednesday, January 15th 2014, 11:09 pm
By: Tess Maune

Stacks of Dickens and Twain are disappearing in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State University is retiring the classics, and making room for a 21st Century library.

The traditional book is far from extinction, but with the birth of the digital age comes a rebirth of libraries across the country, including at OSU.

The Edmon Low Library opened its doors to Oklahoma State students for the first time in 1953.

Bonnie Cain-Wood, with the Oklahoma State Libraries, said, "It's a place for inspiration, a place for learning and a place for being inspired."

The way students learn and find that inspiration is in a state of transition.

Wood says OSU's library has shelves stocked with more than four million books. But, it's the books you don't see when you walk in, that students are requesting.

Michael Vestal an OSU Sophomore, said, "You can get online and you can get anything you want to in seconds, you don't have to spend looking for them or researching them."

To accommodate the digital need, OSU will soon be boxing up thousands and thousands of books and moving them across campus to a new Library Auxiliary Facility that can hold up to 1.5 million.

"We have massive collections of e-books and electronic databases and journals," Wood said, "We're really struggling to find space for all of the things that we need to do in this building."

The new building will be ready near the end of the year.

Wood said students want more laptops, computer labs and more space for group or solo study time. The only way to do that is to archive traditional books, though not all of them, because there are students who still prefer to read the old-fashioned way.

"I like to have the paper copies in my hand," said Wood.

The reinvention of Edmon Low will happen slowly, but with the future in mind.

"In 1953, no one could imagine what we would need to do in this building, so part of giving us that space is making sure that we have a facility that is flexible enough for the things that we can't imagine right now," Wood said.

Students will still be able to check out books that are moved to the auxiliary center, there will just be a short waiting period before students can pick them up.