Thursday, October 16, 2008

Opinion Piece: Library Extention




All you ever hear around campus these days is the whirring noise of drills and the clanking of heavy machinery. Originally one might think that Rhodes is on a maintenance campaign, what with all the peeling paint, the deteriorating walls and the general disrepair – not so. Instead all energies, labour and money are being directed towards the extension of the Rhodes library(http://www.ru.ac.za/modules/blog_include/blog_content.php?blog_id=303).


When our society today is visibly moving from the information of books to computer literacy I find it laughable that the ‘powers that be’ deem fit that Rhodes should remain with its archaic reputation pouring its money in to the “wonderful development” of the new library. Complaining that the campus is running out of space, Rhodes University has decided to invest in a library which will contain the 450 000 volumes, yet all of the information contained in the books can be stalled in minimal megabital space! I also want to know what goes on behind all those closed doors on the first and second floors. According to my calculations, there is sufficient space in this ‘off-limit’ zone to expand.


The one advantage that the building of the extension to library is its aiding South Africa in its unemployment (oops, I meant employment) policy. Already overstaffed with grumpy, ‘don’t care two hoots’ staff who are seemingly employed to type personal e-mails, Rhodes will not only need to employ more library staff but construction staff.


When more than half of South Africa’s population( http://www.naledi.org.za/docs/Poverty%20and%20unemployment%20in%20South%20Africa%20Feb%202006.pdf) are struggling to survive it is deemed fit that one should expand what one already has, effectively decreasing the rest of your community’s wealth. Spending R90-million on a building which can at any time be burn down, flooded or even blown away by a tornado (one can never be sure with Grahamstown weather) seems a waste when a third of our fellow South Africans are struggling to survive.


Another ‘advantage’, as the motivators of the project regard the extension, is the unity which will be achieved in housing all departmental books under one roof. Can you imagine precise, meticulous physicists being in close proximity to the over exuberant, flamboyant characters of the drama department? Or if that doesn’t work what about paint smeared, over creative Fine Art Students working along side Geologists who hypothesis when a particular type of gem suddenly changes colour to a luminous green. Well, I suppose it would provide an interesting case study for the psychologists!


Lecturers claim that the ‘beep beep’ of a received message is disconcerting yet they are happily oblivious to the beeping signalling the reversing trucks, the continual roaring of cement mixers and the ear piercing explosions. Noise pollution smears the air while doing that last minuet ‘tut’ in the library or having that journ interview over a cup of coffee at the Kaif. I hate to think how the nearby residents cope, I originally thought it was due to the promise of earplugs, yet these have never materialized. And are we going to have communal earplugs for passers-by and areas located within the area? Well cabbages would definitely be cheaper, even beating Fruit and Veg.


With all the emphasis of being designed as an environmentally friendly building, with its “natural lighting, natural cooling and sensible use of power” the fact that an avenue of trees had to be forfeited is totally forgotten. It is ironic that the librarians have catalogued sections of books on the destruction of eco-systems, the crisis caused by deforestation and the hot topic of global warming not realizing that they play a part; in turning the page of that book (what is paper made of?) and actively destroying what little resources they had the authority to protect!
What more can one say about this horrific scheme to destroy students, fee payers and our environment? One can only conclude that the project is anything but what the protagonists claim!

1 comment:

Mazet said...

I do not see what your issue with the new library is because you should know better than any one how the library helps us humanities students. Our degree can only be obtained if we read and read in abundance. Sitting in front of a computer screen and trying to access an article is a lot of admin and it is also time consuming. What more having to read the article on the screen? Not everybody has got a good eyesight that permits them to sit in front of the screen for hours, people struggle with sitting in front of the computer because of their eyesights and also it being a lot of work and can be an unreliable source. Some of the people who are students here are not really computer literate and might prefer taking a book out of the library and making copies of the parts that they need, this saves time and also is easy to use.
The library is been extended to help you and not to waste money,it is a way of trying to ensure that people have all they need for their degrees at their disposal so that people do not come up with excuses saying that the university does not support them with their studies.

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