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Library sees drop in book check-outs, but resources remain popular among students

By Paola Garcia, For The Miami Student

First-year Emily Ward walks to King Library to get some homework done. Although heading to the library, she passes by shelves of books and heads to a study room to meet with some classmates.

Ward is part of an increasing population of college students who primarily use the library not for books, but for other available services.

As technology is rapidly changing, the need to check out books at King Library is decreasing, making the library's available resources adapt to better fulfill students' needs.

As of Dec. 1, 2,932 undergraduates currently have 7,893 library items checked out. These include library books, other reading materials, laptops and headphones. The undergraduate student that has checked out the greatest number of items during their semesters at Miami has 185 items.

Rob Withers, Libraries and Armstrong Institute of Media Studies (IMS) instructor, said despite fewer printed books being checked out, librarians have kept their traditional role of guiding users to resources.

"As most finding aids, journals, and books have moved online, we increasingly support the ability of students to access information in a digital environment," Withers said.

With resources evolving in libraries, there will be more demand for librarians in the future, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which says the employment rate for librarians is estimated to grow 7 percent by 2022.

There were 6 percent fewer checkouts for circulating books in the fiscal year 2014-15 than the years before. Despite the decrease, there were 102,376 book checkouts and 110,196 renewals for printed books in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Books accounted for 47 percent of all checkouts and 95 percent of all renewals.

Along with books and e-books, students are able to check out a number of other resources at King Library, such as digital equipment, study room keys and miscellaneous supplies.

In the last fiscal year, there were 68,578 checkouts for computers and 38,415 checkouts for study rooms in additional to the book checkout. These checkouts account for 30 and 15 percent of all checkouts, respectively. Even though miscellaneous supplies, like rulers and colored pencils, account for only 0.33 percent of all checkouts, this converts to about 1,000 checkouts a year.

Junior Mary Kate Kuchers said she doesn't go to King Library often, except for group projects.

"I've only checked out one book during my whole college career," Kuchers said. "I wish the library could rent out Canon DSLR cameras."

Although there are many students checking things out, there is a flow of students in and out of King Library at any hour of a day.

First-year Maria Taylor said she goes to the library frequently, but hasn't needed to check out a book yet.

"When I go to King I usually go to do some research on the computers, study or have lunch," Taylor said.

Taylor is one of many students who go to King to study for final exams.

"Being a double major and with finals approaching, I really appreciate the quietness of the upper levels at King," she said. "At this time of the year, I wouldn't go to any other place to study."