U libraries are a priceless resource

Terry Niebeling, University student

Recently, the Minnesota Daily announced the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus library systems were facing budget deficits that could impede student and faculty research. This is worrisome because the problem with dwindling library support affects far more than just students and faculty — it affects the whole of the community as well.
 
As a student worker for the St. Paul campus library, I have had the opportunity to take into account the importance that the library affords faculty, students and the general public.
 
The St. Paul campus library gives community members valuable resources while also offering students and faculty much-needed tools to meet their academic and personal goals. Without the library, there would be a void that would prove costly to students and the public alike.
 
What the library offers is a place for people to better themselves through Internet searches and minor lessons in finding resources.
 
The sad news about the budget cuts is that the University of Minnesota will probably not cut the costs of sporting events or stadiums, nor will it likely pull money from entities on campus that generate money, such as the bookstore. However, it will take away one of the most valuable resources on campus: the library, which is a wealth of knowledge, not a shop to be measured on its profits.
 
As I am graduating this semester, I will no longer be with the libraries. However, I have learned so many important lessons from them. One of these
lessons is that if I want something, all I have to do is look for it or ask for help if I cannot find it. 
 
Another lesson is that I can find just about any resource through the library’s interlibrary loan system. I can literally be a full-time student and pay nothing for required materials if I just take the time to find them (which, for the past two semesters, I did).
 
The University libraries are priceless. To see this headline on the front page of the Daily made me a bit melancholy because I can see the corporate-mindedness of the University rearing its ugly head.
 
Now, because of budget cuts, I can see why the school won’t hire qualified students as full-time staff members. 
 
But if the library doesn’t generate much in profits, what it creates in knowledge, experience and available resources is incalculable in quality to the campus and community.
 
Having the libraries betters everyone.