Is it just me or are university libraries' books useless?

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turbo

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When I was in engineering school, I made extensive use of the reference library. It contained copies of critical references, journals, etc, none of which could be "checked out". No problem with people hogging resources that way. Get some direction from the librarian if you don't know your way around, grab the reference(s) you need, read them and make notes (no photocopiers back then) and return them to the front desk. The librarian or an assistant would then re-shelve the books so that they were in the right places for the next person to locate and use.

And I found that even very old references could be useful. It can help to have materials presented in a variety of ways, leading to some "Aha!" moments when you're in a mental block regarding some concept that didn't "click" during lectures, etc.
 
undergraduate engineering, i never used the library much except as a quiet place. for grad work, i found it was often a necessity. undergrad texts didn't have matrix derivatives and multivariate transforms.

and you really can't appreciate a good university library until you compare it with a public one. the public libraries here seem focused on either elementary education, or popular press. academic stuff is slim pickins, usually, and then typically only at central.
 
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I am an alumnus of Temple U in Philadelphia and so I have full library privileges. They acquire new books on a continuing basis so getting up to date material is never a problem. The text I currently have out, "Hilbert Transforms" by Frederick King, was published in 2009. I don't know if that's considered out of date yet, but perhaps Hilbert transforms is one of those fields where the book is out of date when the ink is dry. If that's your issue, then you don't need books, you need journals. Anyway, this book is an elementary introduction aimed at undergraduates and so some of the contents may remain relevant at least to the end of the month. I'm reading it as fast as I can just in case.
 
I have to say, the public libraries around here are quite good, but then, they're hardly the norm.
 
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My alma mater had millions of books, but few quality ones. When it came to attracting quality students, numbers of books had more appeal than quality.
 

Pengwuino

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Probably not- electronic subscriptions to Journals are not free.
and not cheap!

To add to that, if you want current research that is published in journals.... you better have a good library handy! I actually tried to see if a certain paper that was published in Nuclear Physics B was available for free. I figured hey, its SO easy to make it free because it can just be saved to your hard drive! Then boom, put it on a pirating site.

Nope. No dice.
 
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I was spending ~ 5 hours per day on average studying in my college library for all of my last semester.

I love libraries. When I go to new cities, first thing I do is make a library card. I attempt to read social science books (rarely) and some novels (often).

When I came to my college, first thing I did was to find the engineering library. I found really good books. I also sometimes borrow really good non-engineering books but because of other priorities I have never managed to do much readings.
 

Andy Resnick

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and not cheap!

To add to that, if you want current research that is published in journals.... you better have a good library handy! I actually tried to see if a certain paper that was published in Nuclear Physics B was available for free. I figured hey, its SO easy to make it free because it can just be saved to your hard drive! Then boom, put it on a pirating site.

Nope. No dice.
There's been a lot written about a certain publisher (*cough* elsevier *cough*) who's journals are "overly expensive". That's one argument in favor of open publishing- after all, the taxpayers paid for the work that went into the articles.

I've been frustrated more than once: our library no longer subscribes to "annual reviews", for example. Personally, I've found that emailing the authors directly circumvents subscription issues.
 
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Libraries are great for hitting on hot librarian chicks. You know, the type that wears the glasses and the hair in a tight bun. But then after the library closes, the glasses come off and the hair comes down and Va Va Voom!
 
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Libraries are great for hitting on hot librarian chicks. You know, the type that wears the glasses and the hair in a tight bun. But then after the library closes, the glasses come off and the hair comes down and Va Va Voom!
You mean like Cloris Leachman in the remake of The Longest Yard?
 

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