Housing Nonprint Media
For many years the demise of the book-oriented library has been confidently predicted by prophets of advanced technology, who claim that information in nonprint form or in computer storage would supplant the book. On the other hand, the defenders of the book point to the high cost of nonbook information and the vast number of formats and machines involved, and decry the facile promises and gimmickry that characterize the arguments of some of the nonprint proponents, suggesting that the chief beneficiaries of nonprint material are the intellectually underprivileged, Both sides tend to overstate their cases, but there certainly is truth in both their claims: the book-oriented library is changing greatly and building up collections of library materials in all media, some of which have special value for users with less than adequate intellectual capacity. Some librarians indulge in snobbery here, by suggesting that only community colleges and teachers colleges make much use of nonprint media. Actually, some of our more respected and prestigious institutions, realizing their great value for enrichment, make significant use of nonprint materials in their libraries. More and more libraries of all sorts will need to make available some of the hardware and software for their patrons. In this chapter, we will try to provide information for the librarian who needs an introduction to the subject and wants to know something of the kind of hardware that is needed and how to select and evaluate it. We are not concerned with the complete learning resource center nor the instructional materials center found in some colleges and universities. These often have campus-wide production and distribution facilities which are manned by instructional materials specialists rather than librarians. Here we are interested in helping the librarian who is responsible for integrating nonprint materials into the library and who has little or no training in the subject.