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How students are engaging with libraries on the brink of Web 3.0

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By John Wheatcroft

Introduction

It's worth beginning with an observation about the very question of student engagement with libraries: specifically, would the issue even have been raised a generation ago?

A typical freshers' week in the 1970s included brief guided tours of the library, outlining such issues as where the periodicals could be found, which floor housed the record library and how the classification system worked. And that would have been it.

Some institutions ran to a short film outlining their services – one at Hull University, UK, was narrated by its head librarian, the poet Philip Larkin.

Today, the face of higher education in the UK has changed almost beyond recognition; so have libraries and the way that students engage with them.


Publisher's note

The author would like to thank staff at the Universities of Huddersfield, York and York St John, UK, for their help with this article.