Computer Captivation

[computer]If I learned one thing in college, it’s that too much of a good thing can equal a really, really bad thing. This lesson may have taken some time to set in, but I eventually realized that overkill applies to more than just boozing and eating six meals a day at the caf. As our generation comes to rely more and more on computers and related gadgets, this philosophy applies to technology.
Technology is great to a certain extent – computers help us do things our elders could have only imagined – but maybe the consequences of this technology are not worth it, because it is single-handedly ruining my life. It’s probably doing the same to yours.
It’s not just the Internet either; constant exposure to technology in our lives in the form of car audio systems, cell phones and cranked-up iPods are ruining our bodies. We all know cell phones have been linked to cancer (even if we don’t know it’s true), and using them while driving increases the odds of driving into a Smart Bus full of senior citizens. Blaring music through sound systems and blasting tunes through iPod headphones ruin hearing. However, most college students cherish these technologies. Some may call this a personal problem, but most students are guilty of this abuse, especially the people who text message constantly because they can’t hear on the phone because they eat, sleep, go to class, work out, drive, shower, fornicate, put-up drywall and teach underprivileged students to read all the while listening to their iPods.
While I’m not one of those people, I question how people lived without these technologies. I can’t believe I survived high school without Facebook, without text messaging, without owning a cell phone. I don’t know when this obsession with technology began – heck, I don’t even know what Bluetooth means – but I need to figure it out soon because I’m sure I’m going to run into the network in the near future once it becomes Facebook-compatible. I also don’t know if this technology thing is ever going to stop; it may just spiral out of control and take over our lives, assuming that hasn’t already happened.
I don’t understand how I can be blamed for spending hours on end watching shows from that TV Links Web site. I once watched the entire first two seasons of Prison Break, in order, in eight days – which shows you that I have no self-control and therefore cannot be held responsible for poor-time management due to technology.
[newsfeed]Beyond the current problem of me neglecting my studies, my girlfriend and my job search to watch the complete seasons of 24 and The Sopranos, it is very likely Internet technology is killing our bodies, and at a faster rate than we can kill them with alcohol or the Atkins diet. Years ago, my optometrist told me I had perfect eyesight, but last spring, the doctors at the Olin Health Center said I could probably use some glasses. First, we could assume one should never take advice from a doctor at Olin, or we could agree that frivolously typing away online all day in front of a bright LCD monitor is slowly burning my retinas. As for my ears, I sometimes feel like I can’t hear who I’m talking to on the other end of the phone. This isn’t because my receiver volume is turned down low; it’s because years of routing my music through earphones or subwoofers has probably made my ears implode. And chances are many other students also are turning their eyes, ears and brains to pudding.
American’s obsession with technology isn’t simply a collegiate fad either. Teenagers and baby-boomers are all taking part of the technology revolution that is growing exponentially.
“I spend a vast amount of time online, have a Facebook account and love You Tubing and Googling,” mass media professor Garry Gilbert said. “I enjoy access to an astonishing amount of information from my kitchen table: I can read The New York Times online, listen to a BBC broadcast, check sports scores that are updated every 60 seconds, or use news.google.com to link to news organizations around the world that I didn\’t know existed and certainly would never have sampled.”
While Gilbert embraced technology in his life, he also weighed the ups and downs of its presence. The access to the Internet has not only pervaded university housing and buildings: many students have adopted the practice of toting personal computers all over campus.
“Do we waste time online? Do we abuse it? Sure, no doubt,” Gilbert said. “In my classes, many students are bringing laptops. Are they carefully taking notes, instant messaging their friends or checking their Facebook accounts? Twenty years ago, students doodled, hand wrote notes to friends, secretly read magazines or trashy novels, or daydreamed while in class. Are we better off than 15 years ago? I\’d say emphatically yes. While the net makes it easy for us to spend time on social networks, downloading songs, playing poker, or whatever, the ready access to mountains of news and information is more than a counterbalance.”
[phone]There are mountains of information at everyone’s fingertips, but like many college students, when given the opportunity to surf the Internet, I fail to do anything productive. I can’t think of one legitimate reason MySpace exists, but I still can’t keep myself away from it. My profile tells the world I’m there for networking, but the only people trying to network with me are the underground punk bands, strippers and adult film stars who keep sending me friend requests. I try to convince myself it’s an avenue where I can catch up with old friends, but in most cases, when I click on a friend’s profile, the mismanaged gadgets, random graphics, music videos and picture slideshows flash uncontrollably until I have a seizure.
Despite all the inconveniences, I keep coming back to MySpace every day. The same with Facebook – the sites are like cyber-cocaine, except the only known side effects to date are detrimental grades and becoming nearsighted. There are advocacy groups all over America fighting against smoking, drinking and drug use, but not one against Web sites with eye-irritating layouts, addicting content or borderline stalkerish databases.
[media2]He may not know what a quail looks like, but Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg knows your class schedule and where you live. He’s using that information as we speak to break into your apartment and steal your new Nintendo Wii. He’s also making a move on your girlfriend, because he knows she likes boxed wine and watching Grey’s Anatomy. And guess what? He knows where she lives, too. I know he sounds like Santa, because Zuckerburg is making these news feed lists and people are checking them more than twice. Facebook knows what events I’m attending, who’s in pictures with me and in the near future, I’m sure Facebook will send out messages to the MSU community every time I visit the bathroom. You don’t need to know that, just like I don’t need to know that you’re attending a Pirate Party at Pi Kappa Phi this weekend.
“Facebook, in some aspects, is a good way to keep in touch with people and see what your friends are up to,” English senior Lauren Gadoua said. “In another aspect, it is useless and a waste of time. It can be an invasion of privacy. I don\’t think I’m the only person who doesn\’t want to be tagged in a drunken embarrassing picture for the whole Facebook world to see.”
Not only does the entire Facebook community see such drunken pictures, it also knows our birthdays, hobbies, job histories and political affiliations, it knows where we’ll be Friday night, who we will be with, and what brand of vodka we will be drinking. A reader may think this is a silly rant about a harmless Internet site, but consider the statistics before jumping to conclusions about my sanity.
“Facebook has 17 million users, half of which return daily,” Meredith Chin, junior public relations director, said. “People spend an average of 20 minutes on the site daily, making it the sixth-most trafficked site in the United States.”
Chin added user privacy has always been a top priority for Facebook. In fact, Facebook has worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has hired a chief privacy officer and is TrustE certified.
Regardless of their efforts, sites like Facebook or MySpace that contain facts about my entire life on one page make me wonder if it’s even worth it to put out my information. Computers can be used to do beneficial things, like produce academic works, but in the past, the mechanism has made my eyes water, cramped my fingers and strangled my wrists. I wonder if it would be easier in the long run to write it out with pen and paper like people did before word processors. I wonder if I’m gaining anything by getting my news online instead of in print, or if it’s better I can now watch any television show in the history of the world online. I wonder if I could actually stop doing any of these things, and I really don’t know. The whole concept is just as confusing, as the technology craze is to Gilbert.
“The only thing I don\’t understand is teenagers\’ obsession with text messaging,” Gilbert said. “This…is a colossal waste of time compared to simply making a phone call and having a conversation with somebody.”
A colossal waste of time seems to be a summary of my life considering all the time I waste with online databases and other websites. Yes, I’m about two chapters behind in reading for my classes and my resume could use some tweaking, but honestly, I’d rather look at a list of who commented on someone’s wall in the last seventeen minutes than do anything remotely productive. As much as I know Facebook ultimately serves no purpose other than providing entertainment, there’s no way I will ever stop Facebooking. Maybe I’ll have to block my profile so potential employers won’t find out what I really did in college, but I figure when I run for president in 2024, the truth will come out anyway.
Until then, I’m going to keep posting on walls, watching videos and stalking friends online because it’s an undeniable part of life. George Orwell may have been right when he said Big Brother is watching, but we’re too lazy and stubborn to acknowledge it. Of course, by the time all of our faults are discovered, we probably won’t be able to see or hear. We’ll have to create a user name and password to log in to our brains in order to understand it anyway.

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Ready! Set! Dodgeball!

[gym2]For a moment, the gym is silent. The squeaks of hightops on the freshly waxed gym floor are missing, as are the habitual thuds of playground balls careening into competitors’ bodies. It won’t be this way for long – to an unsuspecting observer, the cavernous room may just be resting from rounds of basketball practice, but another sport is about to take over. Once the officials place the 10 eight-inch red rubber-coated dodgeballs on the half court line, there are only three words that erase the silence and lead to mayhem: Ready! Set! Dodgeball!
Three years ago, political science prelaw senior Aleks Bomis skimmed through the pages of an old yearbook and came across a picture that would change his college career and the Spartan club sports scene for years to come. With that photograph as inspiration, he took a huge step and founded the MSU Club Dodgeball team, and he remains president of the club this year. “I saw a picture of some kids playing dodgeball and thought it would be a good idea,” Bomis said. “I really didn\’t have any expectations when starting it. For all I knew, it was going to be a flop.”
It turns out Bomis was wrong. The only things flopping now are the dodgeballers who will do anything to avoid getting hit by a wickedly-thrown dodgeball, including diving face first on a hardwood floor.
Since its inception in December 2003, the Club Dodgeball team has nearly doubled in membership each season. With a current membership of 80 students, it is the second largest student organization on campus. “In three years, we\’ve gone from nothing to being the largest and most high profile club sport at MSU,” Bomis said.
The MSU dodgeball team’s growth has been a microcosm of what the Midwest Dodgeball Conference (MDC) has been experiencing. Created in the 2004-2005 season with five charter members – MSU, Ohio State University, The University of DePaul, Delta College and Kent State University – the MDC now has a 12-team league. Including schools as far east as Marshall University and as far west as Nebraska-Omaha, the season runs from November to April featuring regular season match-ups, tournaments and post-season play.
Prominent tournaments include the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, a four-team tournament between intrastate rivals, and MSU captured the tournament title in 2005. In 2006, MSU also won the Chicago Dodgeball Open, a six-team tournament. The regular season concludes with the MDC Postseason tournament in late April, with customary round robin and single elimination tournament style play. All of the teams in the league are invited to attend, although no squad has been able to dethrone Ohio State, who won the postseason playoff in 2005 and 2006.
In last year’s post-season tournament, MSU tied for third with Delta College: a decent finish, but a mark the team hopes to surpass. As for dodgeball growth throughout the state, current dodgeball team presidents are working to develop squads at U-M and Eastern Michigan University. In addition, Western Michigan is very close to joining the MDC.
The evolution of the MSU dodgeball team is no surprise to those who play week in and week out, or those who drop in and watch the team practice every Thursday and Sunday night. This isn’t the same brand of dodgeball many students remember from summer camp or recess after lunch in third grade. It’s an all out battle of wits, strategy and teamwork between two teams of 15 juiced college students living out their athletic pipe dreams that are rarely available after high school is over.[dunk]
“I originally played for Delta College as just something to do after I saw a flier for it in the hall,” entomology junior Martin Villarreal said. “After my first year of playing, and then transferring to MSU, I figured why not keep going with something I enjoy doing and have lots of fun with.”
But much to the chagrin of Bomis, Villarreal and everyone who has worked so hard to generate growth of the dodgeball team, many members of the MSU community are still unaware the team exists. This idea should change quickly, with the Club Dodgeball team set to provide the halftime entertainment for the MSU vs. Bradley men’s basketball game with a showdown against Oakland University on Dec. 3 at the Breslin Center. The promotional event is one of two entertainment games provided by the relatively new dodgeball club. The other contest will be against the No.1 Ohio State Club Dodgeball team during the halftime of the MSU vs. Ohio State men’s basketball game on Feb. 3.
[group1]This integration into the established audience of the men’s basketball team will spread the word about the emergence of dodgeball on campus and is part of the effort of the executive board, stemming from last year. In 2005, the team hosted a six-team tournament that was taped by Comcast and played on cable throughout the Lansing area. There have been sponsorship deals, YouTube Videos, and now this – dodgeball entertainment for 10,000-plus screaming fans at the Breslin.
Still, Bomis wants to do more in terms of promotion before his final year with the dodgeball squad. “The only thing I can think of might be getting (televised on) Fox Sports Detroit or possibly getting in on the Nike contract MSU\’s Athletic Department has,” Bomis said.
Without a legitimate possibility of becoming a sanctioned NCAA sport and limited funding, the dodgeball team may have already reached its climax, but that suits Bomis just fine. “To be honest, a lot of the appeal comes from the fact that it\’s not mainstream,” Bomis said. “If it becomes about the bureaucracy and not about the game, it loses that appeal. All the things we\’ve done, all the hype, all these special events, those are nice things, but it\’s about the fun of the game first.”
Even though executive board members find it difficult to get sponsors, raise money, and create playing time for 80 players, some of them still say it’s worth it. “We get to meet, play and interact with people from all class levels and with all sorts of majors,” 2006 graduate and captain Robert Freeman said. “I have made some great friends as a result of dodgeball that otherwise would just be another face on campus.”
Many campus activities are restricted to certain ages or majors, but the club dodgeball team observes no such boundaries. The team leaders are the most satisfied when experienced veterans and rookies mesh during a match, and the players can see the results of their practice and dedication. “The highlights show up when you see it all come together,” Bomis said. “It\’s when the freshmen pick up on some technique we\’ve tried to teach and they hit an upperclassman in the face. Knowing you had a hand in all that coming to fruition gives you a real good feeling.”
Whether it’s at a practice at the IM West Sports building, a game at the Breslin Center, or at the Midwest Dodgeball League Postseason Tournament in Chicago, when the official calls for the start of the game, 30 bodies will race toward 10 dodgeballs at center court. Then, another installment of the exciting brand of MSU dodgeball will be underway. To the untrained eye, the game will look like an un-choreographed match that can be seen at the gym of a local YMCA. But for those who have watched it develop firsthand, it will be more like a strategic version of the dodgeball seen on the Game Show Network at 3:30 a.m. – just without the goofy team names and uniforms and the creepy announcer with long hair. The game won’t feature celebrities, and it won’t have a flashy court or paparazzi taking photos with high-definition cameras, but it will have the same familiar players that have been practicing for months, donned in the green and white.[lip]
Freeman, the floor general, will be taking charge on the front line, blocking every dodgeball thrown near his teammates: if someone drives a Chevy Silverado on the court, he’ll probably block that, too. Sophomore Greg Moy also will be out there, baiting his opponents to throw a ball his way, and with incredible reflexes, he’ll catch every one of them. Assistant captain and fellow sophomore Rob Viola will be there with his signature move: pinching the rubber coating on the ball and gripping it between his thumb and forefinger, the ball spinning out of control when he throws it across the court.
Surrounding those three will be 12 other players with their own unique skills and personal habits. With many of them standing well under 6 feet or 150 pounds, each player wouldn’t be enough to scare a Girl Scout Troop, but together, they are a threatening machine. When they take the court as teammates, they all have one goal – play hard and have fun. Although it is relatively new, the sport of dodgeball certainly has staying power with this kind of mantra, straight from Bomis: “We\’ll hit people in the face, we\’ll get hit in the face ourselves and we\’ll all have some laughs.”

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Ready! Set! Dodgeball!

[gym]For a moment, the gym is silent. The squeaks of hightops on the freshly waxed gym floor are missing, as are the habitual thuds of playground balls careening into competitors’ bodies. It won’t be this way for long – to an unsuspecting observer, the cavernous room may just be resting from rounds of basketball practice, but another sport is about to take over. Once the officials place the 10 eight-inch red rubber-coated dodgeballs on the half court line, there are only three words that erase the silence and lead to mayhem: Ready! Set! Dodgeball!
Three years ago, political science prelaw senior Aleks Bomis skimmed through the pages of an old yearbook and came across a picture that would change his college career and the Spartan club sports scene for years to come. With that photograph as inspiration, he took a huge step and founded the MSU Club Dodgeball team, and he remains president of the club this year. “I saw a picture of some kids playing dodgeball and thought it would be a good idea,” Bomis said. “I really didn\’t have any expectations when starting it. For all I knew, it was going to be a flop.”
It turns out Bomis was wrong. The only things flopping now are the dodgeballers who will do anything to avoid getting hit by a wickedly-thrown dodgeball, including diving face first on a hardwood floor.
Since its inception in December 2003, the Club Dodgeball team has nearly doubled in membership each season. With a current membership of 80 students, it is the second largest student organization on campus. “In three years, we\’ve gone from nothing to being the largest and most high profile club sport at MSU,” Bomis said.
The MSU dodgeball team’s growth has been a microcosm of what the Midwest Dodgeball Conference (MDC) has been experiencing. Created in the 2004-2005 season with five charter members – MSU, Ohio State University, The University of DePaul, Delta College and Kent State University – the MDC now has a 12-team league. Including schools as far east as Marshall University and as far west as Nebraska-Omaha, the season runs from November to April featuring regular season match-ups, tournaments and post-season play.
Prominent tournaments include the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, a four-team tournament between intrastate rivals, and MSU captured the tournament title in 2005. In 2006, MSU also won the Chicago Dodgeball Open, a six-team tournament. The regular season concludes with the MDC Postseason tournament in late April, with customary round robin and single elimination tournament style play. All of the teams in the league are invited to attend, although no squad has been able to dethrone Ohio State, who won the postseason playoff in 2005 and 2006.
In last year’s post-season tournament, MSU tied for third with Delta College: a decent finish, but a mark the team hopes to surpass. As for dodgeball growth throughout the state, current dodgeball team presidents are working to develop squads at U-M and Eastern Michigan University. In addition, Western Michigan is very close to joining the MDC.
The evolution of the MSU dodgeball team is no surprise to those who play week in and week out, or those who drop in and watch the team practice every Thursday and Sunday night. This isn’t the same brand of dodgeball many students remember from summer camp or recess after lunch in third grade. It’s an all out battle of wits, strategy and teamwork between two teams of 15 juiced college students living out their athletic pipe dreams that are rarely available after high school is over.[basket]
“I originally played for Delta College as just something to do after I saw a flier for it in the hall,” entomology junior Martin Villarreal said. “After my first year of playing, and then transferring to MSU, I figured why not keep going with something I enjoy doing and have lots of fun with.”
But much to the chagrin of Bomis, Villarreal and everyone who has worked so hard to generate growth of the dodgeball team, many members of the MSU community are still unaware the team exists. This idea should change quickly, with the Club Dodgeball team set to provide the halftime entertainment for the MSU vs. Bradley men’s basketball game with a showdown against Oakland University on Dec. 3 at the Breslin Center. The promotional event is one of two entertainment games provided by the relatively new dodgeball club. The other contest will be against the No.1 Ohio State Club Dodgeball team during the halftime of the MSU vs. Ohio State men’s basketball game on Feb. 3.
[group]This integration into the established audience of the men’s basketball team will spread the word about the emergence of dodgeball on campus and is part of the effort of the executive board, stemming from last year. In 2005, the team hosted a six-team tournament that was taped by Comcast and played on cable throughout the Lansing area. There have been sponsorship deals, YouTube Videos, and now this – dodgeball entertainment for 10,000-plus screaming fans at the Breslin.
Still, Bomis wants to do more in terms of promotion before his final year with the dodgeball squad. “The only thing I can think of might be getting (televised on) Fox Sports Detroit or possibly getting in on the Nike contract MSU\’s Athletic Department has,” Bomis said.
Without a legitimate possibility of becoming a sanctioned NCAA sport and limited funding, the dodgeball team may have already reached its climax, but that suits Bomis just fine. “To be honest, a lot of the appeal comes from the fact that it\’s not mainstream,” Bomis said. “If it becomes about the bureaucracy and not about the game, it loses that appeal. All the things we\’ve done, all the hype, all these special events, those are nice things, but it\’s about the fun of the game first.”
Even though executive board members find it difficult to get sponsors, raise money, and create playing time for 80 players, some of them still say it’s worth it. “We get to meet, play and interact with people from all class levels and with all sorts of majors,” 2006 graduate and captain Robert Freeman said. “I have made some great friends as a result of dodgeball that otherwise would just be another face on campus.”
Many campus activities are restricted to certain ages or majors, but the club dodgeball team observes no such boundaries. The team leaders are the most satisfied when experienced veterans and rookies mesh during a match, and the players can see the results of their practice and dedication. “The highlights show up when you see it all come together,” Bomis said. “It\’s when the freshmen pick up on some technique we\’ve tried to teach and they hit an upperclassman in the face. Knowing you had a hand in all that coming to fruition gives you a real good feeling.”
Whether it’s at a practice at the IM West Sports building, a game at the Breslin Center, or at the Midwest Dodgeball League Postseason Tournament in Chicago, when the official calls for the start of the game, 30 bodies will race toward 10 dodgeballs at center court. Then, another installment of the exciting brand of MSU dodgeball will be underway. To the untrained eye, the game will look like an un-choreographed match that can be seen at the gym of a local YMCA. But for those who have watched it develop firsthand, it will be more like a strategic version of the dodgeball seen on the Game Show Network at 3:30 a.m. – just without the goofy team names and uniforms and the creepy announcer with long hair. The game won’t feature celebrities, and it won’t have a flashy court or paparazzi taking photos with high-definition cameras, but it will have the same familiar players that have been practicing for months, donned in the green and white.[court]
Freeman, the floor general, will be taking charge on the front line, blocking every dodgeball thrown near his teammates: if someone drives a Chevy Silverado on the court, he’ll probably block that, too. Sophomore Greg Moy also will be out there, baiting his opponents to throw a ball his way, and with incredible reflexes, he’ll catch every one of them. Assistant captain and fellow sophomore Rob Viola will be there with his signature move: pinching the rubber coating on the ball and gripping it between his thumb and forefinger, the ball spinning out of control when he throws it across the court.
Surrounding those three will be 12 other players with their own unique skills and personal habits. With many of them standing well under 6 feet or 150 pounds, each player wouldn’t be enough to scare a Girl Scout Troop, but together, they are a threatening machine. When they take the court as teammates, they all have one goal – play hard and have fun. Although it is relatively new, the sport of dodgeball certainly has staying power with this kind of mantra, straight from Bomis: “We\’ll hit people in the face, we\’ll get hit in the face ourselves and we\’ll all have some laughs.”

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Libraries: Checking Out

[phone]An elderly man loudly slurps his coffee, a middle-aged woman hastily unzips her neon fanny pack and a blonde-haired girl finally answers her cell phone, momentarily preventing her from smacking her bubble gum like the cashier at a 7-11. Students talk, elevators ding and the fluorescent overhead lights and exit signs crave attention as they buzz relentlessly. Crowd noises at L.A. Clippers basketball games don’t reach these heights – and that’s the problem. These people could be anywhere: an office building, a bowling alley or a restaurant with a bunch of crazy sideways messages scrawled on the wall. But they’re not. With a backdrop of dusty bookshelves, these people are at the MSU Main Library, a setting one would think to be unworthy of this noise and seemingly boundless energy.
[tea] So why is there so much commotion, and why is that woman wearing a fanny pack? This isn’t 1988, and this isn’t a Six-Flags theme park – I know this because I haven’t stepped in any vomit. Common knowledge says the library is a place of business where you can study until 6 a.m. because you just plain forgot to look at your syllabi in the past three weeks, and – whoops – you have two exams tomorrow. Apparently someone threw this sentiment out the window, and students’ opportunities to study in peace went along with it. Amy James, a zoology, ecology and evolutionary biology senior, said her weekly trips to the library are sometimes social occasions, but she always makes sure to be respectful to those studying around her. “I think some people, especially girls, go to the library to just socialize,” James said. “I don\’t know if they get their work done, or even if that\’s their goal in the first place, but I know I get mine done even if they are there.”
For every respectful library-goer like James, there is another library-goer with a knack for neglecting to use an “indoor voice” and yakking on a cell phone on the second floor or forgetting to turn off the two-way page sound on their brick of a Motorola phone. In an age where the advent of technology is rapidly changing our everyday lives, these kinds of technological interruptions will come to be expected.
[cafe]With computers in every residence, cell phones playing Justin Timberlake ring tones in every sorority girl’s tote bag and Bluetooth’s Blackberries attached to everyone’s palm, it’s no surprise the functions for libraries – on college campuses and elsewhere – are changing. The days, and all-nighters, of silence are so 2001. Instead, the cappuccino machine in the CyberCafe cranks out lattes every 13 seconds, making noises so intolerable even Gilbert Godfrey would be offended.
“Libraries aren’t your mother or grandmother’s libraries anymore: they don’t come with a sense of hush-hush where nobody can talk and there is complete quiet,” said Sylvia Marabate, director of the East Lansing Public Library.
Meanwhile, a short distance from Marabate’s office, computers designated for computer research aren’t being used properly, unless the three giggling high schoolers are furiously typing MySpace messages to Dewey Decimal. “It is hard to keep up with the demand of the public to use the Internet,” Marabate said. “We’ve had a slow but steady increase in the percentage of people who come here to use the Internet. We aren’t just a library for the public anymore: we’re more like a community center now.”
During peak hours, the MSU library is no different. Students cram into computer cubicles and rarely do the sounds on the first floor fall below a dull roar. With groups of studiers and the monotonous Sparty’s worker asking for orders with the redundancy of that annoying Office Space secretary, calling a modern library a community center would be like calling a Michigan student attractive – more like a train wreck.
[girl]“There’s always obnoxious people there with more leisure time and less homework because they have easier classes doing group assignments or talking so loudly that I can never stay there and get work done,” civil engineering senior Evis Kinolli said. “Engineering students rarely go to the main library, I can guarantee you that, because they can print for free at the computer labs, and study in a quiet smaller library with more upperclassmen, as opposed to the main library where underclassmen are more likely to socialize and be disrespectful.”
But as long as there are books around, and people willing to read them, the campus and public libraries won’t turn into community centers exclusively used for social gatherings or free Internet usage. “Public libraries, including the East Lansing Public Library, definitely still purchase new books,” Marabate said. “There is still a public that loves to read -visit an airport and you will see the amazing number of people with a book in their hand.”
[engineer] Marabate said the future outlook for books in the tangible form is good. “Even the most ‘bleeding edge’ technologists are still predicting that books as we know them will be around for quite some time to come,” she said.
Just as books are believed to be around forever, so are computers, cell phones and coffee machines, which is why smaller studying retreats like the Engineering Building, which offers free printing and essential computer programs to their hosted majors, and smaller libraries may be the best kept secrets on campus. Residence hall study lounges also have many added advantages, including their proximity to dorm rooms, spaciousness and relative quiet: unless you’re studying in the Bro-jects at midnight on a Friday, in which case the lounge is probably being used for a Nerf wars competition.
“I always utilized the study rooms in the dorms because it was so convenient because it was in the building,” kinesiology sophomore Allison Serr said.
But even students who live on campus come up with more creative means to escape the dorm study lounges and the main library altogether.
[table]“I never go to the main library because it is way too crowded,” international relations sophomore Lauren Tomaszyck said. “There’s a much quieter, less dusty, less crowded library right across from my dorm, and I’d tell you where it is, but I don’t want the entire freshman class knowing about it because then they’ll ruin it.”
While Tomaszcyk beats the dust and the crowds, and Kinolli avoids underclassmen, these students do miss out on the amenities the main library has to offer: the pre-packaged schwarmas, the supposedly quiet upper floors and the hoards of people wearing North Face fleeces. Libraries are changing, and the changes will affect all of us – but is it too much to ask to get rid of the coffee machine and fashion shows and manufacture some quiet time instead? Students who still care about their grades would appreciate it a latte.

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