Vanderbilt Library officials said Tuesday that they would take steps to make the library “unusual,” though they acknowledged the library might not be as popular as its neighbors.
The Vanderbilt Library, the second-oldest public library in the country, is expected to become more popular as students start school this fall, and its location is among the first to attract students from across the country.
It is the oldest library in Tennessee, and the oldest in the U.S. The Vanderbilt Library opened in 1878.
It is the first Vanderbilt library to have a computer, a telephone, a television and a digital copy machine, the library said in a statement Tuesday.
“We’re working to make Vanderbilt Library even more unique and unique, and that includes a new location,” library chief executive Jennifer B. Davis said.
The library is part of a network of schools that provides learning materials, as well as library services to students and faculty, and it has about 15,000 books, 3,500 magazines, a library card and other resources, the statement said.
In a statement, B.K. Clements, president of Vanderbilt University Libraries, said the library is “very, very excited” about becoming the largest library in America and adding a digital library.
“Our libraries are uniquely positioned to offer a variety of learning resources and services for our students, faculty and staff,” he said.
“While we’re not at that point yet, I’m hopeful we’ll be a place students want to visit for reading and studying.”
Clements also said Vanderbilt has “never had a problem getting students from around the country” to visit the library.
The university has about 1,600 student libraries and has about 6,300 employees who provide the library services, he said in the statement.
The University of Tennessee’s campus in Knoxville is also planning to add digital access to its library systems, and other university libraries are considering the same move.
“There’s certainly a lot of talk around digital libraries,” said Julie Johnson, associate vice president for digital, at the University of Utah, where more than 400,000 students are enrolled.
Johnson, who works in the library, said she thinks digital libraries will be popular.
“I think there’s a lot more people that want to read,” she said.
The college of Vanderbilt’s flagship campus is also experimenting with digital learning tools and has hired a digital literacy specialist to help students learn more about digital technology, said director of student services Melissa Riddle.
“They’re trying to learn more how to use digital devices,” Riddle said.
But she said the university has yet to make a decision about how it will manage the library’s digital presence.
For students and alumni, digital learning could be particularly valuable.
“Digital literacy is one of the most underutilized skills that students can have,” Johnson said.
She said the school will use technology and digital literacy to help its students better understand digital information.
“You need to know how to recognize digital information,” she added.
Johnson said the college of more than 30,000 has become more focused on digital learning.
The university also has a digital learning center in its downtown campus, Johnson said, and has made a series of digital-focused investments that have allowed students to take more time to learn about digital technologies and the Internet.
“Students are really looking at digital learning as the way to go to higher education,” Johnson added.