Off the Shelf: Library writing contest winner announced

Library Staff

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Madison College Libraries’ Second Annual National Library Week Student Essay Contest elicited some terrific responses.  It is both gratifying and encouraging to read stories about the impact the libraries’ staff, services, and resources have had on students’ success in college and beyond.

Grand Prize Winner Najeeb Ullah, an international student from Pakistan, won a Barnes & Noble Nook Color e-reader.  His winning essay is appears below.  First runner-up Keari Bell-Gawne, a first-generation college student who wrote of finding both sanctuary from the stresses of college and inspiration for her studies in our libraries, won a regular Nook.  Both students also received gift cards to help them begin to build their ebook collections.

Contestants Mary Lucille Moore, Shaina Langlois and Eitan Barak were selected as second, third and fourth runners-up respectively.  Each received an Amazon gift card.  A big thank you to all of our contestants, and congratulations to the winners.

It Is My Library Time, by Najeeb Ullah

I still remember how I used to buy used copies of National Geographic and Scientific American in Karachi because I was an avid reader of these but I could not afford to buy or subscribe to them.  Now here I am at Madison College, and, apart from the other resources the college offers, the library resources are more than I could ever have imagined before. I can now easily read all the new issues of National Geographic and other scientific magazines.

The libraries at Madison College are a boon for students like me who cannot afford to buy text books or other books of interest. They can borrow these books and read or study them at ease at home.  The libraries thus render an invaluable service to students.  In high school I used to spend much of my time sitting in the corner of the school library reading fiction books with my best friend. There was no access to the Internet in the library which deprived me of most of the online catalogues and resources.  Here at Madison College I also spend a chunk of my time in one of the libraries. The facilities here are much better and my reading habits have changed – the fiction books have been replaced by non-fiction.  Here I mostly read magazines and books related to media, my field of study.  Although most of the publications these days have gone electronic, I still like the print version of papers and magazines which I can find in the library.

I share an apartment with other international students so there are always people in my apartment.  I require some quiet and peaceful environment to study, so I go to the library.   In the libraries the atmosphere is really soothing and calm.  I can order books and magazines at the downtown campus and have them delivered to downtown from Truax library. I was even able to borrow the text book for my College Success class for the entire semester, making it possible for me to complete the class.

What really impresses me about the libraries at Madison College is that they have such a dedicated staff.  There are more than ten helpers in the main Truax Library alone, all ready to offer assistance to students.  One thing I really like about Madison College libraries is that the librarians are helpful and friendly and try to assist in any way they can.

The library reference question is something very novel to me.  The librarians at Madison College Libraries use the technological tools at their disposal in an effective way to answer reference questions and help students.  I have sought their help to answer all sorts of questions, even how to use my new student email and Blackboard.  Librarians even conduct classes on library research and the catalogues and databases.

Whenever I wonder why people still visit libraries, given that so much is available online, I remind myself of the help that librarians offer.  That is not something you can get from Google.

The books and other resources at the libraries help us polish our capabilities to discover and know things geared to make life easier and comfortable. Through the innovative application of computers they make our work more efficient and effective. The computerized system enables us to take full advantage of automated library access, including searching catalogues and finding answers to our questions.  One of the noteworthy applications of technology is Skype reference.  The online databases are another valuable feature of Madison College Libraries.  People can even access valuable library resources from their homes.

As an international student I have had some very positive and memorable experiences with the libraries at Madison College. Books and magazines and other literary resources have helped me improve my knowledge and perspective of the world around us. Reading gives me pleasure. It has educated me, enlightened me, and provided me with wonderful first hand experiences. It has broadened my intellectual horizons.  It has enriched my mind and helped develop my conscience.


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