Library books: for reading not writing.
Library books: for reading not writing.

Sometimes the glamorous life of the Circulation Assistant demands certain less-than-thrilling tasks, including having to erase penciled lines and scribbles in our library books. Recently, as I blew the shavings of a rubbed-out polymer eraser off another freshly defiled tome, I realized that there was a better way. To nip this issue in the bud, students need to know a study alternative to vandalizing our books (and possibly getting a fine as a result).

I do sympathize with the scribblers and margin-note-takers of the world. Underlining and circling key sentences and words can be a helpful way of lodging things into your memory. At once visual and tactile—without the tedious and time-consuming reiteration that traditional handwritten note-taking requires—it makes it easy to seek out what is important within the text when revisited and avoid rereading the same useless sentence before nodding off mid-review session.

Having said this, if you want to write in a book, please write in your own book! When using a library book, remember these steps to help your study experience:

Sticky notes are your friends! Please do not earmark pages. When you come across information that you need to remember, use a sticky note to mark the page.  Maybe write a quote or a quick sum-up of the passage on the post-it while you’re at it. If you don’t have any of those thin ones great for marking specific passages, you can cut regular-sized ones into strips to achieve the same effect.

Scan the pages!  Once these are bookmarked to your heart’s content–and you’re itchy for scribbling, underlining, and circling–scan the necessary pages. We have five scanners in the library, four of which are attached to computers in our information commons. The last one is our new book scanner which may seem large and imposing but is surprisingly simple to work, especially with one of our savvy tech consultants providing instruction. Scanning the pages you need and printing them out not only keeps our books clean and safe, but gives you physical, lighter pages to carry around as notes and refer to wherever your travels may take you. [A note for Cascadia students: Remember that you don’t have to pay for printing when using Cascadia printers; it’s part of your tuition! Once you’ve scanned your pages, email them to yourself or save them on a thumb drive and print them out in one of the CC buildings to avoid a Dawg Prints charge!  UWB students: use your Husky Cards to pay for printing.  More information can be found here.]

Once you’ve printed your desired pages, have at it. Scribble with zeal!

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