Vermont colleges announces shift to all-digital library, other major changes

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

Colleges and universities under the banner of Vermont State College System will consolidate and make significant changes, such as shifting library resources to fully digital and leaving the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The Associated Press (AP) reported on the announcement, which are as follows:

  • Northern Vermont University will merge into a single university called Vermont State University in the summer 2023
  • By 2024, Northern Vermont University’s Johnson campus will switch from NCAA to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and both the Johnson campus and Randolph campus will switch to club sports

The incoming university president for the soon-to-be merged institution, Parwinder Grewal, issued an apologetic message about the communication of their merger decision. Grewal noted that the university system had a $22.6 million loss budgeted for the current year.

Grewal added, “Higher education is changing. And digital libraries are the way of the future.”

Students protested the decision because it will force NCAA athletes to transfer out and leave behind friends and coaches. Others said that they disagreed with the all-digital format of the library because it will take away a tool for learning.

The AP reported one student, who said he does not have internet access in his residence and uses physical books in the college library for his studies. “I think converting the schools’ libraries to an entirely online program will further drive people away from the library not towards the library,” the student said, “There are books on these shelves that will never be digitized. These books will be lost and their knowledge will be lost with them.”

A disabled student said that a physical library “is not a privilege, it’s my right.” She continued, “My disabilities cannot be accommodated digitally. Eye strain, difficulty tracking lines, blue light effects on ocular health, struggles to focus. These are not problems a screen can help with.”

Meanwhile, faculty from the affected institutions voted “no confidence” in the board of trustees over the decision to merge and move sports clubs.