Academic Roundtable: Print or Digital? College Students, Reading, and Academic Libraries

Please join us on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in Library 105B at 12:15 PM with guest speaker Naomi Baron, American University (via Skype).

People have been reading on computer screens for several decades now, predating the popularization of personal computers and widespread use of the internet. But it was the rise of eReaders and tablets that caused digital reading to explode. In 2007, Amazon introduced its first Kindle. Three years later, Apple debuted the iPad. Meanwhile, as mobile phone technology improved and smartphones proliferated, the phone became another vital reading platform.

In this roundtable, Naomi Baron, a linguist from American University and an expert on language and technology, will talk with us about how technology is reshaping our understanding of what it means to read. While reading onscreen has many virtues, including convenience, potential cost-savings, and the opportunity to bring free access to books and other written materials to people around the world, she argues that the virtues of eReading are matched with drawbacks. Users are easily distracted by other temptations on their devices, multitasking is rampant, and screens coax us to skim rather than read in-depth.

Drawing upon her research, Baron will bring the conversation about “the fate of reading in a digital world” to the realm of college students, teaching, and academic libraries. We look forward to a frank discussion that weighs economic (and space) realities with issues of intellectual development and depth.

For those interested in reading ahead of the meeting, you can read her July 2014 article from The Chronicle of Higher Education “How E-Reading Threatens Learning in the Humanities” at

We also plan to form a reading group to discuss her recent book “Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World” after her talk. If you would like to join this group, please sign up at .

As with all Academic Roundtables, lunch will be provided.  RSVP to Doreen Bernier via email at by noon on Friday, April 15, 2016.

The Academic Roundtable is co-sponsored by

the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Research and the Library