3. The library is open when your laptop is.

A student finds a quiet place to study in UAB’s Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences. Even with the increase in e-books and e-journals, printed materials aren’t going away—and libraries will continue to serve as a repository for accurate and useful information, say UAB’s library directors.

Thanks to the Internet, students and faculty can use UAB’s libraries from anywhere in the world—and even interact with librarians via real-time chats. “It’s just like they’re sitting here on campus,” Stephens says. Both libraries’ Web sites allow visitors with an official UAB BlazerID to find materials, access research databases, read journal articles, and even access special collections that include letters from famed nurse Florence Nightingale, student films, and oral histories featuring figures from Birmingham’s past. Another benefit: Multiple users can access the same information concurrently; there’s usually no waiting for a book to be returned. “We’ve eliminated the barrier of physical distance,” Plutchak explains.

4. Plugs are popular

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