I recently asked a helpful librarian in the central library of the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale to show me where I could find the books on civil engineering. I was shown to the engineering section that filled about 2.5m of shelf space.
To my astonishment I found that there was only one book on civil engineering.
This book was titled The British civil engineering contracting industry: an illustrated history and was produced by the Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors in 1956. It was an impressive coffee table book with many excellent black and white photographs of engineering works from its time.
Most of the books on the shelves were on electrical engineering. Mechanical engineering was also well represented. There was one book of general engineering with a single chapter on civil engineering and there were seven books on materials. Are we surprised that young people are not attracted our profession?
We need to make people aware of civil engineering.
Having books readily available in public and school libraries is one way to do this. It is time for the Institution to produce its own eye-catching and inspiring book on civil engineering.
A Day-Glo orange spine may help. Such a book could then be given to key libraries and schools.
Robert Gibson (M), RAGbsn@aol. com