August 21st, 2007
The Daily Athenaeum, August 21, 2007
By Tricia Fulks, News Editor
West Virginia University Libraries are undergoing major changes for the fall semester.
Student government representatives met with Dean of WVU Libraries Frances O’Brien in June to discuss further improving campus libraries. One change SGA Governor Leslie Saunders wanted to see was 24-hour access to libraries during the last two weeks of the semester.
O’Brien said that 24-hour access during those weeks are now in place at the Downtown Campus and Evansdale libraries. She said that now there is adequate staffing during the extended hours. However, not all library services will be available for students during the period.
“What students tell us they want is a place to study,” O’Brien said about the extension of hours.
As far as the library coffee shop, Eliza’s, extending its hours during the last week of classes and Finals Week, Michael Ellington, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, said they are researching the option. Concerns such as cost and staffing have come up.
“We’re going to extend the hours,” Ellington said. “We just need to figure out how to do that.”
Another change, started last month, is a new policy giving students a 30-day grace period after their book’s due date where there are no penalties. Hilary Fredette, interim head of Access Services, said that the new policy is going very well so far.
Students have 30 days after the due date of the book to either return or renew the book. Three notices will be sent through MIX notifying the student of the overdue book. After the 30-day period is up, the library will consider the book lost and will charge the student a $10 nonrefundable fee on top of a replacement fee. Once the book is returned, the replacement fee is taken away while the $10 fee stands.
Fredette said that students who had overdue books prior to July 1 are held by the rules that applied when they checked out the book.
Another new feature now offered by library services is IM Chat Reference, which is the newest element of the “Ask a Librarian” service. This allows students, faculty or staff to talk with a reference librarian from home and ask questions they may have on projects or papers. O’Brien said the addition can handle major chat services including Google Talk, AIM and others.
O’Brien also mentioned that every other spring, University faculty, staff and students can participate in a LibQUAL survey, which evaluates the quality of libraries. She said this survey found that computers were in high demand. Thirty new laptops are now available at Periodicals on the second floor at the downtown library complex.
O’Brien stated that the computer classroom on the lower level at the Downtown Library Complex will also be open for student use when classes are not in session in the room – this means another 30 available desktop computers for student use.
Another LibQUAL discovery is the request for a quieter space to study. O’Brien said that is why the Milano and Robinson Reading Rooms are now designated as “Deep Quiet Zones.” Students are to refrain from using cell phones and music devices as well as holding group meetings or conversations in these areas.
“We’re excited to be starting another fall,” O’Brien said. She said she is glad the libraries have a nice set of services “addressing students’ needs.”
For more information about library services visit at http://libraries.wvu.edu.