Today: Apr 23, 2024

Library Space is cut as services are increased

Monica Szakacs, News Writer:
Stored in the cafeteria area of the old student center are mostly special collections and uncommonly used children books, according to Paul Holmer, special collections Librarian.

“There are quite a few, almost more than I can calculate,” said Holmer. “These books also include records of the University history such as old catalogs, periodicals, student newspapers, old year books, things like that.”

When Southern began construction of the library and closed off the front portion, not all the books were able to have space to be on display. Holmer said these books will return and be placed in the new renovated library when construction is complete. “It is one of those things that’s less than perfect and was meant to be temporary,” said Holmer. “They’ve been there for four years now.”

Holmer said the books that were rarely requested or checked out were placed in the old student center.

“Students can’t access these books themselves because of safety and access issues,” said Holmer.

The stored books are still on the consul catalog, and Holmer said if a student has a special request a librarian will retrieve the book. Holmer said when a student has a request it is generally for multiple books.

“Usually they are looking for something in the University’s records,” said Holmer, “so I may get an individual some dozen of books.”

The Library offers many other services that accommodate and cater to students and staff, especially within the network “innovation.”

According to Steve Collision, server support specialist and systems administrator, since the physical library at Southern can only offer people so much hard copy of resources, Inter Library Loan (ILL) offers patrons to barrow and lend resources between all the libraries in the world.

“There was a book that I was looking for, and it’s been out of print for 30 years, and I couldn’t find it anywhere,” said Collision. “It was on sale on the internet but it was like $500, so I said alright and went through ILL and I got it within a week—that’s the power of Inter Library Loan.”

The service is free, even though there are shipping fees, because the library absorbs those costs.

The library offers a mobile service called Text a Librarian, said Lisa Carlucci Thomas, digital services librarian. If people have questions that they want to ask librarians, either research questions or questions about the library, they can use the Text a Librarian service and receive a response within the normal business hours.

Text a Librarian:
Offers a direct connection to experts ready to answer questions.
Text SCSU & your question to 66746.
Texting charges apply.

“It’s been picking up with popularity this year,” said Carlucci Thomas. “We had it just about a year and more and more students have been getting on board with it.”
If someone sends a message over night when the library is not staffed, Carlucci Thomas said someone will answer it the next morning.

“This is not exactly ideal,” said Carlucci Thomas. “We would like to be able to answer more immediately in the off hours, but we don’t have enough staffing to make sure we can do that.”

Information on how to text a librarian is on the Buley Library homepage, and standard rates apply unless someone has unlimited free texting.
Content DM is also a part of the library’s web services. It is a website that offers once printed material that now has been digitized. Old post cards of libraries in Conn., that someone donated, were the pilot project for Content DM, according to Collision.

“We at Buley,” said Carlucci Thomas, “are investing time in cultivating digital collections that we think will be useful to our community whether special collections, special materials.”

Carlucci Thomas said they are working on digitizing the news letters of the Connecticut Library Association of a certain time period, which readably had not been available to the public.

The library also houses a new touch screen scanner on the main floor. Collision said students and faculty have the option to scan and print, send to an email or transfer documents to an USB plug.

For the future, Southern is exploring two new ideas. The library has talked about generating an app for iPhones, but it is still on the agenda according to Collision.

“What is needed is the Mac OS system to develop apps for iPhones,” said Collision. “We don’t have that development environment yet, but that’s down the road.”

Also on the library agenda is Kindle, according to Christina Baum, library director. It will give students exposure to see if it is something they want to buy, said Baum.

“We have been talking about purchasing some and checking them out,” said Baum. “I think we’re getting close to doing that. We just had to see where we are with the budget, because the FY 12 budget is going to be our hardest hit ever, but it is my intention to go ahead and purchase some mobile devices.”

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