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Dec. 6, 2012

Library to start ditching books

Pushes toward digitial content

By Amanda Duncan

Students could see some new changes in the Michael Schwartz Library next semester with the recycling of duplicated materials to make room for new ideas to improve student library experiences.

“Our goal is to shrink the print collection responsibly to make more study space by moving materials and contributing to print depository.” said Glenda Thorton, library director.

The growing advances in technology have many students using more online media than print. Thorton explained that the library spends literally $1 million a year on e-content and that more publishers are going back to digitize past material.

Thorton also said that certain departments such as math, biology, physics, chemistry and writing are coming up with various ideas like active learning opportunities for students.

A proposal for a math emporium has been sent to President Berkman as part of the presidential strategic initiatives program by Dr. John Holcomb and other colleagues.

“The estimated cost is $1.1 million,” Holcomb said. “It is estimated to break down as follows: $300,000 for computers, furniture and support systems for Macbooks, and $800,000 for moving stacks, Internet connections, wiring and other building supplies.

Kent State University has a math emporium and allows students to come in and be evaluated on their skill level in order to have material geared toward their specific learning needs.

Christina Sell and her colleagues in the groups of the First Year Writing Program, the Writing Center and the Grant Writing Program also submitted a proposal for hands on teaching with different software.

By spring semester there will be a math lab classroom on the fourth floor. These proposals may cause some changes in locations of the various things on specific floors such as group study and silent study. Thorton stated that the possibility of switching the silent floor from the second floor to the fourth floor and moving the group study to the second floor.

“Making the silent floor higher up might be beneficial because there may be less elevator traffic,” said junior Maureen Kaye.
Noise on the silent study floor is also a concern Carmen Irizarry expressed.

“Silent study is silent study and people talk all the time,” Irizarry said.

She also expressed her dislike for the closing of the computer lab on the fourth floor.
Thorton explained that it wasn’t economical to keep the lab open after its use plummeted after preprinting use increased.

Concerns were expressed by a few student stack workers about students’ needs being catered to when the library is considering changes that may affect tuition. These students believe that the changes should be practical and students should be aware of possible changes.

“There aren’t enough places to work, there is so much space that could be used better, said Elizabeth Seigel, psychology major.

Seigel’s main reason for coming into the library is for the big table space and an outlet to plug in her laptop’s charger plug. Andy Sasak, a graduate student, studies on the fourth floor with a group of his classmates and also enjoys the big tables. “This is the only place on campus that i know of that you have large tables where you can study like this on campus,” said Sasak.

The space issue that has plagued the library comes from the duplication of print and online copies of journals. The library may store some of the hard bound journals in the physical plant.

“A library is a living organism,” Thornton said. “It’s constantly changing and so is the medium, we always have had to adapt.”

The library is waiting to hear from the president’s office on whether or not any proposal had been approved. Students will have to wait and see exactly what kind of changes the spring semester will bring to the Michael Schwartz Library.