Marvin Library going beyond books

Nichole Danyla

Staff Writer

More Than Books

The Marvin Library Learning Commons seeks to fill every student’s academic needs with more than just books. Gone is the traditional library filled with rows and rows of books few will ever read.

In 2012, the library underwent a major renovation.

“As a part of the renovation we took into account that we had allotted a tremendous amount of space in this building to print materials (books), and the reality is the amount of print materials we have in this building decreases every year,” said Brenda Hazard, the director of the library.

The extra space made by shrinking the book collection was used to create the Library Café and the red zone” on the second floor. The “red zone” is an area of silent study in the library.

When Hazard became the director of the library in 2007, the library had about 140,000 print books and about 3,000 electronic books. Over the last seven years that number has changed dramatically. The library now has less than 80,000 books and 110,000 electronic books.

Along with the print books, the ratio of books being borrowed has also decreased. By the end of August 2014 the library had made 13,000 loans and only 8,000 of them were books.

“The remainder were for group study room keys, locker keys, headphone use, all kinds of additional materials that aren’t books. We lend things we never used to have,” said Hazard.

“I’m not that concerned that students aren’t using print books as much as they used to because the library is investing a lot of money, a lot of resources into our E-book collection, and students are using them,” she said.

“The number of print books that are borrowed [has] gone down, but what we’ve tried to do is create other services in place of that, and I think we’ve been pretty successful,” Hazard said.

Statistics would seem to agree with her. Last year, the library was visited almost half a million times, a 15 percent increase, even as the college’s enrollment rate dropped.

The library also has a wide collection of peer reviewed and scholarly articles online in the databases on their web site.

The library director reported more than 2 million searches in the facility’s databases and about half a million downloads of articles last year. On the flip side the library only has about 100 journals in print and has re-shelved them about 1,000 times.

The library has more than just online E-books and databases for students to use. They have a wide variety of services that they either host themselves or sponsor.

They sponsor the Writing and Research Center and the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) as well as encompassing the Learning Disabilities Center, the Instructional Media Center (IMC), and the College Academic Support Program.

The library has also started iPad and laptop lending as well as locker lending. Hazard got the idea of laptop lending while working at SUNY Albany and was finally able to get the program up and running this semester.

The library also started “Text a Librarian.” The new program lets any student text the library a question and a librarian will text back with an answer. The program serves to accommodate people who do not have time to come into the library, but still need assistance.
Hazard concluded, “Students love being in the library. They might be using our resources through their laptops or smartphones…but students like being in this building.”

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