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Library Student Resource Group: Minutes Feb 29 2008

Library Student Resource Group

February 29, 2008

Present: Hannah Chung, Eve Ewing (proxy for Dan Kimerling), Katie Jones, Michael Jurczak, Monica Mercado, Fran Spaltro, Vaibhav Upadhyay, Han Xiao,
Meghan Hammond, Jim Vaughan, Sem Sutter, Rachel Rosenberg, John Kimbrough

Welcome to Agnes Tatarka, the Library's Assessment Director, who joined us for this meeting.

The minutes from our previous meeting were approved.

Updates and Follow-ups from Previous Meeting

Lost Book Fees

Recently the Ombudsperson contacted the Library about our lost book policy. A brief summary:

  1. A patron claims they returned a book that is still listed as "checked out" to them (usually by filling out the Claim/Appeal Form).
  2. The Library extensively searches the bookstacks and other likely locations for the book.
  3. If the book is found, it is checked in. However, if the book is not found, the Library continues to hold the patron responsible for the book.
  4. Like any other lost book, the patron then has the option of paying a replacement fee (usually $100, but varies by library) or providing a duplicate copy. The patron could also further appeal the Library's "lost" ruling.

If a lost book subsequently turns up and the patron returns the item within one year of its replacement, the Library will either refund the $100 replacement fee or give ("de-accession") the book to the patron. If the original book turns up after a year has passed, we keep it.

The Ombudsperson was concerned that the lost book policy, while fair, is not always understood by patrons. As a result, Jim and other staff in Access Services are discussing changes to the Library's website and other ways to communicate this information.

Return Receipts

Related to lost books, the Library wants to communicate that patrons can always hand books directly to a circulation staff member and request a receipt—even if the circulation point prefers to receive returns via the book drop. (Obviously, receipts can only be given when the circulation desk is open.)

Access to the D'Angelo Law Library

During business hours, getting to the D'Angelo Law Library (DLL) is fairly simply: go into the Law School and up to the second floor. However, in the evening the outside doors are all locked. Law students have cardswipe access; but what about non-Law students? This issue concerns both non-Law students who need to use the DLL collections and those students who need a safe place to study south of the Midway.

Non-Law students should approach the door nearest the Visitor Control Desk, where a security guard should be on duty. After verifying the student's ID, the guard will let them in. (Jim will check with our DLL colleagues to confirm this is the case.)

There is an underground tunnel connecting B-J and the Law School, and in previous years a limited number of B-J residents could get cardswipe access to the tunnel. However, construction has closed the tunnel for the foreseeable future; we will inquire if there are plans to reopen the tunnel when construction finishes on the new dorm.

Do increasing numbers of non-Law students place strain on the DLL? Although the DLL is primarily for the use of Law School patrons, so far non-Law students have been accomodated easily -- except for reading periods, most Law students study during the day. This topic may need to be revisited if non-Law numbers sharply increase.

Disclosure of Borrower Names

In compliance with Illinois law and the ALA Code of Ethics, the Library now treats the names of borrowers as confidental information. The Library's website has been updated to reflect this change, which was recently approved by the Library Board.

Copying and Networked Printing

With our vendor contract for copying and printing due to expire, the Library would like to know what equipment and services students would like to see in the Library. Highlights from the ensuing discussion:

What copying and printing services do you currently use?

Wish list: what copying/printing/scanning services would you like the Library to provide?

Other related comments:


LibQUAL+ results revealed many Library patrons felt we did not provide adequate "quiet space for study and learning." Much of this sentiment we ascribed to renovation projects at Regenstein and Law. Was construction solely to blame for our noise problems? If not, what should be done?

On construction: Generally, the completion of construction has helped (but not eliminated) the noise problem. Not only is there no more pipe grinding, etc., but also the construction noise made it less likely people would be silent: an attitude of "it's noisy already, so why should I be quiet?" was common.

"Quiet" spaces: Among undergrads, Crerar and Harper are considered "quiet" libraries—for work. Regenstein, by contrast, has more of a "living room" atmosphere thanks to its proximity to Max, Bartlett, and the Reynolds Club.Within Regenstein, the first floor and A-level are universally assumed to be noisy, with the noise level decreasing as one goes higher. The 2nd floor is probably most prone to complaints, as people do try to study quietly in that space, but it's a likely space to run into people, etc.

Bookstack desks are great for quiet study, but they are not close to reference materials and often seem creepy late at night.

Collaborative spaces: There's a huge need for small group spaces. The seminar rooms are a partial solution, but the rooms are very hard to get and are not soundproof (and we should remind groups of this fact with signs). Many groups are forced to meet in the open reading rooms—students don't like disturbing other patrons, but their work is important too and there is no choice. It might help to have clearly defined "collaborative zones."

Library-enforced "quiet zones"? The Library could encourage specific "quiet" areas—in this respect, it will be interesting to see what effect the Classics Reading Room signs have—but we also run the risk of pushing people out of "their" spot. (And everyone has a "spot.") The open floorplans also make it difficult to create quiet zones. However, the expectation is that the Library will set the baseline for community behavior, not the patrons. Without the Library providing leadership, students will simply infer norms from observed behavior: if someone else is talking on their cell phone, you will too. Once the Library sets the example, there's a good chance the community will self-police.

Matters Arising