Mabee welcomes WiFi upgrade, new computers

Blake Kresge

Mabee Library experienced both wins and losses this summer in its plan to become the academic living room of the campus.

In the win column, a new welcome desk is slated to open later this fall and in terms of WiFi, the library is definitely heating up.

“It is probably the hottest building on campus now,” said Alan Bearman, interim dean of the library.

The warm up comes courtesy of new wireless access points installed over the summer by Information Systems and Services. These access points will be put to good use as Mabee’s new fleet of computers powers on this semester. The library bought 29 new computers, including 25 laptops available for student checkout. All-new MacBooks make their home in a new Mac station.

“The students said that they wanted to have laptops so they could study in groups and move through the building,” said Bearman.

As for other projects at the library, Mondays at the Mabee, a popular weekly lecture series will, continue this semester. Students gather in the southwest corner of the library, surrounded by couches and chairs to discuss and debate relevant topics. Last year the series included talks about the honors programs, study skills and political discussions during the campaign season.

Yet not all of the library’s plans rolled through so easily this summer. Last semester, the library submitted a proposal for a coffee cart, which turned out to be one of nine capital equipment fund requests at Washburn. With budget restraints, all attempts to get a coffee cart rolling in Mabee Library fell short.

“When students come to the library, they stay for two, three hours while they are doing their studies. They tell us all the time they want to be able to get a drink,” said Bearman. “It’s driven by student request.”

Genni Newsham, senior English major, said she uses the library several times each semester and thinks the coffee cart would only improve those visits.

“It’s a great idea,” said Newsham. “It definitely would make the library a better place to study.”

And with support like that, Bearman said he would continue to push the coffee cart idea.

“It’s not going to happen this year,” said Bearman. “I’m a big supporter of it. I think it’s something libraries are doing all over the country. I think it’s something students and faculty want us to do. We’ll ask again.”