Library changes to keep up with tech-savvy lifestyle

Mabee Version 2.0 Eric Russell utilizes Mabee’s electronic classroom to gather information. The electronic classroom is just one of many ways that the library is hoping to transition to the 21st century and stay connected with students.


Updates to the Mabee Library and Curriculum Resources Center have turned these campus locations into multi-purpose hot spots. The changes are part of interim dean Gary Schmidt’s mission to stress technology, attract students to the library and find ways to bring the library to the students.

The new features reflect those interests. That the Federated Search software, which increases information accessibility to more than 100 databasescompares the software to Google, except for databases. A new program this year called iRead, similar to a book club, is supported by the library as well. It provides a common interest group for avid readers and an opportunity for a shared learning experience.

“It is a tremendous benefit to use the library for that particular program,” said Schmidt.

The main attraction to the library for students is the electronic classroom. Free printing and computer terminals are also popular, and Schmidt believes that there is a demand for more of the same. Getting more printers and terminals on all floors of the library would be the ideal solution, but in the meantime, the electronic classroom will be accessible 12 more hours per week.

During finals the library will again offer 24-hour accessibility to students. It is the perfect study environment with its many resources, including refreshments, during that time period.

“The open hours promote a coffeehouse-type concept that students seem to like,” said Smith.

A number of initiatives are still in the works. One of special interest is the idea to make Center for Undergraduate Studies and Programs tutors available in the library in the weeks preceding enrollment. Schmidt is interested in incorporating what other organizations and departments have to offer with what the library can make available to students.

“We’re working toward getting some relationships with areas on campus to see about whether [the library] can provide tutoring,” said Schmidt.

Potential additions to the library also include the option to utilize designated rooms for club meetings, presentations and other functions. Better accessibility and more opportunities for the educational community is a primary goal.

“Stationing a librarian in the dorms or in Stoffer [Science Hall] across campus, for example, would help students and make the library a friendlier place to think about and try to be part of,” said Schmidt.

Even the current dean is subject to change. Alan Bearman, chair of the selection committee, confirmed that the process is in motion.

“We are looking for someone who has a vision of a 21st century library that is a welcoming place for students,” said Bearman.

In the midst of all the changes and ideas, Smith stressed how important the library is for students’ futures.

“How they use the library will dictate what their success will be,” said Schmidt. “The students that really gain the techniques for searching this data, in my opinion, will be the leaders of the future.”