By Carlo Valladares
The B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library is a place for literacy, reading and acquired learning. However, during this spring semester, the library has undergone changes to help transition their building further into the new millennium and fit the needs of modern education. The library also plans on implementing more renovations for future semesters.
This semester, the library renovation process began with the moving the bookshelves that were once in the main study/computer area, which is located behind the reference desk, to the back of the library behind the copy room. The library has used the newly acquired space to increase the number of desks and chairs to offer more seating room for students. “Short term plans were to renovate the main study area behind the reference desk and create a larger student seating area because there just wasn’t enough space for students to sit,” said Mellissa Hinton, the assistant dean of Technical and Digital Services at the library.
In addition to the changes to accommodate more study space, the library has modified another way to obtain their resources. The Periodicals have also been changed. “It’s moved to a document delivery format, so that it won’t be necessary for a student to go downstairs and fill out a form to obtain the periodical. You’re able to request the article online,” Hiton said.
Other additions include charging stations. “New stations will be put in for students to charge their devices; they’ll be able to power their iPods, iPads, and laptops into the furniture,” Hinton added. “The 21st century library is very different from the old. The renovations are in-line with the changes of technology, and we want to make it a place that’s more exciting and a place where students want to be,” she added.
Furthermore, the library has listened to student requests for longer hours of operation on the weekend and has started the semester with adjusted hours. The Monday through Thursday hours remain the same, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., but the weekend hours are have also been modified. Friday and Saturday hours are now 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., instead of 5 p.m., and Sunday now operates from 12 p.m.to 11 p.m. Hinton continued, “As you can see, the LIU Post Library has expanded the hours of operation during the regular semester by over 15 percent.”
The Bookmark Cafe, located down the hallway to the Information Technology labs, where students went for a variety of food items, has plans for modifications as well. There are plans in the works for a larger cafe with extended hours as early as the fall 2014 semester.
These changes were made on the basis of student surveys. Hinton clarified, “Over the last year and a half we have been conducting a research study based on the students’ use of our library, library resources and the building, and how the students do research.” Hinton claims that the renovations are based on what the research has concluded so far.
In a Feb. 5, 2013 press release on the LIU website, the school announced the ethnographic study and revealed its observations. The study showed that students use Google and the library’s databases equally as resources to complete their work and that 67 percent of students browse the library’s website to find what they are looking for, as opposed to knowing where things are.
Additionally, it was revealed that 64 percent of students spend one to five hours per day on the web for research and school-related activities. As a result of the ongoing study of student habit, Hinton commented, “print is still with us, but students want 24/7 digital access.” She continued, “The research has shown that we need to make more renovations to the library in order to help our students achieve their goals and their social needs as well, as many students interact with their friends at the library.”
The library staff is hopeful and excited for the changes. “I think that once all of the renovations are complete, students are going to love the changes,” said Laura Kaye Chamberlian, a sophomore Musical Theater major who works at the library student circulation, as a desk assistant. The staff members aren’t the only ones who are optimistic.
Breana Martinez, a junior Journalism major, feels the changes are for the betterment of the student body. “I think the new improvements will be very beneficial,” Martinez said, “each addition can help accommodate the students, and the extended hours will help the students get their work done without stressing about the library closing early.”