Monday, March 15, 2010

A "serious institution's" library

Hello all!

You know I always enjoy reading The Hiltonian. Misti and the gang always do a great job with their fingers on the pulse of student opinion and give us their take on Reinhardt community news. I always read it and take it very seriously.

So it was with great interest that I read Tyler Hinson's list of things Reinhardt University should do to be worthy of its new name. Especially this one:

"6. Open the library 24/7/365. Every serious institution features this service.
Students need the opportunity to study and prepare at their leisure."

First of all, Tyler, thanks! I'm very flattered that you guys want more of us!

Actually our library is open 24/7/365 already! Our 24 hour study areas, complete with computers, printer and scanner, are always accessible to Reinhardt students with their Eagle cards. Our databases are always available. A large part of our collection is the 80,000 e-books and the 34,000 full-text electronic journals (more being added all the time), and those can also be accessed at any time by our students, even at 3:30 am when the paper's due at 9:00! We actually have far more electronic materials than we do physical books and journals, so don't judge our books by their covers, haha.

But I'm probably being a little disingenuous here. I expect Tyler's talking about staffed library hours. I wondered how ours really stacked up, so I did a little research. I think you'll be pleased. The 2008 Academic Libraries Survey conducted by the United States Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, states that the majority of academic libraries--2,530--were open between 60-99 hours during a typical week. Another 683 academic libraries were open between 40-59 hours per typical week, and 532 were open more than 100 hours per typical week. Our 78 staffed hours per week are right in the majority, and quite respectable, I think.

As to whether every serious institution keeps its library open (and staffed) all the time, I did a little checking. UGA doesn't. Georgia Tech actually does keep their library open 24 hours, but not staffed by librarians; they have security guards there and after a certain hour students have to use their IDs to get in. Neither Harvard, Yale, nor Princeton keep their libraries open 24 hours, and they would probably like to be thought of as "serious institutions." MIT doesn't keep their library open 24 hours either, although during Finals Week they do stay open until 2 a.m.--for those with a student ID card of course.

But, Tyler, if they ever decide to keep our library staffed 24/7, I'll be happy to volunteer for the third shift! ;) I'm a night owl anyway. In the meantime, be comforted that we're doing the best we can to be worthy of the name "Reinhardt University." And thanks for thinking of us!

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