Three weeks into the academic calendar, and C.W. Post’s B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library is once again seeing familiar numbers filter through its doors.
“From 10 a.m. until closing, there is constant foot traffic in and out of the library,” says Martha Cooney, the assistant dean for user services.
This comes as no surprise, as, in 2003, a full-on renovation equipped the library with a myriad of contemporary functions that students have come to rely on. Gone are the days when all that a campus library had to offer were several million volumes of text, a square mile of microform storage, and a helpful staff (though they still have these things).
Available on the library’s website are dozens of online databases, which give students access to accredited information around the clock.
Online alone, there are 1.2 million volumes, with remote access to 25,000 e-books, and over 200 library databases (Library Pamphlet). Services such as ebrary, a database with thousands of books in digital format, allow a user to create an electronic bookshelf full of downloadable text.
The B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library houses 2,615,194 volumes of text and is involved in an Interlibrary Loan Service (ILLiad), which allows students to access the full catalogs of most major libraries around the country.
The library also has a sizable collection of prints, microform and periodicals, which have, for the most part, become digitized, and are available for download. Items from the database that are not available online can also be obtained through the ILLiad service.
Over the past two decades, the library’s integration with technology has completely changed the way students access information.
“The Library has changed, but in a wonderful way,” says Cooney. “The content we can provide to students is so much better than it was 20 years ago. The library has no boundaries.”
Since the renovation, the library is now home to 24 computer workstations, network and wireless connections, a quiet study room, an instructional room, a copy center, a circulation desk, a help desk, stacks with private carrels, and many additional study tables.
In addition to the libraries new features, new initiatives have been established to help students acclimate to more modern methods of research.
One such initiative, titled “Ways to Ask A Librarian for Help,” described on informational, details five ways to contact the library’s staff:
IM A Librarian: A service that involves using one of five instant messaging services to chat with reference librarians on duty.
Chat: A dedicated chat platform, accessible through the library’s website.
Research by Appointment: a private consultation with a reference librarian. Reference librarians are also available by email and by telephone.
Inquiries include navigating the Library’s catalog, developing topics for a research paper, and identifying appropriate Internet resources.
The use of online resources by students has been overwhelming; with the library’s online databases receiving thousands of hits so far this year.
Caitlyn Wrigley, a graduate student in library sciences, feels that the library and its staff are invaluable resources for students. “The library’s many digital resources are exceptional, and the librarians are always there to help,” said Wrigley. “It’s something that everyone should take advantage of because they have everything you could possibly need to succeed as a student.”
Though the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library has undergone an aesthetic transformation in recent years, still unchanged is the staff of librarians, who are relentless in their pursuit to provide students with a wealth of relevant information.