Library Policies Enforce Good Study Habits

Yesenia Pereyra

Students who want to do homework on a computer in the library may be forced to wait while others play with their MySpace accounts.

The computers in the second floor have full access to the Internet, where students take advantage of the access to do class work.

However, there are always students who abuse that privilege to check personal accounts, reply to e-mails or watch videos on YouTube.

On relaxing days, librarians are more lenient with computer usage. “Games, things that are not work related on a day like Saturday are OK,” librarian Spenser Coats said. But on busy days, like mornings in the weekdays, proper computer usage is enforced. To make sure all runs smoothly with computer usage, along with other policies like no food and drinks at the terminals, “Once every hour a librarian walks around the library to monitor [what students are doing],” said Coates.

Christian Hernandez, 20, frequently uses library computers to do homework in the morning. He usually has to wait five -10 minutes for people to finish checking their Facebook account or looking up friends on MySpace.

“Some people do homework, but others are on MySpace, Facebook and checking their e-mail,” said Hernandez. “If I am waiting, no one will let me use the computer. It depends what kind of person you are.”

Hernandez called himself “a pretty patient guy,” and said he will wait for someone to finally get off the somputers instead of letting people know their time is up.

Another student, Monica Pardo, 20, who uses the computer for homework as well, said, “Some people use it forever. The most I have waited has been half an hour.

Sometimes I just want to print out something or check something really quick, but I still have to wait.”

Flyers are clearly posted throughout the library that state: “The priority for computer usage is for research and class work; limit your computer use to 20 minutes when others are waiting.”

Even though users are familiar with the 20-minute limit use because of the posted flyers and the document policy screen saver for the computers, Coates has to deal with students misusing their computer time.

When there is a long line, the library staff manages the problem by sending electronic reminders about the 20-minute limit. Coates said it usually works, and that people do clear out, but an occurrence that happened earlier this month forced her to physically go and regulate the computer terminals.

A student went to tell her she had been waiting in line for 10 minutes to use a computer and do homework, while people were using it for purposes unrelated to schoolwork.

“I first sent the electronic message,” said Coates. “Nobody budged, so I went up [stairs] and explained the rules to them.” With this done, she said it “usually works. People cooperate and are OK with leaving.”

In busy days, librarian Susie Chin encourages “students to tell us [about potential problems], so we can go around and ask students to relinquish a computer.”

Coates said, “Occasionally, teachers give an assignment that requires a lot of work,” and the library understands. But even when is it busy, other students who also need to use the computer, so the library has to enforce the policy. Coates said the librarians tell this to the students nicely. “We are considerate of them too,” she said. “We let them know that their time is up, and that they need to wrap it up, which gives them time to save a file or print.”

The library tries to “have a fair and equal access, service and usage of library for all,” said Chin. “It is only fair to reinforce the policies.”