Glendale College’s Library Gets a Face Lift

Students might have noticed a few changes in the library on campus. The space was redesigned over the summer to accommodate the study and work needs of students.

The library staff has been pushing for these changes for several years and depending on their budget, could take a while longer to complete.

Reference Service Librarian Brenda Jones has worked there for over 24 years and said “the library’s last addition and remodel was in 1996-97 and academic libraries have changed a lot in the last 10 to 15 years.”

Jones mentioned that Library Consultant Will Baty was hired last spring to assist in the re-visioning of the library space. Since then, only slight progress was made to implement his recommendations.

“A lot of these changes are part of the report that we commissioned about a year and a half ago,” Nancy K. Getty, faculty librarian and information competency instructor, said. “It became our goal to create a more collaborative learning space and separate that collaborative learning space from the quiet space.”

Baty visited the campus to look at the library and meet with students and faculty in order to come up with a report suggesting what needs to be done to bring the library up-to-date.

There have been setbacks, however. “We have not finished implementing Baty’s plan because of money,” Getty said. “We’ve been trying to forge ahead … which we’ve been trying to do with small grants — which we’ve gotten a couple of — and rearranged what we already have.”

“Now we will need money in order to buy furniture and computers,” Eric Hanson of library and learning support services said. “We have weeded the library’s periodical and reference collections so that we could remove shelving to make more space and allow more light into the library. Then, we borrowed tables from across campus to provide more seating.”

Even with a minimal budget, progress is still being made. Each of the levels now have a specific purpose.

The collaborative learning space is located on the main level which Getty says “is bound to generate some noise–which is kind of a taboo in the library, but really shouldn’t be in this day and age.”

Students can stay on the lower level if they need to work on group projects or set up for tutoring sessions. Getty acknowledges that there isn’t enough study rooms for group study so they are trying to make that space to “allow for noise that is generated anyway by people working at the reference desk or circulation and reserves desk,” she said.

“Upstairs we’ve put carols and signs designating it as the ‘quiet study space’ I think we are respecting people who want that quiet time, as well as a space where they can work together,” Getty added.

Post-it notes and markers decorated the library to solicit students’ opinions about all the changes that have been made so far and they’ve been fairly positive. Several of them have been completely filled with comments and suggestions, which have been noted for the future.

“The one thing that’s being asked for which we haven’t been able to do yet is ‘more computers, more computers’ and better Wi-Fi access,” Getty recalled.

Wi-Fi is a campus-wide problem, even with the additional hotspots, the connectability fluctuates on a daily basis.

While that problem is out of their hands, the library staff hopes to purchase tables with USB ports and electrical outlets soon.

Students are taking full advantage of the existing charging station but it’s been deemed inadequate based on the overall demand.

The lack of computers is another problem they plan to address. Getty said they plan on having computers in each of the study rooms as well.

It’s not all about technology though … even the boards are getting an upgrade, from chalk to dry erase ones. With all the additional lighting and seating, they are sure to attract more students by the end of the renovations.

There is still a lot to be done, but Getty is proud of the fact that they’ve forged ahead because “it is making all the difference for students,” she said.

“We hope to make the library the heart of Glendale Community College and the number one place students want to go to fulfill their information needs and to study,” Hanson said.