Excuse of the Day: Alarming!

In Course Reserves, we have a strict, two hour turnover on our books.  So here's the excuse I get from a student who returned a book 14 hours late after leaving the building with the book (which was a closed reserve, meaning it could not leave the building in the first place).

"I would have returned the book but the alarm didn't go off when I left the building, so I didn't know it was in my bag."


First, when you check out a book, it is your responsibility to return it on time.  An alarm at a gate should never equal 'oh I have to return this!'

Second, let's be honest.  The student checked out the book fully intending to take it home over night to study.  His game plan for getting out of the fine was to say that the alarm on the gate didn't go off when he left, so he shouldn't be responsible for the fine. 

Guess what?  Leaving the building with library materials that are not allowed to leave the building is called theft regardless of whether or not an alarm sounds.  And since we are a Land Grant University, it amounts to the theft of Federal property.  You're lucky that all you're getting is an overdue fine.

Why did you put the book in your bag if you never intended to leave with it?  And how did you not notice the massive book that didn't belong to you in your bag?  It was a textbook that weighed 8lbs. Yeah.  I believe you.

This isn't my first time to the rodeo, son.


The Phases

I don't remember describing the phases for everyone, so here's what the University Libraries is working on:

Phase 1 (Complete): Relocate the Maps Library into the basement of Pattee Library.
Old Maps in Ground Paterno:

New Maps in Basement Pattee:

Much improved!

Phase 2: (Complete) Move I-Tech into the the old Maps Library space.

Sorry, I don't have any pictures of this.  I have toured the new space and it's premo!  Instead of your typical cubicles, the partitions slide to create moving walls.  Upshot of this is that Dilbert-ville can be easily altered to accommodate staff.  They also put in a new tech classroom for the Libraries staff!  (I may need to avail myself of it next in-service.)

Phase 3: Foster Auditorium move and the new Reading Room (E.T.A. Fall 2010).

Sally (my direct associate dean) has schematics of this, but not online.  (Curse the sudden but inevitable betrayal!)  Foster, which currently sits in Pattee, will be moved wholesale into Paterno Library right across from the Curtain Road entrance.  Unlike the current configuration which forces you to walk in front of a speaker if you come in late, the new Foster will funnel the audience to the back of the auditorium so they can come in and sit down with out distracting the speaker.  This configuration also lets us leave back and middle row openings for wheelchair bound audience members (because if you don't want to sit up front, you shouldn't have too.)  The new Foster will also include a Goo Paint wall.  Goo paint makes a flat surface wall projection ready and we will have three state of the art projectors for each part of the wall.

But the best part in the reconfiguration is that it leaves a new, bigger space right next to the auditorium for Disability Services!  This means our handicapable students can walk in the door and not have to walk across a city block (that's how big the entire building is) to get to the basement in West for technology dedicated to their use. 

Where Foster is now, will be the new Reading Room.  It have several pieces of low, permanent shelving for our rotating Leisure Reading Collection.  The rest of the furniture will be light and easy to move.  The idea behind this is to let our students create the room they want by letting them move the furniture.  It will include two new group study rooms, a media bar, more self checkouts, and... the windows will be open!!!  That means the light outside comes in during the day and the front of Pattee facing the Mall will light up the area at night like a beacon!

Phase 4: New Lending/Reserves Desk and Staff area/Stonehenge/Diversity Room (ETA unknown)
Lending and Reserves will be combined in one area.  Desk configuration yet to come.  I'm on the team behind that one, so I'll post our ideas as we get moving on it.

Stonehenge...  This is Stonehenge:
It is a massive, slightly curved slab of faced plywood.  And it blocks the entrance to the Stacks.  You know, they place we keep the books.  Students walk passed this looking for a way into the Stacks and never see it!

This was the 'bright' idea of the last architect who had to leave his 'mark' on the building. 

Currently, we use it to display exhibits, which pisses said architect off.  We don't care.

We want this horrible thing gone.  It will need to go to put the new Lending/Reserves desk in the same room and still leave space for traffic flow.  Sally suggested that we make some money off of getting rid of it: a dollar a swing with a sledge hammer!

The Diversity Studies Room (in the picture above, it's the open room in the left corner) is a named space.  The new plans call for that space to be a new set of bathrooms, which we are sorely lacking in the central building.  (The last mens' room in Central is now my boss' office.  That's how desperate we are for space!)  However, before we can do anything with it, we need to negotiate with the donor who gave us the money for the room.  There is a plan for it, but the donor must okay it first.

Phase 5: The Reserve Reading Room becomes the Knowledge Commons (ETA: Fall 2011)

This will be the biggest part of the construction (assuming that Phase 7 never happens).  It involves glass study rooms, multimedia centers, podcasting studios, video making rooms, and mini living rooms all over for comfort!  Again, there is a schematic for it, but it's not online. 

Phase 6: Gateway becomes... Gateway? (ETA Fall 2011)

Gateway Commons is so popular that the admins are loath to turn it into much needed office space.  It may be that Gateway gets an upgrade and expansion.  Details are still forthcoming.

Phase 7:  Atrium  (ETA if we get the money, Fall 2011)

This is the phase that we all pray for but aren't holding our collective breaths. 

Take a moment and have a look at this site: Librophiliac Love Letter

Aren't those beautiful libraries?  Yeah.  Phase 7 would make us one of those beautiful libraries.  The problem is the 4 million dollar price tag.

The plan would be to enclose our little garden area and make it a huge winter garden.  The walls of the building would be stripped back and glass walls would be installed, turning the entire area into a naturally lighted shining wonder and opening up the entire junction between Central and West Pattee! 


Maybe Joe and Sue Paterno will come up with something for us.


Phase 8: Mezzanine (ETA maybe never?)

This was a cool idea we had way back that would make the Lending lobby (which looks and sounds like Grand Central Station) a bit more livable by adding a mezzanine that would wrap around the top of the lobby.  It's low on the priority list, but would make an awesome touch to a wide open space.


The BIG News

Last week we got an email (and an Oracle meeting to reserve the time!) about a major gift to the Libraries.  Today, the day of days, came the announcement:

2.5 Million from a joint donation by Mr. and Mrs. Peter G. Tombros and Dr. and Mrs. John R. McWhirter for the Knowledge Commons.  This money will take us through phases 5 and 6!

1.4 Million from Ann and Peter Tombros for an endowment to enhance the Classics and Mediterranean Studies (CAMS) collections to boost us into the top five university libraries in the nation!  The new gift creates the Tombros Librarian for Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, the Tombros Libraries Collections Fund to Support Ancient Greek Studies, and the Tombros Visiting Scholars Endowment.   Of which our very own Dan Mack will be the first chair librarin!  W00t!

Now, all we need is to find someone to give us the 4 million for the Atrium.  (oh please, oh please, oh please!)


A Required Test

I have come to realize that all colleges, universities, technical institutes, vocational schools, and higher education outlets should have a very specific entrance test for all applicants who are on the verge of acceptance.

Take all of the students and put them in a building. Tell them to bum around for a few minutes and then leave the building.

Every single one who walks out an emergency exit fails. They don't get their acceptance.

If you don't work in higher education, this may seem like a stupid test.

It isn't.

If I had a dime for every student who walked out an emergency exit in my building during the last year, I could retire NOW. And the worst part is the excuses they give you:

"I saw the sign but I didn't think it applied to me."

"I saw someone else go out that door."

"I was talking on my cell phone."

"I couldn't find the exit."

But the worst, by far, is this excuse:

"Well, you should have put a sign on the door!"

Every single emergency exit in my building has no less than FOUR very large signs that say, "DO NOT ENTER. EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY."

As a very important part of higher education is the ability to pay attention, I find this test an easy solution to weeding out the student body.