UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON LIBRARIES
March 23, 2000
The meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. in the Hesburgh Library faculty lounge by Chairman Harvey Bender. Also in attendance were Maureen Boulton, Kelly Gritten, Roger Jacobs, Michael Palumbo, Margaret Porter, Larry Rapagnani, Laurence Taylor, Jennifer Younger; guests Joe Cassidy, William Kirk, and Rev. Mark Poorman, C.S.C.; student guests Jonathan Lawrence, John Micek, and Brooke Norton; and secretary Melodie Eiteljorge.
The minutes of the meeting of February 10, 2000 were approved with one addition. Bender noted that he has received some suggestions in regard to the celebration of library renovation which was discussed briefly at the February meeting.
After a round of introductions, Bender provided a brief background on the University Committee on Libraries for the guests.
Younger then provided an update on planning for the Hesburgh Library renovation. The master plan is coming to fruition, focusing primarily on the first three floors. She circulated two copies of the plan. She noted that focus groups of faculty, students and staff had met to discuss needs and to share ideas with the architects and the planning committee. Students expressed three major priorities: 24-hour access, coffee, and comfortable seating. Since then a fourth has emerged: computer access.
Father Poorman asked why the auditorium and lounge are not part of the renovation. Younger responded that those facilities are assigned by the registrar and do not fall under the control of the Libraries. The auditorium is in line to be renovated separately for instructional purposes.
Bender added that there are other parts of the building that are not under library control, including the Presidential lounge on the 14th floor, executive offices on the 13th floor and various seminar rooms throughout the tower. He observed that, in planning 15 years into the future, we should consider the probable closing of Juniper Road to through traffic, and the impact on access to the Hesburgh Library.
Younger noted that the master plan allocates space and general location of programs and services. Due to weight, compact shelving for books and the microform cabinets will be in the basement.
Student guests inquired about the study space on the second floor. Younger responded that library departments will move from prime space on the first floor to the second floor, and study space will be located on the first, second and basement floors. We want to zone the building to keep certain areas open at night. We also want some quieter study space. Micek recalled that in focus groups there were discussions about having different kinds of study areas. Younger responded that this would be addressed in the next stage of planning.
Boulton noted that "the Pit" seems to be eliminated in the floor plan. Younger replied there will be a very small café off the first floor concourse with some additional vending in the basement. Kirk noted that such a café would be for the convenience of those using the library, not a destination. Lawrence noted that many graduate students are often in the building all day and eat in the Pit. Though they are not attached to the Pit specifically, they are accustomed to the concept and the availability of tables and a microwave oven.
Jacobs observed that, in libraries across the country, the Barnes and Noble model is a concern on the part of librarians. Younger stated that we are interested in providing effective learning space, which students believe includes coffee. Currently there are problems with food and drink in the building, particularly during finals week, which are worsened by the lack of library enforcement of existing "no food and drink" policies.
Bender agreed that this is a special challenge. Activities for graduate and undergraduate students differ. Can we address all the needs in one resource simultaneously? Cassidy added that this is an opportunity to build more of a community to interact. The same space could be used for different events.
Kirk noted that the food facility in the new Hammes bookstore has had limited success. It is not a common place for students to go. He would hate to do the same thing in the library and not have it be successful.
Younger stated that, with 2,000 seats in the building, we are considering around 20 in the café. Jacobs asked why we should limit it to 20. Why not make it big and make it comfortable? Kirk responded that we do not want to compete with other food services on campus. We do not want it to be a destination. Younger noted that we are planning reader tables adjacent to the vending space. Taylor noted that we do not have an infinite amount of space.
Gritten stated that library administration should clarify what is allowed in the building. Younger agreed. Rapagnani agreed that computers and coffee are not compatible, either. He suggested approved, spill-proof mugs. Micek noted that coffee isn't the only beverage brought in. He doesn't think we would be hurting ourselves in any way by creating a café.
Porter agreed that there is currently a problem with food and drink on the first floor. She doesn't feel that it could get worse. In the computer cluster and the Medieval Institute we do have "no food and drink" policies that are enforced. She is concerned about the unique and special book collections. However, librarians do not want to be enforcers. Their goal is public service.
The next issue was the future of technology in the building and whether the next generation of students will be coming with laptops. Younger noted that we plan to include multiple-person workstations and study rooms, and ports for computers. We are assuming that more computers will be brought in, but we do not know what kind of technology will be available. We are conducting an experiment with the OIT on wireless computing. Some libraries buy and check out laptops for building use.
Micek stated that the trend is for more students to bring laptops. He doesn't feel that he can get a lot done in a lab.
Father Poorman stated that the University will be opening DeBartolo in the evenings for students and study. Younger welcomed this development. We are at maximum capacity on weekends and concerned about having enough student study space. As staff expands and collections expand, this begins to put a squeeze on space.
Micek stated that many students study alone or with one or two other students. DeBartolo seems to be more conducive to group study. Father Poorman responded that there are ways to reconfigure. DeBartolo could become a central study space on campus.
Kirk noted that there is a lot of pressure regarding the need to collaborate on projects after hours. Safety and security are high priorities. Having a safe, 24-hour study space is a priority.
Younger asked about the demand for 24-hour study space. Norton responded that people are used to going to the library and that places like Reckers are too noisy for study. Lawrence added that graduate students are waiting in the morning when the doors are opened at 7:30 a.m.
Kirk expressed concern about the broader public coming into a 24-hour space. Younger replied that we will propose ID access with key cards.
Bender asked about other successful models. Younger replied that the planning committee made a site visit to Emory, where there is a similar situation. Micek noted that Stanford has 24-hour access with cards and that Yale has access to research materials but not the stacks. He asked about the possibility of student monitors. Kirk suggested monitors be employed, not working on a voluntary basis.
Kirk noted that the University would like to accommodate the students as much as possible. However, he does not encourage all night study. Cassidy added that LaFortune rarely has traffic after 4 a.m.
Younger stated that historically there is very little traffic in other libraries in the early morning hours. However, so that staff do not have to leave or arrive at 4 a.m., the proposal is to stay open all night.
Cassidy observed that LaFortune was not designed to be a study area. Yet, at times, students ask to have the volume on the radio turned down. Father Poorman noted again that DeBartolo can help to resolve some of the problems. Living in a dormitory, he is aware of the fact that students leave to study at the library.
Bender suggested that the library is not in competition with other study areas on campus. We have a mission to make the library the focus of interaction and want to invite students to use the facilities and the materials as much as possible.
Taylor stated that it is his impression that books and periodicals are not the main reason students come to the library. Boulton stated that she is delighted to hear that students are converting all space to study space. Father Poorman added that they are also looking for good lounge space. Both study space and lounge space are needed.
Taylor suggested that some spaces could be used for different activities at different times. For example, in some areas we could "turn down the music" during exam periods. Father Poorman added that there is a large area in the student union at Marquette that converts from lounge space to study space at night.
Bender asked if off-campus students come back to the library to study at night. The students agreed that they do, and that they also come back to use the computer labs.
Rapagnani noted that the OIT is also conducting an experiment in DeBartolo with wireless computing. However, this includes an additional cost to the student since it requires a wireless card as well as an ethernet card. Five or ten years down the road it will probably be common. Meanwhile, the OIT is trying to populate areas with internet jacks wherever possible.
Younger asked for a summary of needs and desires. In general, the students agreed that their involvement is useful and should continue. They recommend 24-hour space, food 24 hours, continual expansion of computer and ethernet connections, access to food and drink, and comfortable seating with good lighting.
Boulton noted that Saint Mary's library is very nice. Younger stated that it is one of our models. Norton added that many students drive over to Saint Mary's to use their library.
Father Poorman expressed his appreciation for the process. Younger thanked all the guests for their input.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
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