A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, recognizing the combined efforts of Academic Computing and the USF Library in making information more readily available to students. The reason for the ceremony: the completion of the Information Commons center on the first floor of the USF Library. According to Library staff and USF administration, the new facility should make finding information easier.
“The pulse of any university is its library, because that’s where you have information,” said USF Provost Renu Khator. “I remember being here and jumping from one floor to another trying to find information, which was OK because it kept me in good health. But the time has come where we really should make it as easy as possible so people can spend time where they need to spend time and that is focusing on the content.”
Rocky the Bull and approximately 40 onlookers attended the ceremony, choking the flow of students on their way to the new facility.
Besides the change in the overall appearance of the first floor, some sweeping changes included help desks for both reference and technological assistance and an increase in the number of computers.
The number of seats has increased from 50 to 160, according to librarian Matt Torrence.
“In the future we are looking to expand beyond 200,” he said.
In addition, both technological and reference-related questions can be answered all on the same floor.
“So for people who are trying to use MyUSF(.com) or who are figuring out their e-mail, it’s way more accessible now,” said Skye Rogers, the communication manager of USF’s library system. “Before it used to be stuck on the sixth floor where most people didn’t know where it was.”
Rogers also said both academic and library computers were upgraded to have the same software and are more compatible then they were last year.
“What would happen is, a student would go onto one of our computers, get the resources that they wanted to and they would either have to print or e-mail the information to transfer the information. Then they would have to go into Academic Computing to use the software for whatever program they were trying to create,” Rogers said.
But of all the advancements, the increase in the number of computers has made it easier for students Chris Stinger and Laura Walton.
“It was like vultures,” Walton said, characterizing the way students had to look for an open computer in the past. “You had to surf around until someone got up, like in the parking garage. You’d either get lucky or have to just give up and go home.”
Stinger, a junior majoring in education, said he would often have to go to the sixth floor to find an available computer.
For some, the change seems moot.
“I never really had a problem getting on a computer because of the times I went to the Library,” said Laura Wells, a senior majoring in education.
Toward the end of the ceremony, Khator seemed satisfied with the new renovation but stressed a need for further improvement.
“I know President Genshaft believes very strongly (that) we need to have a Library that resembles the library of today’s public research universities.”