Library extends hours

Following years of lobbying by students and Student Government alike, major renovations to both the Library’s interior and schedule are under way.

“This building will have space through 2008,” Library Information Coordinator Skye Rodgers said when asked about the ever-increasing number of Library volumes.

The facility holds approximately 1.4 million books, Library Director Phyllis Ruscella said. When built, it was intended to hold only 1.1 million.

“We’re already moving the journals that you can find electronically down to the basement to make more room upstairs,” Ruscella said.

According to both Rodgers and Ruscella, planned renovations of the first floor are still being worked on.

“With new learning styles, we have to change things,” Rodgers said. “There is a lot more group work than there used to be. We’re putting in more group areas and gutting the first floor piece by piece.”

Plans to move the media resources from the sixth floor and relocate the silent reading room from the first floor to the basement are also in the works, states an SG executive report. In addition to renovating and rearranging, the Library is extending its hours of operation beginning next fall.

“(The Library) agreed to extend their hours by 10,” student body Vice President Sameer Ahmed said. “The changes would include keeping the Library open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and not changing the hours on Fridays and Saturdays just yet. That would be the next step we take, though.”

Ruscella agreed that extended weekend hours are necessary, but input from the students on appropriate times is needed before any changes occur. The Library will still keep extended weekend hours intact for final exam week.

Ahmed said the Sunday through Thursday extension has been a part of SG’s agenda for nearly nine years. However, Ruscella and Rodgers both noted that the Library had extended hours three to four years ago and was forced to trim the schedule because of budget cuts.

The amount of money necessary to staff the building during extended hours is approximately $156,200, according to a Library report. The report also clarifies the need for additional personnel, the foremost of which are two part-time security guards.

“There’s no officer on duty right now, but we will need one for the evenings. We currently rely on the USF Police Department. In the evening, though, safety issues become paramount,” Ruscella said.

Only USF students, faculty and staff will be allowed access after 11:30, and student access will be limited to the first floor. Patrons will either have to check in with a security guard or swipe their USF ID.

The Library is also working on plans to give students more access to the latest technology, Ruscella said. In the future the Library will begin to lend laptops and possibly iPods to students for use within the building. The iPods will be used in conjunction with foreign language studies.

“Students will more than likely find group study rooms in the future with the technology,” Rodgers said, “so that they can work on PowerPoint projects and group activities.”