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ISSUE 118 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/5/2004

Responding to readers

By Molly McGraw
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 5, 2004

Its no secret that Oles like to voice their opinions. All one needs to do is stop near the mailboxes, listen in the cafeteria or sit in any residence hall for more than five minutes to hear dozens of comments on how wonderful or horrible lunch was, how fast or slow the elevators are or what desperately needed piece of mail did or did not come.

Although these attitudes may be expressed with enthusiasm, students are often allowed to fade into the background of life without any substantial change being made.

The too-greasy grilled cheese at the cafeteria will probably be greasy the next time you get it (and you will get it again); the elevator that made you late for class will still move like molasses (shouldnt you be taking the stairs anyway?); and the mail & well, sometimes you just have to deal.

In the midst of this melee of complaints and compliments, there is at least one place an Ole can go where his or her opinion will be heard: the Rolvaag Library suggestion box.

Tucked into a compact space near the entrance to the reference room, the box is framed by a bulletin board containing all recent comment cards. Some are comments, others questions, but the majority are requests for certain titles or authors not already in the stacks. However, whats striking is not the suggestions themselves, but the fact that each and every one has a posted response.

Reference Instruction Librarian Natalie Wall is one of several librarians who shares the task of checking the box and responding to recent comments. Whoever happens by checks it, Wall said. So, it gets checked pretty much every day.

Each suggestion is read, and an answer posted on the bulletin board above the box. Although the box usually averages less than 10 suggestions each week, Wall has found it to be an efficient way for students to communicate with library staff. A lot of times the comments are very insightful and help us know what is needed, Wall said.

Comments about the need for more computers and more books in certain areas have helped the library serve current student needs more efficiently.

In fact, book requests are most often honored so long as the budget allows and the material is appropriate. So if you know of a stunning book the library doesnt have, would like to see some candy in the Jean Jaques corner or have any other type of insightful and brilliant comment to make  talk to the box.

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