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ISSUE 119 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/14/2006

Library policies change

By Kathryn Sederberg
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 14, 2006

Between rumors and official library press releases, the buzz around Rolvaag Library is hard to miss lately. Dedicated studiers and even the occasional browser will likely notice what is changing and what is staying the same this year.

Last fall, the Public Safety requested that Rolvaag's nighttime library hours be extended from a midnight closing time to 2 a.m.

Before this change, students needing a quiet study area went to Holland Hall. Because of safety concerns in such a large building, however, Public Safety requested that the student work money instead be allotted to staff the library at night.

Students also requested extended hours on Sunday mornings. Just before noon last Sunday, 36 students lined up outside Rolvaag, waiting for the doors to open. If previous years are any indication, this number will likely rise during the last five weeks before finals.

Students who frequent the reference room have probably read the many posts on the comment board asking the library to open earlier on Sundays. College Librarian Bryn Geffert's justification for keeping the library closed is posted under these requests.

Geffert emphasizes the college's identity as a "college of the church," and he is hesitant to force student workers to make a choice between Chapel (or any other place of worship) and work in the library.

According to the latest statistics posted on the college's website, more than 70 percent of students identify themselves as Christians. But do these numbers describe the number of students who attend services Sunday mornings?

Nick Spanel '08 was one of the students waiting outside the doors of Rolvaag Sunday. He described the library as a good place to study, especially to avoid disturbing roommates. Spanel agreed with Geffert that student workers should not have to choose between worship and work.

Not all student workers are given the choice between praise and paycheck, however.

"Caf workers aren't obliged the leisure of attending services if they work the Sunday morning shift," former cafeteria employee Kelin Loe '08 said. Is there as much demand for Sunday morning breakfast as for morning study hours?

Currently, no plans have been made to open the library earlier on Sundays; it will continue to open at noon.

Rolvaag staff has also recently released an updated "Policy on Noise, Food and Drink." The library hopes to ensure "a balance between productive interaction and quiet study" by setting noise boundaries and allowing some snacks and beverages.

Students no longer need to sneak in their coffee mugs. As long as the beverage is in a sturdy no-spill cup, it is allowed; Cage cups do not fit these descriptions. Light snacks that do not harm the library are also permitted, as long as students remain conscientious, respect computer areas and keep the library clean. The policy trusts students to make good decisions: no cafeteria trays or "meals" are allowed, and computer work stations are off limits to any food.

For those students who make use of the library's late-night hours, more good news may be in store: The library is considering adding a small coffee shop area on the lower floor.

As part of the changes to accommodate this year's construction of the new Science Center, the World Languages Center will be occupying space on the first floor and a designated coffee area could be established there. This would satisfy the demand for coffee after the Cage closes at 8 p.m.

These decisions will be made by the end of this school year.

Last but not least, newly designated "Super-Quiet Study Zones" include levels 2, 3 1/2 and 5. Signs will be added to reduce confusion. Endorsed by the Student Senate, these changes will promote "a clean, comfortable and inviting setting for all to enjoy."

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