For Goshen College students who like to study until midnight, the Good Library may become the gathering place.
The school’s library will now be open until midnight instead of 11 at night from Monday through Thursday.
Other changes have been introduced as well this academic year. The library will be opening an hour earlier on Sundays, at 2 p.m. As part of an effort to put the reference desk front and center and increase access to librarians, magazines and other printed periodicals have been moved from the lobby area to the third floor of the building.
According to the library director, Fritz Hartman, making any changes for a library takes a significant amount of time and planning. “It took us (Goshen librarians) almost a year and a half to finally decide on these changes,” Hartman said.
Hartman has been working at the college for 13 years and has been receiving suggestions about pushing back the closing time for at least a decade, he said. He hopes that students will take advantage of the new hours.
There has been some positive feedback from some upperclassmen. “I think it was a smart move,” Kethayun Mehta said. “That’s when most people get their work done anyways. Pushing it back an hour would help out a lot of people.”
Hartman aims to give the library a home feeling seeing that students will be able to escape their dorms when they become too noisy and cannot get any work done. Mariah Ackerman said, “I love the library! Since Kulp (residence hall on Goshen campus) doesn’t have air conditioning I can go hang out there while I get my homework done.”
Hartman also notes that students in athletics have schedules that push back their time for studies, therefore the extra time will be beneficial to them.
The library did not receive more money to make this additional hour work. Matter of fact, the library budget this year is the lowest it has ever been. They had to redistribute workloads for certain hours. Instead of students having shifts where they would normally stock shelves, they will have to tend desk shifts. There will be two students behind the desk until closing.
“It’s good for me because I get more hours.” said Lisette Bermudez, a student who works in the library. “When I am not working I stay until closing which is nice since the computer lab under the bookstore feels to repetitive to me.”
As far as budgeting goes, having a lower budget has not been too hindering. The materials and subscription prices have gone down. The money can get a lot more now than it could have before. Also, thanks to the progression of technology, online databases have become easily accessible and it seems as though students are becoming more geared toward electronic books.
The library at one time had 483 subscriptions of printed works and now there are only a little over 100; that being for more than one reason. A very big lack of use is one of the reasons, but another would be that a significant amount of the publishers that the library was previously subscribed to, have gone out of business.
Because of the less favored use and fewer subscriptions the magazines and periodicals have been moved to the third floor of the Good Library. “This was a hard decision to make,” Hartman said. “This move was actually a part of a bigger move.” Hartman said that a librarian’s job is to help make information more accessible to students, so moving the prints to the third floor means the hard copies will be more of a climb to get to.
Eventually, after finding a new place for the reference books, the Ask Desk will be moved in the corner room on the first floor where the Academic Success Center is currently. This would provide more privacy for anyone who needs help or has questions about their assignments. So, moving the magazines to the third floor is the beginning step to the bigger changes.
It is too early to tell whether or not the students have noticed the difference or if they’re taking advantage of it because it is the start of the semester, Hartman said. The librarians made these decisions together and Hartman does think they were a smart move.
A handful of students have given positive feedback towards the changes, so the library may be in for a busy semester.