Last time you were in Ramaker Library, did things seem a little different? A little bigger? Don’t worry, you weren’t hallucinating.
Last year library faculty sent out a survey to juniors and seniors hoping to learn how they could better serve students. This summer and semester they started making a few changes.
Doug Anderson, the interim director of the library, said one of the main desires students expressed was for more individual and group study space. To do this, the Ramaker staff has moved tables around, added furniture and generally de-cluttered Ramaker’s main floor in order to make it more conducive to studying.
The library’s group study room was also given a facelift over the summer. The cabinets that make up the Kooiker Music Collection were moved out to the main section of the library, a larger table moved in, and the chalkboard replaced with a white board.
Perhaps after noticing Ramaker’s new open layout, you began to wonder what got nixed. The visible changes in Ramaker were made possible by some invisible changes.
This summer Ramaker staff began “weeding” the collection. They went through the library’s print journals, magazines and books. Anderson explains, “If we’ve had a book for 50 years or so and if we know faculty don’t particularly want that book and there’s no evidence it’s being used, why do we keep it?”
Anderson assures students that despite the weeding, Ramaker has more resources than ever before. “Physically it looks more open because we have less print stuff but we actually have more stuff because it’s online.”
Anderson says Ramaker has been acquiring more digital journals and databases. These resources are available to students online through the Ramaker’s webpage. According to Anderson, future plans involve a redesigned webpage, hopefully within this academic year.
For now, the old webpage has a few new additions. Lib Guides has resources geared toward individual classes and Journal Finder will help students find specific journals.
More and more of the library’s general resources, such as citation styles and help, are being put online. This means students can “visit” the library even after the physical building has shut down for the night.
With a tight budget and the promise of a new learning commons in the future, Anderson says Ramaker is doing what it can with what it has. Some things, such as more group study rooms, logistically aren’t feasible, but the Ramaker staff is committed to making the library as useful for students as possible.