In an effort to get more students involved, administrators will renovate, alter databases and introduce new technology to make the library more accessible.
Bonnie Mitchell, director of Library Services, said she is focused on the future of the library. Moving forward, the administration is “looking at renovations in the long range,” she said.
The entire building needs to be updated, however, there are smaller projects that are being addressed, she said. “Upgrading study furniture for the lower mezzanine area, making changes to the main entrance and adding additional group study space,” are projects currently underway, Mitchell said.
“We already know we need more electricity in this building,” she added. “We hope those upgrades happen as the university upgrades the infrastructure.”
Although the library receives funding from various sources the Library Trust Fund, managed by Bonnie Mitchell, includes “funding for renovations, materials, supplies and contractors,” she said.
According to Executive Vice President Dale Hamel, “The FSU Capital Spending Plan identifies approximately 50K per year for annual renovations.” Administrators will seek state funding for upgrades to the library’s infrastructure as part of a larger renovation plan, he added.
In addition to the support from state funding, $675,000 is provided annually by the Library Trust Fund, said Hamel.
Mitchell was unable to disclose how much of the budget will be spent on upgrades. “The exact figures are not solidified yet,” she said.
The focus now is to create “zones in the library” that will act to serve and improve student productivity, said Mitchell.
She hopes to run a focus group this semester to involve students in the zoning process. “We want student feedback so we can plan accordingly,” she said.
Lauren Peterson, a junior, thinks that zoning is a good idea. “A quiet zone will be good. I need to be on my own to concentrate.”
Thanh Hoang, a senior, also likes the idea of zoning. “Isolated areas, like the small group rooms near IT, are good for both individuals and groups.”
In addition to the upgrades to the infrastructure of the library, officials are always updating the online databases and books available to students.
Weeding through collections and replacing old editions with newer ones is part of what keeps a library current, said Mitchell.
If and when a certain text is no longer used in a professor’s curriculum, then the text will be removed and the book will be donated to another library around the world, she said.
English Professor Claudia Springer said, “The library should take advantage of all opportunities. Any way people can access info is good.”
“I would not want to see books replaced by electronic databases, but I think they can exist together side by side and open up all kinds of doors for students,” she added. “I think they complement each other well.”
“Every year, we are adding to the collection,” Mitchell added.
There are currently 150 items on the A-Z list of databases available to students and faculty. “Databases are like subscriptions. The only way we would not offer it anymore is if the faculty decides that it is no longer relevant to the material they are teaching,” said Mitchell.
Brenna Hinson, a junior, said, “Databases are important. All students should be able to use them. They are really helpful in all areas of study.”
The newest database that has been added to the collection is the World Cinema Streaming Video Collection, which is similar to Netflix, but free to students and faculty.
The database, which was purchased from Films Media Group, has more than 380 classic and contemporary films from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States.
Before purchasing any database, there is a trial period where students and professors can access the content.
Springer has used the database for her Studies in Film class. She said students were able to supplement the material in class with the free films on the database.
The exposure to these films allowed students to gain a better perspective that they would not have been able to see otherwise, she said.
Mitchell said, “The cost of this database for 2015 is $1,732.
“We’ve had such positive feedback on streaming videos that we hope to expand the collection next year,” she added.
FSU will be saving money on the World Cinema Streaming Video Collection by purchasing it in collaboration with the other institutions of public higher ed throughout Massachusetts.
The database that FSU has purchased is geared primarily toward the English, history and modern language departments. “So far the feedback has been great,” said Mitchell.
The next step will be to see what other products are out there that provide a video selection with a broader range of disciplines, Mitchell added.
Senior Colleen Sullivan called the new database “a wonderful addition to the library.
“It’s a really valuable resource for film students, and having access to it has definitely made my research easier,” Sullivan said. “In this day and age when streaming is the norm, having instant access to so many titles definitely has its benefits. … I’d encourage anyone to check it out whether you’re a film student or not.”
The library is not only offering new software, but new hardware as well. There are 10 regular-sized iPads and three iPad minis available for loan at the circulation desk. Students can check the iPads out for two weeks.
“So far there has been a lot of interest,” said Mitchell. “It is a great way for students to experiment to see if they like them.”
Jalen Green, a sophomore business major said, “I’ve never rented a iPad from the library, but in my opinion it is a good thing because a lot of people don’t like laptops and it’s easier to carry a iPad around.”
Mitchell said, the new upgrades to the infrastructure, the adding of the new database and new technology will increase student interest and involvement.
Mitchell said, “I am really excited about the science building and the construction in front of it, because once all the renovation is complete and the landscape is complete the library will be seen as more of the center of campus.
“We want students to feel comfortable coming into the building. We try to create an inviting atmosphere,” she added.
Alex Anagnostaras a junior, is always in the library for classes. He said, “The library needs to advertise events more. I never see anything before I walk through the sliding doors.”
In addition to these changes, she looks forward to engaging students in National Library Week. “Staff members are gathering sometime next week to finalize plans for National Library Week, which begins on April 13,” she said.