News in Brief: Library Announces New Laptop and Electronics Loan Policies

The College Library recently notified students via email about their newly updated policies on loaning out their electronic equipment.

Starting in early March, the Library has now begun to allow members of the College to borrow extension cords, Ethernet cables, headphones, flash drives, portable DVD burners, portable floppy drives, and headsets for a maximum period of six hours, rather than the original three hours.

Each of these items is allowed one renewal while it is checked out, allowing for a total possible loan of 12 hours.

A later email sent out after spring break revealed that the policies on borrowing laptops would also be changing. The original policy allowed members to use the Library laptops for a loan period of three hours. The new agreement will allow for students to borrow the laptops for up to two weeks at a time.

This new program will set aside five of their ten laptops for the three-hour loans, with the remaining five available for the two-week program. The Library staff requires no explanations as to why a student needs to borrow a laptop.

A $10.00 fee will be charged each hour that a laptop is returned late for whichever time period it is being loaned for. All other software and saving restrictions pertaining to the laptops for the three-hour loans also apply to those laptops being loaned out for the two-week period.

All laptops cannot connect to wireless internet and are not able to download any new software, such as Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), so students have been warned that they must take these restrictions into consideration before borrowing the laptops.

“We believe that this change,” said Patron Services Librarian Conrad Helms in the all-student e-mail sent out with the new policy, “will allow us to better meet your needs. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”

Upgrade Your Study Habits in the Upgraded Library

While you were away for the summer the SMCM Library has made some changes!

Need a place to study or work on a paper late at night? The Library Annex now has two classrooms AND a computer lab available for you to use over night. The lab (LI112) is key card access only. The posted schedule will show when library instruction or Writing Center classes are being held in the lab. At all other times students are welcome to use the lab and the printer. Classrooms 114 and 115 will continue to be open overnight all semester.

Last spring the College announced that the national fiscal crisis was hitting close to home and the College’s endowment had been affected. As a result, none of the endowment funds are paying out during this year. The Library is fortunate to have an endowment of over $2.5 million dollars, but it is important to keep that capital steady so that we can benefit from the interest when the economy is good. In order to make up for a shortfall of over $100,000 that we have had available to use for purchasing library materials, we decided to take advantage of a two-year study we just completed on the use of our journals in print.

Journals in print? That you can hold in your hands? Yes – we still have them. We took our use study and shared results with faculty. We were able to show how many times a journal had been used over two years (current and older issues). We proposed cancelling subscriptions for any journal title that had only 0-3 uses over that time. Many of the journals also come online (we have access to about 20,000 titles online). Once we finished the project we had cancelled over 400 titles and saved over $100,000! The empty metal shelving is where we consolidated the titles that are left. Once we get the shelving removed we will provide more seating for all of you.

Come meet out new librarian! Pamela Mann arrived during the summer. She will be at the reference desk, offering instruction, and working closely with the Montgomery Hall departments, International Languages and Cultures, and Asian Studies. She comes to us from University of Texas at Austin where she worked in the Benson Latin American Collection. She has also worked at Yale. Pamela is from Queens, New York. Her office is LI127.

Try WorldCat Local, our newest discovery tool. Search a universe of over 50,000 libraries with displays of SMCM, USMAI, and global results all on one screen. Check out the book covers, place your requests, and even find some articles with full text (and more to come).

Hey – did you see the new chairs on the second floor yet? They look great so PLEASE don’t spill anything on them.

This semester watch for librarians in the ARC and the Campus Center, available to answer your most pressing research questions!

As always, submit your suggestions, praise, or complaints using the suggestion box on the Circulation counter, or contact me directly at x4267 or cerabinowitz@smcm.edu.

Submitted by Celia Rabinowitz

Teeing Up for 2011

Professor Alex Meadows plays mini-golf in the library. (Photo by Dave Chase)
Professor Alex Meadows of Team Parlament Mathadelic plays mini-golf in the library. (Photo by Dave Chase)

The library, typically a place of silence and study, was transformed into a 12 hole mini golf course on Friday, April 24th. With holes snaking through reference books, periodicals and even chairs, students and faculty had to demonstrate pro-level putting skills on this challenging par 45.

The fundraiser for the Class of 2011 was spear headed by Class President, Charles Onwuche. Organized last year by the Class of 2009, mini golf in the library is a new tradition at St. Mary’s. One that Class of 2009 President, Kalada Nemieboke, was gracious enough to let the Class of 2011 take over, according to Onwuche and a tradition that he hopes to pass on.

“We had a great turn out,” said Onwuche as he watched the last few groups finish up. Although he did not have a final count, Onwuche felt confident that the fund raiser was a success. The funds will go into the Class of 2011’s general account and will most likely be spent on the class’ Senior Week.

Whether it was on the 1st hole, ‘The Outback,’ located on the patio outside of the library or the final hole, which started at the top of the theater style classroom on the third floor of Baltimore hall, most golfers struggled to keep the ball from rolling too far on the unforgiving library floor. Putting the ball behind the holes, which were often made out of half a solo cup taped to the floor, also presented a challenge.

Not to Pete Karis, Studio Supervisor for the Art & Art History department, who managed a hole-in-one on the 9th hole. Also known as ‘The Magazine Maze,’ this hole featured a small ramp at the end of a row of periodicals on the second floor of the library. “All I could think of was Chevy Chase from [Caddy Shack] saying ‘nahnaanahnaa’,” reflected Karis.

“It was cool, really good times,” he added with enthusiasm, “they should do it every Friday afternoon.”

Mike Snow, Class of 2012, was hesitant at first but warmed up quickly saying, “the first couple of holes were kind of lame but the rest were really cool.” He also commented that he “thought it was a shame more people did not turn out.”

Of those who did show up, Team IPS came in first with the overall lowest score, followed closely by Team Fail in second place and Team Parlament Mathadelic in third.

From the Patio Moves to the Library as Exams Approach

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Students study on beanbags on the library’s third floor. (Photo by Rowan Copley)

It’s the least wonderful time of the year, so close to winter break but so far from finishing final papers, writing up note cards and sending in papers five minutes before deadline. We’re not exactly sure what it is, but it seems to be that the culmination of a huge workload, the frigid weather and the lack of energy to find a creative place to work has forced most of us into the library for extended periods of time.

There’s nothing better than spending your Sunday afternoon cooped up in the fishbowl, sike. But seriously, what better way to kick a hangover then sweat it out in the library—the library that turns up the heat to about 158 degrees. Thanks guys, but since it’s about 157 degrees below outside I’m warm enough in my shirt, long sleeve, jacket, scarf, mittens and boots that I’m wearing since it’s winter.

As freshmen it did not take long get a feel for the lay of the library: downstairs tables, downstairs computers/cubbies, and the dead zone i.e. upstairs. We’ve tried them all and this is what we’ve come up with–the library according to us:

The tables downstairs consist heavily of aggressive athletes and not-so-quiet studiers. This section is not for the faint of heart, or anyone who really wants to get work done. (Keep in mind we’re writing this from these very tables of procrastinators). This place is ideal for weekend recapping, stalking viciously via Facebook, just looking around to see who is there and awkwardly avoiding people you may or may not be avoiding after getting a little out of hand with cell phone usage the night before. It’s a small school and there’s no better reminder than a Sunday afternoon at the sports tables.

Venturing upstairs is a good idea when you have a ten pager due in the morning and barely have a thesis or you’re just trying to keep a low profile for a few days. It’s quiet, and there are couches. And here’s a little hidden gem we bet you didn’t know about—up in no man’s land, the third floor, there are beanbag chairs!

Yes, beanbags. And not those small round ones; we’re talking the big guys. So, if the noise downstairs isn’t enough to scare you up a floor or two, consider sampling a beanbag.  Warning: do not move them from their rightful place in the third floor study room, you will be reprimanded. And what’s more embarrassing than being scolded for borrowing a beanbag in the library? Nothing. Well, that’s not true, but it’s definitely top ten material.

The essence of the library ultimately lies in the books it holds, and the copious amounts of knowledge that can be found here is both priceless and overwhelming. What makes the library really great though, is not only can you walk away with the complete history of shoes or how much air pollution we suffer from, but also feel completely in the know about every party, bust, and mistake that took place over the weekend and throughout the week.

And so we wrap up our final FTP of the semester with a few last words (or warnings) about finals season in the library. The downstairs tables are loud, but despite the whispers and farts courtesy of the lacrosse boys, we’re all in it together. There is a sense of camaraderie that keeps us going when the chaos of finals is wrecking havoc on us emotionally and physically. However, if you find yourself so distracted, don’t fight the noise and go upstairs. God speed–the couches are friendly and the study rooms offer privacy but some us are all too often tempted to nap.

Good luck on finals and have a great holiday. Next time you see Mari, wish her luck spending her spring semester in Washington, DC. As for Lisa, we’re sure she’ll come back with great holiday stories to share from the patio.