Watzek SAC Minutes
November 17, 2009
Noon to 1 pm in Geary (Templeton)
Student Attendees: Hannah Camfield Bronstein, Monique Halgat, Caitlyn Homer, Carolyn Worthge, Tiffany Wang, Teresa Wisner
Staff Attendees: Jenny Bornstein, Rick Peterson, Kate Rubick (recorder)
Introductions & Announcements (aka things we did and things we might do)
As per the suggestions from the last meeting, the keyboards for the reference computers have been cleaned and will be maintained in the future. Also, there is now a sign on the desk to post the new reference hours. And the signage for the hours of the Writing Center station has been improved. At the beginning of next year, the library will consider the possibility of creating big signs for the circulation desk and the reference desk to advertise the services provided at the different desks, e.g. "check books out here" and "ask questions here." Reference librarians are still considering when and how to promote Instant Messaging with librarians.
Kate asked if students had used the collaborative furniture or the new collaborative study space in the library classroom. Students were very excited about the collaborative furniture area. Caitlyn said it is her favorite place to go in the library. Students also commented on how well-used the space is and how congenial people are about sharing tables. It is fun, they said to share a table with someone you don't really know. And people are really cool about sharing. They also really appreciate that the furniture is movable--nice to be able to push a chair over to take advantage of the views on the other side of the micro-form cabinets, for example. None of the students had used the classroom as a study space yet. Kate reminded them to think of it and to spread the word about it. They wanted to know if the computer/projector in the classroom was available for student use. Kate explained that it was not because of the inability to provide the kind of automatic shutoff for the projector that is available in the Howard classrooms. Kate did mention the possibility that a wide-screen monitor would be purchased for the room so that students could plug a laptop in to view presentations or films.
Caitlyn commented that there seems to be a shortage of staplers in the library and that the project finishing station is in disarray. The stapler problem has already been reported and is being remedied, but Kate will visit the project finishing station and see what needs to be fixed or replaced there. It was suggested that signs that tell students where to go to get replacement staples might help students be less angry when they come to the circulation desk.
Hannah wonders if the problem of food in the library is getting worse. A pizza was apparently delivered to the circulation desk recently. The group discussed this, and it was decided that this is a perennial problem that crops up the most during stressful points in the academic year. The reasoning behind the food policy (particularly rodent control) was also discussed.
Hate speech graffiti incidents in the library
Students were both supportive and critical of the college's response to the incidents. Some felt that the college directed too much attention to the incidents--with the broadcast email messages-- and thus gave the vandal the kind of publicity that could encourage more vandalism. On the other hand, students appreciated having the opportunity to attend the fora on campus to discuss the issues. Some were unaware of the nature and number of the graffiti incidents in the library and elsewhere on campus. And a few were unaware of the Reed College Pamphlet article that had reached national and international news outlets. Some had seen the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about it. In general, the student did not feel that the graffiti made them feel less safe in the library. And they differed in opinion about whether they would tend to report such incidents if they noticed them in the future. Some said that they would be more likely to just take out a Sharpie and cross out any offensive graffiti, rather than report it. It was mentioned that some schools have designated bathrooms where graffiti is allowed, encouraged even. Students said that there is already a place on campus that allows graffiti, so they did not think that they needed another space. Kate asked students to please always report incidents of graffiti, especially hate speech graffiti. and she explained that since these incidents are being documented, it would be best for students not to obfuscate the offensive marks themselves.
Library as Place
Students and staff engaged in a brainstorming exercise drawing or listing features of the "ideal academic library." Features commonly included were
- fountains/water features
- couches, round tables and movable, comfortable chairs
- book stacks
- performance-lecture spaces/theatres
- quiet reading space or room
- coffee bar
- computer labs
Other noteworthy suggestions
- wheelchair ramp
- outdoor enclosed area
- sound proof music room
- art library
- sun lamps
Library staff reports
There was little time, but Rick reminded students that the season of coat thefts is upon us once again and reminded students to please not leave belongings unattended in the library. Also, laptop locks are available to check out at the circulation desk.