Staff shortage causes shortened library hours

Staff shortage causes shortened library hours

Lisa Foehring

With the shortened hours in Jacobs Library, the space has seen an influx in usage. Many students rush to use the computers and reference material for classes in the time available to them.

Matthew Gerding, IV Leader Editor

Changes in operating hours for Jacobs Library have caused some concern for faculty and students.
The library shortened its hours for the fall semester in response to losing some staff and budget cuts.
“We had eight positions previously and due to some people retiring and other things happening and the college having some financial issues at the time, it just happened that three of our positions were open and we couldn’t keep our previous hours,” said head librarian Frances Whaley.
One of the concerns about shorter hours is whether or not certain library resources will be readily available. Certain reference books, magazine and newspapers, and videos can only be accessed in the library as well as the library being the only place for students to make copies.
The new hours have been a small source of contention for students and teachers. Whaley says that she has had teachers come and talk to her both for themselves and on behalf of students.
One student, Cheriz Kunkel, thinks shortened library hours put a kink in the schedule of busy students.
“With work, classes, etc. it makes it harder to go to the library for non-traditional students like me,” Kunkel states.
Students can often be found sitting in the hall outside the library waiting for the doors to open.
“We open at nine and there is usually a little flood of people pouring in at that time to take care of things,” says Whaley.
It’s not all bad, however. Most of the library resources can be found online and computers are available in the Learning Commons and at the Ottawa campus.
Staffing the library is an important factor in the new hours.
“The thing I think most people don’t realize is how much work goes on behind the scenes in a library to provide the physical resources and to keep the electronic resources and check-out system functioning properly,” Whaley says. “There is much more to running a library than the very important part of operating a service desk with qualified staff.”
Although the shortened hours have been problematic for some, Whaley has been pleasantly surprised by the reaction of students.
“It has been gratifying to know that students, faculty, staff and administrators appreciate the library and all that we are trying to do and provide, and I think we’ve heard that need expressed this Fall and it has been wonderful,” says Whaley.
Jacobs Library’s new hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 9 6:30 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In the past, the library was able to open earlier and stay open later.