Monthly Archives: March 2010

Macs! And other Computer things

So, we’re working on adding about 35 more computers to the total in Atkins Library–10 of them will be Macs.

We are limited, right now, in where to put them, because of the limits on where ethernet connections are.

But, working within those limits, we might have some flexibility. Here is where we could use a little more information.

What kind of furniture do you like best, when you have to sit and work on a desktop computer? And be specific about what kind of work you are doing when you are at the desktop. Do you like the big tables? The carrels? The circle-pod thingys on the first floor? What about the furniture makes your work easier or harder to do?

Are you doing work in groups? How does your group use the desktop?

And if you have a laptop, what kind of furniture makes it easier to do the kind of work you need to do for your classes?

Struggle for Quiet in the Library

Not everyone in Atkins expects absolute silence. Some of you are actively searching for spaces that are “just noisy enough” to allow you to focus. Spaces that are too quiet freak some people out, and don’t allow them to concentrate.

Then there are those of you who want quiet quiet quiet. And when people are talking on their cell phones, or to each other, you get frustrated and move in search of new, genuinely quiet spaces.

Some of you want people who are noisy in the library to be “punished” somehow. I am struggling to figure out what that would even look like, in a context where we are all over the age of 18 and so, nominally, all grown-ups here.

When you encounter unwanted noise, is it in the “official” Quiet Zones? Does asking people to be quiet ever work? If you are trying to do quiet work on the first or second floor, why is that?

I am not trying to blame the victim here, I’m trying to figure out where the balance lies among all of the different ways that people (legitimately) do work, are quiet, make noise.

Should we be encouraging more self-policing? More peer pressure to keep Quiet Areas quiet? Is the Struggle for Quiet as big a deal as the suggestion box entries imply, or is this a vocal minority?

Help me out, here.

Spring Break OVER

…and so now what do you have to do?

Are you writing papers? Studying for another test? Are you applying for graduate schools, and preparing for GREs? Are you getting ready for the job market?

UNCC’s Spring Break is scheduled to fall exactly in the middle of the semester (which is why, apparently, our break doesn’t realiably synch up with any other schools, colleges or universities in the area). When I was teaching, this was the time of the semester when I would assign writing that would be due at the end of the semester. I figured that, even if I assigned it at the beginning, most students wouldn’t work on it until after Spring Break. I wonder if I was correct.

What does your schedule look like from now until May? How are you going to fit it all in?

Spring Break Library

UNCC has a lot of students who stick around for Spring Break. I saw many of them in the library yesterday. Lots of people doing work: paper writing, test prep, tutoring, collaborative study. A few relaxing, watching videos, checking out DVDs from the Green Box on the 2nd floor.

Why are you in the library over Spring Break? Is this a chance to get work done before everyone else comes back? Do you like the library better or worse with less people in it?

When do you learn how to use the Atkins Library?

I have, at best, a hazy feel for how UNCC students come to Atkins. My impression is that many are brought to the library, both in real space and in cyber-space, by their professors.

But when was the first time, for you? Was it freshman-year composition class? Was it a liberal studies class? Did you hear about the library during new student (freshman or transfer) orientation?

And then, what did that first time look like? Was it the only time you were told about the library? Did/do you hear about the library and its resources from friends? Family? Co-workers? Who do you trust to steer you towards the resources you need to do what you need to do at UNCC.

These questions are assuming that you were, in fact, told about the library. Were you?

If you don’t use the library, where do you get the information that you need to do your assignments, write papers, pass your classes?

Quiet, or not Quiet

The Quiet/Not Quiet Troubles plague University libraries worldwide, I think. It is, at the very least, an intense problem locally, here at UNCC. It seems to me that there are legitimate work-based reasons why people want to be noisy (well, reasonably so) in the library. Think of: group work, studying in pairs. And there are time-honored and important reasons to need quiet in the library.

And so, we have group study rooms. Noise contained in a room, people outside the room are happy in their quiet. But, what about when those are full? What then?

Is the first floor really ever going to be a quiet space? Is it reasonable to expect it to be? Should we continue to spit in the wind, putting furniture on the first floor, high-traffic areas, that signal “quiet study here?”

What if much of the first floor was an open space with places for both group and individual study, but with very little expectations that the space be “library quiet?”

Where, then, should the quiet spaces be?