It is understandable that the current economic condition is affecting everything. Nevertheless our success and privileges of using school resources should not be limited. I have noticed that the library hours have been cut compared to last semester. Cabell library is one of those buildings that is being used by more students than any other once around the campus. long lines to check out books, no reference assistants after 8 which is the time even before some evening classes end. Where should we go for assistance? The quality of service has decreased significantly since last semester. Most of the staff at the library is also not as friendly as I recall them to be (eventhough insignificant), it would be nice to have the staff help us with a good attitude. This is something not only me but many of my fellow students share and we would like to suggest a review of how many people use the library each day from previous statistics and evaluate if it is actually fair to limit hour and resources. Last but not least I would like to thank you for your help.
From: an undergraduate student
Patricia Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services replies...
Thank you very much for taking the time to let us know about your concerns. Although we have had to make some changes, we have focused on preserving those things that students have told us are most important to them: regular building hours and good library collections. For example, Cabell Library hours during the week have not been changed: Cabell will still open 7:30am weekdays, and close at 2am Sunday - Thursday, just like last year. There are some small changes on Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday, saving about 8 hours overall, the length of a worker's shift. And there are changes in hours and services at our service points in Cabell Library. But library hours during the week, a very important resource for students, are not affected.
The University is working hard to make the best possible decisions for VCU students to ensure that the instructional mission of the University is met. As a result, students will continue to see access to the instructors, classes, and other support they need to meet their academic goals. An important factor in making decisions has been University support for the libraries work in acquiring the print and electronic books, journals, data resources, databases, multimedia, and other materials that students and faculty need for their academic work. This isn't the case at many other institutions in Virginia and elsewhere, and it's good that students here aren't affected in that way.
The University has also been very supportive of efforts to make the best use of Cabell Library space, in order to provide students with the spaces, equipment, and furniture they need to work productively while in the building. The wonderful improvements to the second floor, partially funded by the Office of the Provost and the Board of Visitors, include seven new group study rooms, white boards, large monitors, upgraded electrical and added outlets and lighting, and collaboration furniture. There have also been improvements to the fourth floor and an effort to develop more quiet study space students have requested on the third floor.
I very much regret that you have experienced unfriendliness from staff. You accurately observed that there are fewer staff handling the same large volume of people using Cabell Library, and while that can be stressful for staff, it's important that you and your fellow students continue to have a good experience with staff help. I appreciate your bringing this observation to us, and assure you that I will follow up on it. I will be alerting Public Services managers of your comments (without your name) so they can be more aware of interactions taking place in their areas. Customer service is a top priority for us. I encourage you to contact me directly about any negative experiences you have had with as many specifics as possible so we can work to correct problems.
Thank you again for taking the time to articulate your concerns about service changes. We welcome student input and take the concerns very seriously as we make decisions. We all hope that the economy will improve so that we can reinstate services we know VCU students value.