General Comments and Concerns About Cabell Library

The state of this library does not reflect well on this university. When I came up to the 4th floor today, it looked like there had been a keg party here last night… there was trash strewn all over the tables. Also, the books I need are never on the shelf, they are always “missing.” Instead, there are empty coffe cups and candy bar wrappers on
the shelf. I can never get to a computer to use the card catalog because students are always using them to look at MySpace or surf the web. Also, it would be more efficient to double the number of study tables you have on the 4th floor, but use smaller tables, since most people study alone on this floor. This is the only university library I have ever been to that has one “quiet” floor. Really, shouldn’t there be one “noisy,” or group study floor? This is a library, after all. I don’t have one major complaint, I’m just basically dissatisfied with this library — if I had
visited this library before I came to do my graduate work here, I probably wouldn’t consider this school to be a serious option. On the positive side the majority of the staff here (aside from many of what must be undergraduate student workers) is extremely helpful. Also, being open 24 hours during exams is a great idea. This library has the potential to be great, but needs a lot of improvement. Thank you for reading my comments.
From: Jessica, graduate student


Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, responds….

Thank you very much for taking the time to send this comment about Cabell Library. We have relayed the information about the mess on the the 4th floor to Housekeeping and hope they will take more action to keep things clean. Especially during the Library Lite All Nite 24-hour periods, we experience more trash and other mess in the library and have asked Housekeeping to provide additional service to accommodate the extra hours and numbers of people.

We are working to hire additional security personnel who will monitor the 3rd and 4th floors, enforcing the food regulation and the quiet and sotto voce floor themes. Coincidentally, we have recently been discussing the furniture in Cabell and agree that the 3rd and 4th floors should have more carrels, small tables and individual soft seating to help promote quieter study. We currently do not have funding to purchase furniture for these areas, but hope that in future funds might be found to do so. We also hope to better promote the Group Study Area on the second floor to attract more students who want to talk while working. We recognize that the building is overcrowded, which adds to the noise and inability to find seating in the area one wants. Cabell was built to house approximately half of the collections and many, many fewer students than it does today. Due to space problems our shelves are also crowded and get out of order. We hope to obtain funding for a remote storage facility to house lesser-used items, and with it the means to do a shifting and full inventory of the collections remaining within Cabell, which would also create more study space.

Adding computers to the library is difficult because the building is essentially at capacity for electricity. We know that there are not enough computers for all who want to use them. To as much an extent as we can we provide unfettered access to our computing resources, not drawing judgments about use as students may use the library for many purposes and employ various tools for communication and connection with others. Though the library is for study, it is also a center of interaction and discourse for the campus.

As a graduate student, you may be glad to learn that VCU Libraries has been fund-raising for a 4th floor renovation for Cabell. The renovation should move forward in spring of 2007. It will include a graduate study room to provide space for focused study for graduates and faculty.

Thank you for bringing your frustrations to our attention and also acknowledging that there is ability to provide a great library for the community. We agree and recognize the many needs you have expressed as significant aspects of doing so. These are definitely things we want to provide to our patrons.

One thought on “General Comments and Concerns About Cabell Library

  1. Charles Shaw

    Thank you Jessica for putting forth your frustrations and also sharing the idea that there is scope for improvement- something that I as a student could not do. We have since seen many improvements. Authorities need to note that library management is a continuous process and need to be done round the clock…

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