A graduate student in the Humanities and Sciences department had many thoughts regarding the blog post “Computer and Building Use in Cabell” (09/18/06). An outline of the well-thought-out suggestions is below:
-VCU should implement better access to crossing streets. It was suggested that VCU look to the standards set for bridges connecting buildings on the MCV Campus and use similar structures on the Monroe Park Campus.
-Computer use in Cabell Library is at a premium. The student proposed that VCU should look into the problem of space and availability, including opening a cellular portal.
-Cabell Library should support access to the community, high school students in particular, including access to computers.
Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, responds….
Thank you so much for taking the time to send us this input on VCU Libraries. There are a number of issues that you mention; I will address them as best I can, and forward some to departments that can better respond.
Your comments about safety related to crossing Belvidere Street may be of interest to the VCU Construction Services department. VCU Libraries is not directly involved with decision making at this scale of campus planning. However, I believe that Construction Services, or they in combination with other facilities planning entities on campus, would be the ones who would undertake any project of this nature. We will forward your suggestion on to them, but you may want to make your suggestion directly to them, as well.
Your second comment, with regard to library space and cell phone access to resources is very interesting. This type of cell phone use is in its infancy, but will hopefully open new opportunities for the future. New cell phone technologies are appearing all the time. Many databases that VCU Libraries subscribes to have complex interfaces; the vendors/designers of these products have been slow to design alternative interfaces which can be read on a small hand-held screen. It’s possible that new technologies may preclude the need to separate screen designs. It will be interesting to see if such new access modes can help alleviate computer equipment needs in our buildings. I believe these solutions are still a ways off for libraries, but will forward your message to our Library Information Systems department for their comments.
Finally, in response to your suggestion about allowing outside users access to VCU Libraries’ resources, thank you for your comments on this issue. VCU Libraries is very interested in support for local high schools and has an active outreach program working with high schools and other groups. We provide borrowing privileges for high school programs that require research level material, and to other categories of community users. Library doors are open to the community and many non-VCU individuals come to our buildings and utilize materials here. As you note, first priority for use of our resources and equipment is for the VCU community of students, faculty and staff and for academic use, as is the model for almost any university library. VCU Libraries is not a public library in the same sense that the Richmond Public Library is, and non-VCU individuals are referred there for certain types of library use. Due to limited computer access, there are also times when non-VCU patrons cannot be logged onto VCU Libraries’ equipment, but we do accommodate such research needs when possible. You may want to review the VCU Libraries regulation at: http://www.library.vcu.edu/admin/regulations/computer_resources.html.
Again, thank you for your thoughts and ideas. We do want to ensure that VCU Libraries is fulfilling its mission and vision in support of Virginia Commonwealth University.