Category Archives: Other Suggestions and Comments


Please stagger maintenance of bikeshare bicycles in the future and don’t
hold them for a whole week prior to that maintenance, it is unnecessary
and inconvenient.

From: a first professional student

Steve Barkley, Evening and Sunday Supervisor replies…

Thank you for your suggestion about staggering bicycle maintenance. I
am sorry for inconveniencing you as we continue to develop our pilot
bike lending program.

We are trying to work within the schedule of the RamBike coordinator,
and therefore needed to make sure that the bikes would all be available
at once for him to perform maintenance. We have had them on hold since
Monday night because, given their possible loan period of 48 hours, they
would all be returned by Wednesday night and ready for a tune-up in the
morning.. In the future we will suggest a staggered maintenance
schedule to ensure continued bike availability and to avoid
inconveniencing our patrons. Thank you again for your suggestion.

Surge protectors and extension cords for loan

Surge strips or extension cords should be on loan during high traffic times, such as during midterm and finals studying!

From: an undergraduate student

Jodi Koste, Head of TML Resources and Operations, replies…

Thank you for your suggestion. At the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences you will find surge protectors/extension cords available for loan for use within the building. Stop by our Service Desk to check out this equipment or to learn more about the items available for loan when you are working in the library.

Music at the library

To whom it may concern, I find that it shows a remarkable lack of foresight to schedule singing in a university library at any point in time.

From: an undergraduate student

Dennis T. Clark, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies…

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your need to use library spaces for quiet study — it is one of our most important offerings. However, as part of our weeks-long exhibit, we wanted to incorporate a live-performance, and tie it into Valentine’s Day. Our fabulous musicians from the School of the Arts, Gianna Barone and Denver Walker, gave wonderful performances. In order to keep any distractions at a minimum, we placed the performance in our lobby (our version of Grand Central Station) and scheduled during a lunch hour, when we have the most traffic. We often use that same space for visual and interactive art exhibits, so it seemed like the perfect place for the performing arts.

You’ll be happy to know that we don’t often have live music in the library — this may be a first. I’m very glad that you are an active library user and encourage your comments on other library events in the future.

Delivery of Library Materials

I would like to suggest that the libraries adopt a “netflix” type service with all books/journals available in the libraries. If we (faculty, staff) could order materials and have them delivered to our offices on campus, that would be fantastic, and I would use the libraries much more. Currently, it is difficult to walk/drive and make the time to go the libraries to get materials (dropping off is more convenient), and so I usually go elsewhere or do without. I know that many other universities have this system set up, and think it would be great to have here as well.

From: a faculty member

Shirley Thomas, Head of Resource Delivery Services replies…

VCU Libraries currently offers a Book/Media Delivery service to all users. Staff will retrieve and arrange delivery of books and other media held in the VCU Libraries collection to the patrons home or office.

* Patrons who are eligible for our enhanced services receive this service for free. For more information and to determine if you qualify for this service go to
* Patrons who are not eligible for free book/media delivery service are charged a $5 fee per filled request. To request this service, you must make sure
1. your ILLiad profile indicates ‘ Mail to Address’ in the Loan Delivery Method field and
2. you reply ‘Yes’ to the first question on the ILLiad request form….’ Is this item available in the VCU Libraries collection?’.

VCU Libraries also has a ‘free copy pilot’ underway. This pilot provides free copies of articles and book chapters of materials from the VCUL collections to faculty, staff, and Health System employees. Normally, there is a $5 fee for this service.

VCU Libraries has surveyed peer institution and discussed ways to offer these services to all users without charging. Unfortunately, due to staffing and cost, we are not able to provide these services for free to all VCU Libraries users. We hope that when the budgetary climate improves, we will be able to expand these services.

We hope that the current ‘book/media service’ and the ‘pilot free copy’ service will fulfill most of your needs. Let us know if you have additional questions by contacting us at 804-828-1115 or

Library privileges for area high school teachers

Hi, I am a teacher at a local school and would like to use the library for research and preparation. Does VCU allow community members access to the library? Is it possible to get borrowing privileges? Is there a fee? Thank you for taking the time to reply.

From: a library patron

Dan Ream, Director of Outreach and Distance Learning, replies…

Thanks for your inquiry about community members’ access to VCU Libraries. Our two library buildings are open to the public for academic research purposes, without charge, though VCU ID card bearers only are admitted to Cabell Library after 10PM during the academic year.

Borrowing privileges can be obtained by those 18 years old and over by joining the Friends of the VCU Libraries You may view specific privileges and borrowing periods for Friends of the Libraries and other borrower types.

Students and teachers at a few affiliated high schools, including Open High School,
Richmond Community High School, Maggie Walker Governor’s School and Appomattox Regional Governor’s School also are granted limited borrowing privileges. VCU Libraries also shares material with high school teachers and students via interlibrary loan to high school libraries. Check with your high school librarian for details.

For further information about high school teachers’ or students use of VCU Libraries, please contact me at or 804-828-6545.

Library Catalog Displays for Holds and Renewals

I’m wondering if it would be made possible to display the # of times renewed & # renewals left for each item on the list of checked out titles, as well as if there are hold restrictions placed for a particular book. This way, assuming no requests are being made by another patron, it renders a better estimate how much time is left for each item.

From: an undergraduate student

Nell Chenault, Access Librarian and Head, Media and Reserves Services replies…

You suggest an interesting customization to VCU Libraries’ circulation renewal system, an idea which would benefit both borrowers who wish to renew items and library users with active hold requests waiting for the item to be returned! VCU Libraries explored whether this customization is possible. We found that the 2010 version upgrade of our circulation system software will provide enhancement to the My Library Record “Loan and Renewal” feature to show the current number of renewals to date and remaining renewals at the top level loan list screen.

Currently My Library Record displays both hold request and renewal limit information through the “Loans & Renewals” feature. Select the numbered link next to the title for more details.

  • If the title collection cannot be renewed (i.e. course reserves, DVD’s), you will see the message, “No renew permission for item.”
  • If you have reached your limit in the number of renewals for that item, you will see “Renewal limit reached.”
  • If another user has a hold request on the title, the message “Item has holds” will display.

The email Courtesy Reminder is another source of information for hold requests on a title you have on loan. This notice has a “Requested ?” field for each title, noting whether another user has placed a hold, recall, or booking request. Requests block renewals.

Different patron statuses (undergraduate, graduate, faculty, staff, etc.) and different collections have varying renewal privileges. For information about renewal privileges by borrower category and by collection, see the VCU Libraries Borrowing Privileges Table. For information about renewal methods, limits, and blocks, see Renewing Materials.

If you have questions about renewals, contact any of the VCU Libraries circulation services desks. Thank you for your suggestion!

Voices in Cabell Library’s Computer Lab

Having someone come to the downstairs computer lab every once in a while to shut people up would be great. At this very moment, there are two people speaking loudly on the phone around me, one who’s been yelling into it at points, with no concern to those around her. There are also a number of very loud conversations going on around me. I’m trying to study Calculus, and focusing is EXTREMELY difficult with all this turmoil.
From: an undergraduate student

Jim Bostick with Technology Services responds….
Technology Services, who operates the Cabell Library basement Computer Lab, will be adding signs to indicate that the basement computer lab is a soft voice area. While we have not had much success with occasional “rounds” to deter this kind of behavior, most students will be respectful of others if they are aware that this crowded lab is a soft voice area. For the long term, VCU Libraries and Technology Services are working together on a proposal to improve the student computing space in Cabell Library.

Customer Service Concern

I just called the reference desk and the media reserves, and the people are constantly rude. I have experienced this multiple times. I am calling from off campus and they would not tell me if they had a movie, and was very rude throughout the conversation.
From: an undergraduate student

Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies…
I am very sorry to hear that you had this experience. Thank you for alerting us and please feel free to send any additional details or reports of future concerns you have.

I have requested that managers of Reference, Circulation, and Media and Reserves departments check their staffing schedules to see who was working just prior to your email. I have asked them to remind those individuals, and service desk staff in general, about the importance of good customer service practices and courteous interactions with library patrons, both in person and on the phone. In addition, I have asked them to remind staff that while they are not always able to leave their posts to check shelves, they should do catalog lookups to confirm whether or not we own an item.

Please let me know if this response does not address the situation you reported.

Locating RefWorks

Hi there, you used to have a RefWorks link on your main libraries site, now it takes two screens to get to the link… Would you consider putting it back where it was? That was really helpful!
From: a faculty member

Cate Canevari, Associate Director, Research and Education Tompkins-McCaw Library, responds…
Thank you for contacting the VCU Libraries regarding access and links to RefWorks. We appreciate you taking the time to send us your question and feedback, and will forward this to the Web Development team. RefWorks is indeed a very popular resource, and as a result there is a link to the RefWorks guide from our QuickLinks menu located on the library homepage. The guide has a direct link to “Connect to RefWorks”, which gives you access to the resource with two clicks.

Because RefWorks is relatively new to our users, we currently link to the Resource Guide that explains access to RefWorks since remote access for RefWorks is handled slightly different from our other resources. It is possible that in the future we will link directly to the resource as more VCU users become familiar with RefWorks. In the meantime please know that your feedback is being considered.


Finding the Suggestion Blog

How come I can’t find the suggestion blog on your web site any more? Are you tired of our suggestions? Or just tired of answering them?

Jimmy Ghaphery, head of Library Information Systems, replies…
Thank you for the suggestion, we are always looking at ways to improve the site. Currently the quickest method to find the Suggestion Blog is along with all of our other blogs. Click on the Podcasts & Blogs link in the Library News section of the homepage. To submit suggestions, click on the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page. Based on your suggestion we are also planning to add a direct link to the Suggestion Blog from the Contact Us page.