Babson Library recently made a permanent change to their hours and availability schedule after running a pilot of the policy at the end of the fall semester. The new policy, which began on Jan. 23, is similar to the test one, which limited the number of hours that the public could use the library’s services.
According to an email sent out to faculty, staff and students, the community can access the library from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. After 6 p.m., students, faculty and staff will need to scan into the library with their Springfield College identification cards to get access.
This was done “to provide the quiet study space and computer access needed by our growing number of students, as well as to address overcrowding,” according to the email from the Marketing and Communications department.
Library Director Andrea Taupier said that the decision was made to implement the policy in large part due to the time of day that the library is used most by students.
“It is pretty much true that the students tend to use the library more at night,” Taupier said. “They’re doing their heavy-duty, coming to study in the library after 6 p.m., and so that’s when we’re the most crowded. So that’s why it makes sense to make the building for students only when they are choosing to use it heavily.”
In addition to providing students additional space and computers at night, the new policy encourages more students to remain on the first floor. This allows the library’s staff to do their job more effectively.
“I think if there are more people using computers on the first floor, it allows them to get help from the staff with their research needs,” Assistant Director for Information and Research Rachael Naismith said.
In order to make the transition from the former schedule to the updated hours of access, a security guard was on duty to ensure that people signed in. For the first two nights there was a grace period for SC personnel who were unaware of the new policy, but by Jan. 25 the policy was in full swing.
“The library staff is not going to hold the door open for people. If you don’t have your ID card, you’re not going to be able to get in,” Taupier said.
The security guard was not only used as a policy enforcer, but also as an educator. The guard handed out informative papers explaining the new policy to those appearing to be confused. According to Naismith, the role of a present security guard in the future has yet to be decided.
The scanner to get into the library is marked by a big arrow sign on the door. The scanner has actually been there for several years, but it was reprogrammed to fit its new purpose. In the past, library staff only used it early in the morning or late at night to gain access before the building was open, or after it was closed.
The policy now in effect was experimented with around the end of the semester last year. One major change is that the time the community was allowed to use the facilities has been pushed back. During the pilot, the community could access the library until 5 p.m. Now, community members may stay until 6 p.m.
The new time period, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., represents the library’s normal hours in the summer, over holiday breaks, and during other similar time periods.
The other big change is that the computers on the first floor that require a pin number to use during the day are reprogrammed after 6 p.m. to become SC login-only computers thanks to the Information Technology department.
The community’s reaction is sure to be mixed, but at least some members understand and accept the limitations of the new policy.
“Some are [upset], but I see the point,” Springfield resident and regular library attendee Noel Wigfall said. “It is free, and you can print, so I’m saying it’s a blessing from Springfield College to be able to come here.”
Students, too, have mixed reactions on the change, but most appear to be positive.
“It’s getting overcrowded. A lot of people are going there using the computers, getting books,” junior Christina Leader said. “But it also stinks for the people who do come here that don’t go on campus, because when they can come here, that’s during their work hours.”
“We want to use the facilities when we need to, and obviously at night if a lot of people need to go to the library, which I know a lot of people do, it’s much easier if you can go there and it’s not super crowded, and there’s not a lot of commotion and it’s just college students there studying,” junior Michael Abate added.
The new policy is meant to increase students’ opportunities to work in a compatible environment that promotes optimal learning. At the same time, the library did not want to severely limit the hours that its doors are open to the community.
“We understand that the main priority is the students, faculty and staff, but we are part of a neighborhood, we are part of a community, and personally I think that we benefit from having our doors open to some extent to the people who live down the street,” Naismith said.
Anyone with questions, comments or concerns can contact Andrea Taupier for additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 748-3609.