A Suggestion from a Potential Student

Received 5/15/14 via email through the library’s general account:

To whom it may concern,

I am considering attending USI this fall having spent a year at IU and finding the environment to be less than favorable for my academic success. Upon researching your school, I noticed that your library does not have any listing of a 24 hour, 7 day a week area during the academic year. I understand that it is a smaller school, and that the cost to keep a portion of the library open 24/7 is less than favorable financially, but I found that students at IU greatly appreciated a location to go on campus that is distraction free and academic in nature at any hour. There are always distractions in dorms, and there is a lot to do other than study. Some people need a change of space to focus. If USI had an area of the library that was staffed 24/7 so that students could go, sit in an academic environment with other students that are also studying all through the night, it would be highly beneficial.

Obviously I am not a financial or logistic expert, and I don’t know the implications for the school if this were to be established, nor do I know if there may be a place like this already, just not in the library. I simply felt I would send this email to share my opinion. I know I spent a few sleepless nights sitting in the west wing of the library, surrounded by other students with whom I shared the pain of my procrastination and coffee fueled all-nighter.

In addition to this, while not all branches of the library at IU were open 24/7, the staff on hand could go and access the closed areas if a student found that he or she was missing a necessary resource for a paper. If a student is working all through the night on a 10 page research paper, and discovers at 4:00AM that another book is required from the library, this student could go to the few staff members working the night shift and have the book looked up and brought to them, even if it was in a closed area.

With the internet as expansive of a resource as it is today, one may find this 24/7 library access to be unnecessary, if not wasteful. But some forms of academic work require older published texts, or things that only a library would have. In addition to that, the services at the library such as scanners, printers, and tech support (in the case of a computer emergency) have come to my aid. I don’t do so well reading long PDF files on my computer, and I need to print them out. If, again, one is working through the night during finals week or because of procrastination, and needs to print and read a PDF, what better place to do this than an environment such as the library.

In short, I believe that the consideration should be made for an area of the library to be open 24/7 during the academic year. The availability of a space for anyone on campus to go to at any hour for a communal study location could be invaluable.

I do not require a reply, but if you do have a similar campus service or would like to present your views on this concept to me, I would be happy to hear from you. This is not a make it or break it deal for my attendance, I just believe it would be an improvement to the school as a whole.

– Name removed to protect privacy

Response, via email:

Thank you very much for taking the time to contact us. Your message is thoughtful and respectful.

The idea of expanding the library’s hours to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7) came up even when I visited for my on-site interview for the position of Library Director, and has continued to be a topic of discussion for students. There is currently no academic space on campus that is open 24/7.  The Student Government Association here at USI agrees with you on this issue. It is not only the library’s resources – the databases or e-books – that people need in the wee hours. It is the facility itself: the printers, the large computer monitors, the study rooms, and the QUIET.

Since beginning my duties here in October 2012, the library’s hours for Fridays and Saturdays during the academic year have expanded. For May 2013, December 2013, and May 2014 final exams, the library stayed open until 2:00 am additional nights during the weeks before and during finals. We have taken head counts during these extended hours and refer to them when planning for future semesters.

Yet even during the busiest times, we still do not see consistently high numbers in the late-night hours, which causes me to worry about safety.   See my blog post for complete information: https://ricelib.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/why-isnt-rice-library-open-twenty-four-hours-a-day-seven-days-a-week-lots-of-other-university-libraries-are/

Because we know this is important to students, my staff and I will certainly continue to consider ways to further extend the library’s hours, keeping safety first and foremost.

Thank you again for your message,

Marna Hostetler, Director

David L. Rice Library


Suggestions, Suggestions, Suggestions

Hey, everybody, it’s your friendly library director again! I’m here with some recent suggestions for your reading enjoyment.

1. Staff should be willing to help those with dyslexia to get books!!! Son denied assistance!!!

I am so sorry to hear that your son did not receive the assistance he needed!! I very much wish that you had left your or his contact information, or better yet, visited me while you were here. Unfortunately, with so few details, I am left unable to rectify the situation. Please know that we here at the library pride ourselves on our strong customer service. We hope to get another chance to prove it to you.

2. It is sometimes too quiet in here. Perhaps some nature sounds or classical music.

This is a fine idea, for those who can work with sound in the background. Unfortunately, not everyone can. The great news is that there are some cool new inventions called “headphones” or “earbuds”!! These useful devices make it possible for everyone to study in his/her preferred sound environment! If you don’t have a set of your own, you can check out a pair at the Checkout Desk. They are due back at closing time the same day you check them out. Neat, huh?

3. Standup desks

Thank you for the thoughtful suggestion.  Several of us have heard recommendations for these in various places, from library e-mail lists, to articles on wellness, and even in the office of a colleague here on campus. I will look into pricing and possible locations, but am not making any promises. In the meantime, you might consider using one of the standup stations located in the “core” on each floor, near the elevators.

Thanks again for dropping me a line. I really do appreciate it, even when it is to express disappointment (see no. 1, above).

Enjoy the summer –

Marna Hostetler




A Game of Books…What Should you Read Next?

A Game of Throne9780553386790_p0_v2_s260x420s. You’ve all probably heard of the HBO television show by now, but did you know that it’s a book series, too? You no longer have to wait between seasons to know what’s going to happen to the Starks or the Lannisters. Pick up the books for some great summer reading and go off on an adventure!

Have you already finished all of Song of Ice and Fire? Good for you! That’s certainly a lot of reading! Don’t fret, we have plenty of other similar books to keep you busy for the rest of the summer!

Queen Elizabeth I is a beloved ruler of England, who led the country’s golden age! But have you heard of her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots? Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens will tell the story of 9780375708206_p0_v1_s260x420their tumultuous relationship, and maybe even show you a side of Queen Elizabeth that you haven’t seen before. It may even show that real life is more like A Game of Thrones than you realize.

The Once and Future King is an Arthurian fantasy novel. This epic tale follows King Arthur and Camelot, Merlin,  9780441627400_p0_v1_s260x420 Guinevere. It features wizardry and war. Maybe you’ve even seen the Disney movie The Sword in the Stone? Get deeper into the story with this book. It has all the makings of an epic novel!


What do you think is a good follow-up to A Song of Ice and Fire?

Farewell, Rice Library

Well, it is hard to believe that this moment is already here. The end of the year has once again come. The end of the year, for me, means graduation and the start of my future career. It feels like just yesterday I was writing my first blog telling you all interesting facts about myself. Although nobody came to Rice Library to give me a bag of sourdough pretzels, as I discussed in my first blog, it has been a great semester.

The past four months I have done my best to keep you all updated on events going on at Rice Library, along with educating you about the many services that Rice Library offers. From Find the Eagle to our library wide scavenger hunt, it has been a blast! I enjoyed seeing the excitement that many students showed during those simple events. I believe it helped students take a break from the daily grind of studying and have a little fun in the library. I have spent countless hours wandering around Rice Library to take picture you our dedicated students (thank you to everyone who allowed me to do this and did not sue me for creeping on you) and finding vacant study rooms for you to use.Image

I have learned a lot from working here at Rice Library, as well. I have learned about the amount of work that goes into keeping this place going for our students. It has made me appreciate everything that the staff here does every single day. From the checkout staff to IT staff, there is so much that goes into Rice Library. I have been amazed by how dedicated every single person here is to giving the students of Rice Library the best possible library experience. They are always cooking up new ideas to help make our library an enjoyable place for our students. From the countless info walls to keeping iPad’s available for students to use, the staff here is always working hard to maximize the students’ experience.

All in all, I am proud to say that I have worked at Rice Library for the past two years, first at Checkout and now as the Social Media Assistant. It has been a great experience for me. Before working here I didn’t know the slightest thing about libraries. I know that whoever takes over my position will do continue to build upon what we have already created. Last but not least, thank you to every single one of you. Without our followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook, and blog viewers none of this would have been possible. So for the last time, this is Austin Viano signing off. Stay classy, USI.


Read on,


Austin Viano