Library remains a quiet giant

Joe Zucker

Keeping up with the digital age helps the library stay relevant

Kara Loughard, a student desk clerk, checks out books to Jennifer Sandoval, a senior art history major, at the Kent State library. “I usually use (the library) for researching papers. It’s easier than buying the books,” Sandoval said. Glennis Siegfried |

Credit: DKS Editors

With many students turning to their computer for their research, the library is finding ways to stay relevant and keep up with the digital age.

“It’s not your grandmother’s library anymore,” Barbara Schloman, Kent State Library associate dean of public services, said. “These are very exciting times for us.”

Thomas Klingler, assistant dean for collection management, echoes Schloman’s sentiments.

“We’re as important as ever, but we look and act a lot differently than people assume,” he said. “We’re getting more and more of our content online and making it more easily available.”

Library to see budget cuts beginning in July With the economy in a recession, the university must make cuts in order to save money. Although the library continues to help students in various ways, they are not immune to budget cuts.

Thomas Klingler, assistant dean for collection management, said that the library is planning a cut of $260,000. The cut will take place on July 1. Of that, $175,000 will be cut from library collections, which is about 4 percent of the annual collection budget.

Part of the $175,000 will affect the amount of books and other media purchased by the library. In addition, hundreds of journals will be canceled.

“We are working with the faculty to decide which journals we should cancel,” he said.

Klingler also said that a cut of $320,000 is not out of the question for the fall semester, but the cut is not confirmed and might not happen at all.

Freshman aeronautics major Bryan Rhodes does not want to see the library diminished in any way.

“I don’t know what I would do without the library,” Rhodes said. “I think people forget how important it is for us.”

Klingler said the library will remain as relevant as ever.

“The bottom line is that the library is not any less important that we were in the past, it just keeps changing,” Klingler said.

– Joe Zucker

Schloman said that it would be a mistake to think of the library as only a physical entity.

“We get thousands of hits online every week,” she said. “Many students are well-aware of what we have to offer them.”

She said the library is working with professors in order to find the best way to convey the library’s assets to Kent State students.

Freshman aeronautics major Bryan Rhodes said the library is a valuable part of his academic life.

“I can’t think of how many times I have come here to study,” he said. “The journals and research databases that you can get online help me out so much for my classes.”

Klingler said that people might think the library is less important because they don’t understand the library’s role in making the content available. The library is also trying to expose its content to Google, which would help students find scholarly content easier.

“Sometimes I don’t realize how much I use the library,” freshman pre-marketing major Steve Stapleton said. “It really is in so many things that I don’t think of.”

Even with so much information online, Schloman said that the turnstile counts for the building have been increasing this year. As students gear up for finals, the library is extending its hours to allow students more time to study. The building will stay open until 3 a.m. for the rest of the spring semester.

“We tried to create spaces where the students can go and be just to themselves,” Schloman said. “While the number of students using these spaces is going up, I don’t think enough students know about them.”

Schloman said the writing commons in the library has helped many students with their papers and has improved their writing. Also, through their Web site, the library provides an assignment calendar that helps students map out the process of writing a research paper.

The library also offers students specialized assistance and the opportunity to make an appointment with a librarian, which can help the student in finding information about a topic of research.

Contact libraries and information services reporter Joe Zucker at [email protected].