On April 22, Woodland Community College library opened its doors on the weekend for its first trial period, as staff evaluated the current needs of students and whether keeping the facility open an extra day is necessary.
Despite having Saturday courses available for students on campus, in the past several students have approached the library doors over the weekend only to find that the building is closed. As a result, students looking for a quiet place to fit in last-minute study time before an exam are left with few options.
Many students can be seen hunting down a secluded study zone in one of the buildings, hushing anyone talking in the student lounge, sitting in class tuning out their early social classmates, staying in their car or finding a tucked away spot on campus.
Noticing this trend amongst students who have classes on Saturdays or whose work schedules interfere with the existing library hours during the work week, a group of student, who call themselves The Bookwormz, created a solution.
The group was formed in Kathleen Stephens’ Speech 6 class, during last fall semester. For their final project, The Bookwormz proposed that the library remain open on Saturdays and presented their idea to the Woodland Site Council.
Acknowledging that students could readily use the public library for study time, they also noted that the public library’s computers are limited to a one-hour time span and do not provide the programs some students need, like Diet Analysis and Mini Tab.
Inspired by The Bookwormz, the Woodland College administration initiated a trial period suggested by the group during the last three weeks leading up to the spring semester finals.
This three week trial period was arranged at a time when students are expected to be studying for finals and writing their last papers of the semester. The library is to remain open between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. until Saturday, May 6, when the doors will once again close during the weekend.
During the pilot period, any student visiting the library on the available Saturdays is required to sign in at the front desk and check out upon leaving. They are also required to include the amount of time spent in the facility and what resources they used while there.
Once the pilot period is over, the names and hours will be counted. This is done to evaluate how necessary library weekend hours are to students and others who wish to access materials.
This “pilot period” has already proven to be successful. Despite the low attendance on first day of the trial period, with only eight students, the second Saturday proved to be more popular, as 30 students showed up to research and type papers. One group was even given a tour of the facility.
But before this trial period could begin, The Bookwormz had to present their charge and substantiate their claims with evidence that this was not simply for their personal interest.
The group surveyed nearly 400 students to see whether they would use the library and what resources they would be interested in using. The only problem with this project was working with the policies already in place at Woodland Community College and the Yuba Community College District.
“We understand that at this point it is not possible to implement permanent hours on Saturday for the LRC (library),” the group stated in their proposal, “but [we] hope in the future that the information obtained during the trial period would justify the use of addition funds for the LRC on Saturday.”
Woodland Community College began building a foundation for its library with a collection of only 30 books.
Darlene Gray, a library staff member, explained, “Woodland’s campus started with 300 students, and now there are 2,600.”
Since Woodland’s library opened 24 years ago, it has grown to accommodate 7,000 volumes, 30 periodicals, 1,500 videotapes, 200 audio tapes/discs, several magazines and newspapers, as well as a copy machine and 13 computers with internet access.Although the average date of the library’s collection is 1980, students who do not have internet access at home find the library’s collection, computers and access to the internet extremely valuable.With the addition of the new Learning Resource Center, which is currently under construction, Woodland’s campus and library are expected to grow.
On May 3, interviews for a fulltime permanent librarian were conducted and, as Gray stated, ” Hopefully the librarian will be on staff by the beginning of August.”
With this faculty member, there will be three fulltime permanent employees and one temporary part-time employee working in the library.
Although Gray has volunteered her time on multiple occasions to run the library over the weekend, only recently the idea has taken effect.
The Bookwormz stated, “With staff volunteering their time during the trial period, no additional funding will be required to open the library for the trial period. The final goal is to have the LRC (library) open on Saturday for the whole semester. This is something that is going to take time to establish because of the financial restraints placed on the school.”
According to their survey, the group discovered that out of 378 students, 260 said, “Yes, if the library were opened on Saturday they would use it.”
As the library remains open for one last Saturday, students seeking refuge before a Saturday course may find relief.