New Computers in the Library

This summer, IT has been upgrading the lab computers in the library.  The Teaching Lab and Reference Lab have both received new machines, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll be focusing on the Reference Lab (or as it is affectionately known to some, “The Amoeba.”)

Reference Lab

Reference Lab

The bank of computers in the lobby of the library is one of the busiest and most highly-used areas in the building.  It is a hub for research, printing, paper writing, and casual use by Rollins students, employees, and members of the community.  The lab as it existed until this summer was conceived during the 2012 2nd floor renovations.  The setup included large towers mounted underneath the computer tables.  These towers were ugly, and they often presented problems of function as well as form – users would bump their knees into the computer, or the mounts would frequently become loose and the tower would crash to the floor with a thunderous boom.  Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but heavy objects falling near people’s feet made us understandably nervous.

IT approached me last semester and offered a solution – new all-in-one computers that would mount directly to the monitor arms and wouldn’t require anything to be mounted beneath the table.  As an experiment, they set up a test machine outside of my office.  I casually

One of the new computers!

One of the new computers!

monitored usage of the computer, and saw that it was very popular with students, and that there weren’t any technical issues during this trial run.  After some discussion between the library and IT, the plan to update the lab was finalized.

A couple of weeks ago, IT was ready to install the new lab machines.  In addition to the initial planning and ordering of the new computers, the installation itself was a big effort – computers were unboxed and installed on monitor arms, old machines were disconnected and removed, and the old, problematic mounts were taken out from under the tables.  In the end, we have a lab that has faster computers with bigger monitors that both looks great and works better.

The library would like to thank Joe T. and Shaffaq from IT for their dedication and hard work in getting these set up for us (and for letting me play with power tools!).  If you’re on campus, feel free to take the new lab for a test drive and let us know what you think.

Plan Ahead for Winter Break

Some faculty and graduate students look forward to the Winter Break as an opportunity to take some precious time to concentrate on their own research. If you are planning on working during this period and need to use interlibrary loan (ILL) services, or may want to check books out from Olin Library, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of. There will be no access to the general collection on the 3rd and 4th floors and no Olin Library ILL staff working from noon on Friday 12/18/15 until 7:45 a.m. on Monday 1/4/16. This means no books can be checked out and no mediated ILL requests will be placed, no items returned, and no returnable items (like books) processed during this period. Also, while some larger libraries continue ILL service during the winter break, many do not. So that even if you place an unmediated request for an article, for instance, it may not be processed at the lending library. Plan on taking some time during the Thanksgiving break to check out books and place those ILL requests for materials you plan on needing during the winter break. This should give plenty of time for us to receive them in time for you to take them with you over the winter break. If any should have a due date when we are closed, don’t worry – just return them on 1/4 and we will take the flak, pay any fines, etc.

Some readers may remember that we added extra hours as a pilot during winter break of 2014-15. We reviewed the results of that pilot and discussed the issue of whether we needed to be open during winter break with the Library Advisory Council. Their recommendation was that we do not, but that we should give faculty and students plenty of warning so that they could plan ahead.

Fox Day 2015 Hours

Olin Fox Day Hours and Services

If you’re reading this, it’s Fox Day! We realize that it came late this year and you might have some studying to do, so the library will be open today.foxday

  • The Olin building will be open 24 hours as usual.
  • The Checkout and Reserves Desk will be open during their regular hours. Please note that if you have any materials checked out that are due today, they are still due. You can contact Circulation at 407-646-2521 if you’d like to renew your books.
  • The Research Help Desk will be staffed by a librarian from 5pm – 9pm.
  • The IT Help Desk will have limited service until 5pm, and normal service after that.
  • TJ’s Tutoring and Writing Consulting: In the spirit of Fox Day, peer tutors and writing consultants will take the day off. Scheduled appointments today will not meet unless the tutor or consultant contacts his/her clients via e-mail offering to meet with them.

Olin Hours over Winter Break

In response to requests from our patrons, we will be open for limited hours during winter break for Rollins faculty.

Thank you to the 112 full time and adjunct faculty who responded to our recent survey on library hours over the winter break.  About 24% of respondents indicate an interest in using the physical collections during this period and about 43% indicate an interest in using ILL services. We also surveyed Oberlin Group and ACS libraries about their opening hours over the winter break. Approximately 84% of the 36 libraries that responded close for a similar period during the winter break. After discussion with the Provost and the various staff involved we are proposing the following as a pilot this year. After this we can review activity and see what we should do in future years.

  • ILLs will be processed from 9-1pm on Monday 12/22 and 9-1pm on Tuesday 12/23.
  • Circulation Staff will be available 12-4pm on Tuesday 12/23 and on Friday 1/2. On those two afternoons, we will open the gates to the upper and lower floors for Rollins faculty only. Faculty who take advantage of this can browse the collections, bring any books/DVDs for checkout, arrange reserves, and pick up any ILL books on those two afternoons.

A few things to remember:

  • At this point some of the relevant staff have already made travel arrangements etc. So we don’t have complete freedom to set the opening hours this year.
  • The campus Post Office opens for two days over this break – 12/23 and 12/30. However, they make it clear that they only expect USPS deliveries, FedEx and UPS will not deliver.
  • ILL will inevitably slow down for a number of reasons beyond our control:
    a.    Many of the schools with whom we have ILL relationships are closed for all or some of the break, we can’t borrow if they are not there to lend.
    b.    USPS has already announced that they expect mail delivery to slow by, on average, one day during December.
    c.    Many libraries use USPS Book Rate to deliver materials, this is the USPS’ lowest priority and will probably slow down even more.

Again, thanks to everyone who responded and particular thanks to Kristen and to Patti for their flexibility in adjusting their holiday plans.

Cafe Entrance Now Open

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The Olin Library has opened the patio in the back of the building, near the cafe section of the main lobby. The patio features new furniture, and an entrance to the building that leads to the Bookmark Cafe. Library patrons can now enter and leave through this entrance door during normal business hours and enjoy coffee and a book outside on the patio.

We hope you enjoy using this newly re-purposed space.