Piloting 24/7 access to Parks Library

I haven’t blogged in several weeks and with no very good excuse except that I’ve had a rash of work-related travel, and the soccer and baseball seasons for Ames’ kids overlap.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve considered writing about several things, sometimes to the point of jotting down notes. Much has been happening in our library, on campus, and within the greater academic library community.

So now, here are a few of the things I meant to write about:

  • the many ways the University Library serves Iowans (during Extension and Outreach Week, #strongiowa);
  • how we are involved with ARL (Associate of Research Libraries) and what this might mean for us in the coming year, a conversation that emerged when Executive Director Elliott Shore visited us a few weeks ago;
  • and the question of whether and how we can find ways to partner with some of our colleagues around the Midwest — even the larger libraries — in new areas where we really want and need to become involved (data is a good example), which stemmed from a visit from University of Michigan’s Associate University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks.

In the 4:55 a.m. quiet on the first night that Parks Library was open 24/7, I counted roughly 45 students. When we do the door counts, we’ll know for certain. For now, I would report that those who were here seemed to be working and they were happy to pick up a piece of the fruit we provided. Thanks, HyVee!

Speaking of doing rounds, that was interesting. We were missing a second student for the first part of my 2 a.m. shift and so the remaining student and I took turns on rounds, she took Round B, I took Round A. Round A wraps around Floor 2, Tiers 2 and 1, then through the Lower Level and up to Floor 1. As I made my way through Floor 2 the first time around, I looked up and noticed a tent set up outside my office. Surprise! So, I detoured and went upstairs to find out the story. Two very polite young men told me they had decided to take advantage of the 24/7 access to collections and study space and set up camp in Parks. We talked for a bit, I reminded them that floor 3 is pretty busy usually, that belongings left unattended sometimes walk off, and that while I was glad they were in the Library, I hope they make healthy choices during these stressful two weeks.

Thank you to all library staff and faculty for your efforts this week and next as we pilot the 24/7 hours. We are making a difference in our students’ academic success, and I know they appreciate this. How do I know? So many of them say thank you on their way out the door. In fact, Hannah Postlethwait, junior in journalism, stopped by on her way out at 6:55 a.m., to say thank you and chat for a minute: “Your being open 24/7 is going to save my grades,” she said. “The library is my favorite place to study, especially having use of the dual computer screens. I’m so happy I go to Iowa State.”

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