Friday, May 15, 2009

What's to come

Now that the summer is beginning in earnest -- graduation is occurring right now -- let's take a look at some of the projects we've got planned for the summer and what you may see in the Library upon your arrival this coming fall.

First, new computers. We'll be getting around 5-10 newer computers to add to our current collection, and are currently in the process of deciding where to put all the new stuff; the biggest consideration is convenience for the students. The first-floor public computers by the Service Desk are very heavily used and often fill up during key parts of the semester. This is mostly because of their central location, which is also closest to the printers, main stairs, the Deaf Stacks, and the Service Desk. They also make it easy for time-crunched students to walk in, quickly find what they need, and walk out. Still, there isn't much room left in the open space on the first floor so the new computers may go downstairs. As I said, we're working on it.

The important part is that we are getting more computers! At some point over the summer, you'll be updated on what's happening with them and what you can definitely expect when you arrive in the fall.

Second, new website. We are in the process of revamping our website -- at least, we were. It's almost done! This is just the latest major change in the evolution of our online services, which has taken a fascinating path over the past few years (check it out in the Wayback Machine -- just click on the first link in each year). This newest iteration of our website is focused even more on ease of use for both students and faculty. You'll see increased emphasis on quick searches in the ALADIN Catalog and our electronic resources, on contacting us, and on helpful resources that will guide you to where you need to go. It's also very nice-looking. Do yourself a favor and explore it a little bit once it rolls out -- I'll let you know about that, too.

Third, new hours. We're currently figuring out ways to expand our operating hours for the Fall semester. Nothing concrete has yet been determined, but as soon as I find out, so will you.

Fourth, new LibGuides. Not that we had old LibGuides; this is a wholly new thing we're working on. LibGuides is a pretty cool online content management system that'll help us churn out focused guides for specific parts of our collection and specific departments here at Gallaudet University. We'll cover not only our own resources (including more direct pipelines into ALADIN for specific topics), but also provide information about citation styles, resources outside of Gallaudet, quick glossaries to help students brush up on specialized vocabulary, and many other things; most of the guides may be one-stop shops for you. Personally, I think it's a lot of fun to put together, mostly because I'm a total geek, but hopefully you'll find it useful!

These are just the four most visible changes happening in the Library over the summer. A lot of other stuff will be going on, but they're generally much more subtle than anything that will immediately impact your routine Library use.

Oh -- also, in response to swine-flu concerns and general hygiene, Gallaudet has installed free antibacterial hand-foam dispensers on both sides of the building near the Service Desk. They're lots of fun (seriously: foam), and we do encourage that everyone use them.

That just about wraps it up for this week. Good luck to the class of 2009!

Question of the Week
What's the deal with the Library hours?? Sometimes you close at 11 p.m., sometimes 8, sometimes 6, sometimes 5. Which is it?
You're not the only one who's asked about that this week. Our hours do vary on a regular basis. For instance, this summer, we close at 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and at 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. You can sleep in all weekend, too: we don't open until 1 on Saturday and Sunday. This is a change from this past Spring semester, when we were open until 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday.

We do change our hours based on how we see people using the Library, though; for instance, during Fall and Spring semesters, we're friendlier to night-owls and procrastinators: we are generally open later at night and for more of the day on the weekends, which will be true again this coming fall. Still, as I mentioned in New Thing Three above, we're still working on figuring out exact hours, so hang in there!

Between semesters, when classes aren't in session at all (like this week or around Christmas), we're only open from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Period.

Also, if Gallaudet University is celebrating a holiday, we usually are, too, and will be closed.

Hopefully that clears up the confusion. Our hours are always posted at the building entrances, and we also have loads of copies of our hours available in the rack by the photocopy center -- just ask at the Service Desk if you're not sure where they are -- or check at our website.

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