New year brings changes to Milne Library

Milne Library has taken on a new look this semester, but not to worry - the previous services offered to students are still there along with some new technology and a revamped system for aid in research and writing.

The service desk, usually the first stop for students seeking assistance, has been consolidated and now offers a consultation area where students can meet with librarians. The library no longer offers laptops, but has acquired 40 brand new netbooks that, according to Library Director Ed Rivenburgh, "are smaller, faster and have longer battery lives." The new paging system allows the service desk to page anyone in the library if a previously unavailable netbook has been returned.

The service desk now also offers scanners, iPads, Kindles, calculators, digital cameras, digital voice recorders, mouses, Powerpoint clickers, dry erase markers, scissors, rulers, headphones and a GPS.

According to Rivenburgh, Milne has an average of 4,000 visitors every day, and "one of the biggest challenges is providing enough seating for students." This semester, many journals have been placed into electronic databases, allowing the library to clear out space for an expanded student study area.

The study area, IDS office and media collection have all been relocated to the lower level. More electrical outlets have been installed on the main floor and Rivenburgh said that the next project is to get electricity into the new study area.

The new Milne Writing Learning Center is, according to Rivenburgh, "a joint effort between the English department, Access Opportunity Programs and the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program." The center is located in Milne 210 and provides a space for AOP tutoring, speech buddy meetings for the ESOL department and testing for students with special learning requirements.

The center offers the use of several computers, private areas for tutoring or work and mobile whiteboards that can be moved around to form walls or used for tutoring purposes. The new center also has student reference assistants who are trained by librarians to help students conduct research.

Junior Laura DeMarco, a reference assistant, said, "There is more space for consultations, but [the center] is almost harder to see now, so we want to make students more aware." A candy advertising campaign is helping to do just that.

Senior Sara Morningstar, a reference assistant, said the campaign "provides an extra incentive" for students to visit the center, which is always stocked with candy. Reference assistants used to be at the service desk, where "simple questions can still be asked, like how to find a book," Morningstar said. The reference assistants in the center, however, are available to help "with anything relating to research, including narrowing down a topic."

Junior Katie Peterson, a tutor for both the Writing Learning Center and AOP, said she finds the new space much more conducive to tutoring. "The AOP tutoring used to be done downstairs; this is much more inviting because it's not down in the dark basement and people don't have to go looking for it," she said. While there is only one computer in the Welles 217 WLC, "there are so many more computers [in Milne] and there is a writer's reference at each station."

The Welles center is open from 1 - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students are encouraged to make appointments through English department secretary Michele Feeley at The Milne Writing Learning Center has tutors on staff available to accommodate drop-in visits from 8 - 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 6 - 9 p.m. on Sundays.