Library transforms from first building at UCF to major campus hotspot
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 16:10
The John C. Hitt Library offers a variety of services to help students manage busy class schedules with a knowledgable staff and multitude of research sources.
The effect the Library has on students is evident, Raul Penagos, a junior sports and exercise science major, said.
“[The Library] makes a huge difference in grades,” Penagos said. “Sometimes it is hard to find a computer, but there are so many other resources you can take advantage of.”
The atmosphere is conducive to academic study, and the resources are extensive.
“I don’t know what I would do without [the Library],” senior health sciences major Chloe Kindred said. “I print at least 50 pages a week.”
The Library is much bigger than it was in 1968 when the building was finished and stood as the first building on the current campus. Since then, it has been updated numerous times to keep up with the growing population, with more than 1.5 million books, leaps in technology, access to the Internet, QR codes for cellphones and video tutorials, among other tech services.
Penagos says one of the best resources is the staff. Its job is to make taking advantage of the myriad of services an easier process. These busy workers spend up to 60 hours a week helping students. They offer a service called Ask a Librarian in which 16 librarians are able to be contacted via telephone, text message or instant message. They can answer questions in real time and help students find what they need, when they need it.
The second floor, which stands at ground level, is the main floor and contains the majority of student services. Below is the first floor containing a federal and state document depository. Above are floors three through five, which are general and special collection areas, often referred to as “the stacks” with anything above floor three serving as both stacks and a quiet study area.
Included on the ground floor is the Knowledge Commons, which opened in 2010. It is a place to receive free research consultations and general help from the staff. Also on the ground floor are computers, consultation booths, access to printers and the main circulation desk where students can check out anything from books to study room keys to faux body parts for students on a medical track.
Floor three contains the media desk where students can check out a variety of media and devices: laptops, headphones, DVD and VHS videos are available for varying amounts of time and even iPads are available for weeklong checkouts.
For students who feel as though they practically live in the Library, there are ways to streamline time spent there.
Junior biomedical sciences major Andrea Swanson said she spends “five to six hours a day, about six days a week” in the Library.
With rigorous class loads and time at a premium, knowledge of and access to the help the library offers is integral in academic success.
“I think the Library definitely improves your chances at graduation and keeping your GPA up,” Swanson said.
Meg Scharf, associate director for communication, assessment and public relations at the Library, said the most utilized service is the Google-style One Search, which is located on the Library main page. It is easily navigable and contains a plethora of academic articles and half a million e-books. If that seems like too much information to sift through, a student can receive a private research consultation and be steered in the right direction with professional help.
The Library is there for the student body with an academic atmosphere where knowledge is easily accessible, distractions are at a minimum and information is easily shared. With all that is offered at the UCF Library, there is a shortening list of excuses for failing students. Students can take advantage of the services that their tuition pays for.