3.2 Access to Information
Candidates support flexible, open access for library services.
In today’s technological world, our students have become used to instantaneous gratification. Personal interests and information needs can be explored through a search engine, yielding hundreds or thousands of hits catered specifically to the user. As librarians stress the importance and preferential academic status of their resources and wares, providing open access to the library is essential. The students will not take advantage of the wealth of resources present in the library itself and those within the mind of the librarian unless it is convenient. The library must cater towards its clientele, which includes providing digital access to the library 24/7. The procedures pages of my school library website illustrate my capacity to “support flexible, open access for library services.”
The “Hours and Student Use” page clearly states the library’s physical hours of operation as being from 7:30AM-3:15PM. This provides a half hour outside of the regular school day in both the morning and the afternoon for students to visit the library. Twice monthly in conjunction with the “Devouring Books” Lunch Bunch bookclub, the students are invited to eat lunch in the library, which allows them to maximize another free time during their day for independent library use. Students may also visit the library any day during the last fifteen minutes of lunch if they have obtained a Library Lunch Pass that morning.
Not wanting to unduly place limitations on the number of materials a student may have checked out at one time, my “Checkout Procedures” page sets a high limit for student circulation. Students may have up to 5 regular books, 2 reference books and/or periodicals, and one audiobook/playaway checked out at one time. My decision to allow reference books and current periodicals to circulate was one that some librarians might disagree with but one that I felt was necessary to truly ensure access to the library resources. Not all students will necessarily have multiple time blocks in a week to spend in the library pouring over a reference book that is very helpful but can’t be checked out; in fact, some students may not even use reference materials in a library where they are non-circulated items. Likewise, not all students will have such extensive free time to sit and read a current magazine within the walls of the library. It is important that access to library materials be extended to the home.
Though I have information regarding our digital resources in other areas on my school library website, I would want to include information about these opprtunities on the “Procedures” pages of my website as well. A tremendous part of my providing library access to the students is giving them opportunities to access library resources from any computer. This should be stated as an extension of the library’s regular hours. I would also like to incorporate an “Ask the Librarian” feature that would allow students to email me their questions, so that I can address their needs, even if they don’t have time during the school day to come see me in person.