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Archer making changes to accommodate students

Author: derek cameron – news writer

The more coffee the better, so says the student journalist. / Arthur Ward

The more coffee the better, so says the student journalist. / Arthur Ward

Changes are coming to your library. The University of Regina’s Archer Library has been undergoing what Head Librarian William Sgrazzutti calls a “phased renovation” over the past few years.

The library has added lounge areas, study rooms, increased hours and implemented changes similar to other university libraries in the first part of this phased renovation.

For this stage, however, the library decided to reach out more to students.

“We started with a social media campaign, and then we expanded to three large whiteboards throughout the university asking for suggestions as well as the whiteboards within the library itself,” said Associate University Librarian Colleen Murphy. Initially, they had planned to use focus groups but that plan quickly fell through, as “many students didn’t have the time. The social media made the changes more accessible,” she added. An interesting note, because most of the suggestions were generated by students writing on the whiteboards throughout the university. However, the #yoURLibrary social media campaign did gain a lot attention, including a post on the infamous UR Confessions asking for suggestions.

Student use of the library has gone up tremendously and Sgrazzutti noted that it was a factor in opening the discussion up to the wider student community.

“We made changes based on the model used in other universities and use of the library has gone up a significant amount. We hope to continue the trend by implementing more of the ideas students want,” said Sgrazzutti.

The response by students? “Huge. It was great to see. The whiteboards in the library had to be erased daily to allow for the volume of suggestions posed,” said Murphy. Some of the ideas suggested by students included longer hours, extended coffee shop hours, more electrical outlets, nap rooms, and study nooks. Both Murphy and Sgrazzutti mentioned that the campaign was taken seriously with very few joke suggestions.

The library teamed up with the University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU) to try and make the suggestion of longer coffee shop hours a reality. URSU volunteered to cover the staff costs required to maintain extra hours. The agreement was that if The Grind in the Ad Hum building made enough money to cover the extra hours worked, the coffee shop would continue to remain open later. The Grind made more than enough to cover the extra hours and will continue to be open later, helping students getting their mandatory caffeine fix.

URSU has been a part of the project from its early stages. “Both Daniella and Luanne [two URSU Vice-Presidents] of URSU have helped us out a lot on this project especially with helping implement the suggestion to increase the coffee shop hours,” said Murphy.

While no major changes besides more caffeine for tired students have been implemented yet, the library will start seriously weighing suggestions very soon. This phase of renovations appears to be a success at engaging students and generating thoughtful suggestions. Start utilizing your awesome library.

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