Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Message from the Director...

March 25, 2013

Montgomery College Students, Faculty and Staff:

In February 2013, the Montgomery College Libraries posted a question at the entrance of our Libraries asking how we can help you succeed. In response, you provided us with feedback about changes we might consider in order to better support you.

The largest number of suggestions related to technology needs (hardware, software, etc.). The Libraries are actively working with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to make technology enhancements in the coming half year. OIT recently increased the number of web browsers available on the Libraries computers. Over the spring, OIT is upgrading network switches across the College, which will immediately improve desktop speeds. Over the summer OIT will upgrade all of our public computers. Also in the summer, the Libraries will implement software to require logging onto the public computers and establish computer session time limits. With this change, we will be able to assure that Montgomery County students, faculty and staff have more access to the computers in the Libraries, while still providing some access to the broader community. A longer term goal is to provide a common student experience by having essentially the same software available on both Libraries computers and in the OIT computer labs. This goal will take some time to realize.

The other large number of suggestions involved environmental issues to support student success. In 2013 our Libraries need to provide multiple options for students to complete their work. Noise control and the ability to do group work or individual work are specific challenges given our facilities. Each of the Libraries has group study rooms that can be used by stopping by the circulation desk and getting a key. The number of these rooms remains inadequate for the need. As a result, we are beginning to look at identifying ‘zones’ – areas where collaborative work would occur, and other areas that would be quiet areas for more solitary work. This approach may not work on all campuses, given that some of our architectural features very effectively transmit sound, rather than suppressing sound. We will also be looking at opportunities to provide various furniture types, to support study, as well as more relaxed settings to take a break in.

We did receive some suggestions about longer hours – We will be gathering data this spring to better assess the need. Some suggestions had to do with what books are purchased, whether we purchase textbooks, and how long students can borrow books. These comments have been passed along to staff for consideration.

There also were some compliments about our service. It’s great to hear when we are doing a good job! Thank you. Please keep giving us feedback! Let us know what you need.


Tanner Wray

Director of College Libraries and Information Services

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