Oviatt Library offers new study lounge for students

Julio Alberto Cruz

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The Oviatt Library recently unveiled the new student study lounge in the fourth floor. Photo Credit: Dedee Verdin / Staff Photographer

The Oviatt Library at CSUN is a source for providing academic resources for the student learning process, and in the past year it has updated and created several of its services, like text-a-librarian and expanding student lounges.

The library has been in the current location since 1959 and it continues to serve students through its five essential benefits: research consultations, borrowing privileges, reference services, and online resources, said Coleen M. Martin, coordinator of Outreach Services.

“We have many services from the first to the fourth floor,” Martin said.

In the main floor students can find the reference desk where their questions can be answered but if students are not able to come in, they can chat with a CSUN librarian or any other university librarian across the nation 24/7 or e-mail them, Martin said.

Susanna Eng, coordinator of reference and instructional services, started the text-a-librarian service in fall of 2009.

“A colleague and I started it because students would be too busy to come in, especially during finals,” Eng said.

The text-a-librarian service provides students quick information responses.

“It is very popular where students can text brief questions and receive brief answers from librarians here on campus,” Martin said.

Another service is the interlibrary loan, located in room 109, which helps students obtain research materials that are not available in the library.

“Students request the materials and they will arrive within 5 to 10 business days at the interlibrary loan office,” Martin said. “Students can get almost anything here at no cost.”

For books that are on site but not on the bookshelves, students can find them in the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) storage facility, which holds over 1.3 million volumes, Martin said.

“Students can find those books on our page as ‘stored’ under the call number,” Martin said. “The book(s) are ready within 10 minutes for pick up.”

For any regular checkout, students take their items to the circulation desk located on the right-hand side of the library entrance.

The second floor has the Music & Media Department in the east wing, where instructional and popular movies, videos, and audio books can be checked out or watched on a monitor with headphones.

“Instructional, circulated videos can only be watched here,” Martin said.

The Tseng Gallery located in the west wing of the second floor host new exhibitions every academic year.

“Not only does this room have the exhibit but it has a section in the back where students can come and read non-academic books, like novels,” Martin said.

Another benefit is that the library is open 24 hours during finals and vending machines are brought into the library lobby for students to grab a snack while they study, Martin said.

“Students are able to have access to drinks and snacks without unnecessarily having to leave the building,” Martin said.

The collaboratory computer lab located in the east wing of the third floor has computers with software including Microsoft Office 2007, which the computers in the main floor do not have, Martin said.

Daisy Beltran, 23, psychology major, said the computer labs are one of the most useful resources that the library provides.

“This is very helpful, especially during finals when they are open 24/7, so I can come and write my papers,” Beltran said. “I do a lot of research through their online databases, which are very helpful.”

The computer lab in the third floor has about 170 workstations and gets full during finals, Martin said.

“If students are not able to find a workstation, they can also borrow a laptop for an hour by showing their CSUN ID,” Martin said. “Students can checkout laptops in the help desk in the computer lab.”

The third floor is also known for its study rooms, which must be reserved at the circulation desk; they are available on a first come first serve basis, Martin said.

The fourth floor like the second and third floor also has study rooms, though it is more known for its newly designed student lounge, which is located on the periodicals & reserve book room in the east wing, Martin said.

“Last year, students asked for more study areas and they got it in the first floor behind the reference desk, along with some new computers,” Eng said.

Due to students’ high demand for more study areas, Martin said they looked into creating a new study area.

“We decided to arrange a more comfortable, relaxing study area in the fourth floor, this summer,” Martin said about the quietest floor of the library.

The Campus Quality Fee, which went into effect in the fall of 2008, helped create the student lounges. The fee also helped start the book reserves that can be borrowed for a two-hour limit.

“The course reserves books are put on reserve by instructors for a specific course,” said Danielle Ste. Just, supervisor of reserves, periodicals and microform. “Students may search by instructor or course number on our webpage to see if we have them.”

Books on reserve must meet criteria.

“If the item costs over $50 and serves a maximum number of students, then instructors can put it on reserve,” Ste. Just said. “Students do save money with this service.”

Instructor-supplied reserve materials are made available online as electronic reserves, as well, Ste. Just said.

“This service has grown in the past few years,” Ste. Just said. “Starting in the fall, at least one thousand items will be on reserve.”

Currently, Susanna Eng, also a first-year experience librarian, is working on online tutorials of the library, which can be watched on YouTube.

“We want students to get familiar with the library so they can come and know it better,” Eng said. “We are an outreach for students, helping them through their college experience.”