New renovations push Farley Library into the 21st century

Anne Yoskoski, Life Editor

Whether using the computers, attempting to print something or meeting a study group, students have most likely spent a lot of their time in our Farley library. Lately, big changes have been taking place in order to benefit the students and push the library into the 21st century.

Some of the most obvious changes are the new front entrance doors and handicap access ramp. Previously, any handicapped students had to take the service elevator in order to access the library.

Many of the other changes, however, are technological.

“We are trying to update the library to make it a 21st century library,” said Head of Public Services Brian Sacolic, “and every year we are getting closer to that.”

The basic goal behind the latest library updates has been to align the first, second and third floors with the Alden Learning Commons in the basement, which has received an excellent student response.

“We have hard data that proves our statistics as far as foot traffic, laptop rentals, interlibrary loans and book checkouts have improved dramatically over the last few years,” Sacolic said.

The improved data has to do mainly with the improved library. Students are able to rent MacBooks and iPads for use in the library as well as access more than 5,000 eBooks.

“We have been amassing eBook collections and databases over the years, and we have built an impressive collection,” Sacolic said.

In addition to the new archives — the newest being American Historical Newspapers —  and databases, students now have new, high-volume printers that are capable of printing up to 30,000 pages per cartridge of ink. This includes a functioning color printer, so students can customize their printing in various ways. With these new printers, it is hoped that students will not lose as much money printing things, and will not have to go running to IT for refunds.

Students can also take advantage of the new copy machines that will produce a clearer copy with less shadowing.

One of the biggest changes to the library are the hours of operation. Farley Library now has a 24-hour computer lab that students can access with their Wilkes ID. It will allow full use of the lower floor of the library, allowing students to enter through the South Street entrance. Security will walk through at various times, making sure the environment is safe for all students.

As for the future of the library, more renovations are planned. The goal so far is to make the second and third floors as conducive to productivity as possible, modeling them after the lower and first floors. Now that the new doors are installed, the next thing on the agenda for the library is possibly a new air conditioning system to combat the stuffiness so many students have experienced in the spring semesters.

“We are trying to move away from that archival-warehouse mentality,” Sacolic said. “We are still pushing for a coffee bar, but honestly the improvements in physical and Web presences have taken place at amazing speeds. We are thankful for the support of the administration and the great reception from the students”.

The staff at Farley Library is enthusiastic about the changes and the feedback from the students. Even more upcoming changes are being planned, such as more instructive classes on bibliographic information and creating an environment similar to what Sacolic calls “an academically inclined Barnes & Noble rather than an information warehouse.”