Library stays open longer

Nov 14, 2002, vol. 25, no. 6
By Diane Luckow

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The SFU library is extending its opening hours after user surveys revealed a significant demand for longer hours from both students and faculty.

The library will now remain open two hours later on Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and will open one hour earlier, at 10 a.m., on Saturdays and Sundays. The third floor reference desk will also open at 10 a.m. on those days.

The library was able to achieve the increased hours within its existing staffing budget thanks to the library loans staff, says Todd Mundle, associate university librarian. “They were all willing to adjust their schedules to accommodate these changes.”

Elaine Fairey (above), head of the reference division, notes that the library's reference desk experienced an 18 per cent jump in usage this September over last, a trend she attributes to increased library instruction and orientation programs as well as to increased enrollment.

Overall, the library's gate counts last year were up about 13 per cent over 2001, due at least in part to improved student study areas, including bookable group study rooms and a study area where eating and drinking are allowed.

A five-month-old, online reference chat service, Ask Us Live, will also increase its hours to include evenings during the month of November, opening 1-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 1-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

Ask Us Live permits students to chat online with a reference librarian who will answer research questions and who can demonstrate databases or online search techniques by controlling the student's computer.

The online reference librarians will answer questions ranging from simple inquiries about how to find specific books to complex questions such as how to find information on women and race in early 20th century films.
“This service recognizes that SFU students are commuters and workers who can't always come up to campus,” explains Fairey.

“Students who use the service are extremely impressed.” Users can connect to Ask Us Live from the Ask Us link on the library's home page.

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