Saturday, March 03, 2012

Alma College Library

When I attend Michigan Academy, I take the opportunity to visit the local academic library, and find that I am one of the few who does, though we have a good number of librarians at these conferences. I enjoy getting private tours, and this time the director of the Alma College Library - Carol Zeile, a 1978 grad of Western's Library School  - took me around. 

The first thing I noticed, even before I entered the library, was the cafe. It was prominently advertised on the outside of the building, and was on the main floor of the library. It was added as part of the most recent renovation about 5 years ago. It is a totally student run business, not part of dining or catering services. A student organization plans everything and hires students to work there. They are open 8-12 and 6-12 most days, serving coffee, tea, soda, cookies, scones and candy.

Alma College serves a population of 1400 students, and their library has 11 - note 11!!! - group study rooms of varying sizes, only two need to be reserved. There are also 200 carrels that students can reserve for the semester and when they check out books, they can leave them in the carrel. The carrels are open, like ours, with no lockable area. Each carrel has the student's name on it, and only a few had books on them.

 There are 10 computers on the main floor that are open to the public in the mornings. At a certain time, when the library gets busier with students, the computers need a local campus login. There is a computer lab available for student use with login and there were other computers elsewhere, that I did not note. There is a classroom with a cart of laptops that is the preferred instruction room. The computer lab may be used for instruction, but is second choice.

The Writing Center run by the English department is located in the library with an office and a nook on the first floor with tables and chairs to help students. The career advising center is also located in the library on the lower level.

I did not look at their collections closely, just noted that bound periodicals are on the lower level in compact shelving, the main floor contains the reference collection, and the top floor hold the book collection. There is a three floor stack area with low ceilings like we have in North Hall, but nicely carpeted and with good lighting that can be switched on and off for each aisle.

There seemed to be plenty of study areas for individuals and groups, with numerous cozy chair areas, nooks for group or quiet work. The central staircase with couches (and the evolving mobile of a 1000 cranes made by students seen above) is very popular. They are thinking of expanding, as they do not have a real quiet study area, and students are clamoring for MORE group study rooms!

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to see that you're posting again; coming from Missouri I like seeing what's going on around here in Michigan. Thanks!