Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What I dislike about Gleeson Library at USF

What I dislike about Gleeson: 

Swiping to get into the library. Sometimes I have my hands full of books or other study items when I approach the library and trying to open the doors is enough of a challenge - fishing around for an ID doesn't make this situation any easier.

I realize that the card swipes might help secure the building, but requiring cards for access is also discouraging to those who want to use the library. I was waiting at the circulation desk, near the entrance, attempting to pay some late fees (another thing I dislike about the library, though admittedly my fault!) earlier today. While I was standing there, a number of individuals who were not part of the USF community but were on campus for a conference approached the gates to be let in. 

A woman came in through the doors and waited for a little while at the gates, confused, before retreating back out the doors. Later, a man approached the desk, looked imploringly into the circulation desk area, as one must do if she forgets her card, before being interrogated by a deskworker for entrance into the library. The deskworker asked him if he was a teacher, which he was not, and then asked what he was here for, to which he responded "just visiting", so she let him in. I'm not sure, but I doubt that someone asking for admittance into the library would admit that they were there to "steal some books" or "graffiti the third floor bathroom". 

That's not to say that I don't think monitoring the library is worthwhile. Certainly, we have a lot of awesome books to protect! I think that the video monitors set up throughout the building are probably good prevention against nefarious activity (like graffiti or promiscuity in the stacks) and the metal detectors (book detectors?) at the exit are a perfectly reasonable defense as well.

One thing I do like about the gates is their sound, strangely enough. I used to try and block it out when I was reading on the 2nd floor balcony, but now I embrace the sound like many San Franciscans embrace the bellowing foghorns late at night. The unique gentle swooshing of the gates is somewhat comforting against the trickling waterfall nearby. It reminds me, while I work, that I'm in a special place surrounded by books and knowledgeable people and, for the most part, peace and quiet. The loudest my library experience gets is when someone forgets their card, setting off the gate alarm, and must then carry out a loud cross-room conversation with the circulation attendant as to who they are and why they don't have a card. 

I wonder, could we keep the swishing sound and lose the card swipe?


Sara said...


Amber said...

I hated the gates when I worked at the circulation desk. Sometimes they'd be broken or there would be an event going on, and they would leave them open, and it was amazing. People forget their cards all the time, and technically, the workers are supposed to call you up to the desk and check your name and ID number. Some do, some don't. For me, it depended on my mood, whether the patron was obnoxious, and whether my supervisor was around.

Anyway, I would love to do away with the gates, but another advantage of having them is that we get better access to the resources they offer, like study space. Way back when, they would have someone sit at the desk right by the access gate to help anyone who had issues. That was good. No need to yell across the room.

Blake said...

Haha before I read your post I got interrigated by a library worker for not swiping.