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Hunt Library extends hours, offers new services

Hunt Library is currently in a trial period during which it will stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The trial period began on Dec. 1 and will continue to the end of final exams in the spring semester. Hunt previously operated under a 24 hours a day, five days a week schedule, and was open from 10 a.m.–9 p.m. on Saturday. It closed at 9 p.m. on Friday and opened at noon on Sunday.

To enter the library during these extended hours, students will need to present their student identification, and will have access only to the library’s first and basement floors.

In addition to the trial of extended hours, Hunt has also implemented other new changes, including an expansion of its current academic journal subscriptions. Journals from publishing companies Elsevier and John Wiley — 1,900 and 1,100 journals, respectively — are being added to the available collection for students.

A new website will also replace the current VPN system with the service EZproxy to allow off-campus students access to journal articles by spring of 2014.

These changes are being spearheaded by the university’s new Dean of Libraries, Keith Webster. Webster arrived at Carnegie Mellon in June, and has served as dean of libraries at the University of Queensland in Australia, university librarian at Victoria University in New Zealand, and head of information rights at Her Majesty's Treasury in London.

“What I observed as I moved into the CMU environment is that the student community here is very driven,” Webster remarked, attributing this to the culture of research and collaboration on campus.

“What I see is the demand for greater access to library spaces and access to library content,” he added.

Carnegie Mellon libraries plan on launching a survey in January, which will be similar to a successful survey that Webster distributed while working at the University of Queensland. The current changes were based on a one-question survey sent to students in October.

“I was quite pleased to see we got hundreds of responses,” Webster explained, noting that many suggestions were for Hunt Library to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Webster acknowledged that some people were concerned about the impact of 24/7 library availability on student well-being, remarking “I really hope that people will sleep,” and adding, “I remember from when I was a student I enjoyed working late at night and on the weekends.”

The trial will end after final exams in May, but Webster said, “My expectation is that, if everything runs smoothly, [the extended library hours] will continue into subsequent years.”

Additional changes made to Hunt Library include installation of Google Chrome as a web browser on library computers and the diversification of the food options at Maggie Murph Café.

The library also announced the availability of BrowZine for Carnegie Mellon students, an application that offers access to academic journals published from 2005 onward.

The changes in Hunt Library have been generally well received by the campus community, with junior economics and math major Stanley Krasner saying, “it’s nice to see that more journals are being added. I like having greater access to articles for studying and research.”

Webster said, “This is the beginning of a journey of transforming this library.” He plans to add more group study spaces as well as quiet study areas, as many students need access to both of these areas at any given time. He also mentioned plans to create group study areas that could be converted into quiet study spaces during final exams and other high-demand periods.