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Library Learning Commons Student Advisory Board

Notes from the 2013-14 Academic Year meetings of the LLC Student Advisory Board.

Notes - February 28, 2014

Library Learning Commons Student Advisory Committee


Present: Sean Barkley, Chris Murray, Pierre Nzuah, Abbey Williams, Carlos Remigio, Johanna Lee


Refreshments were provided by Dr. Mott.

Johanna asked that the group briefly introduce themselves once more since an additional member was present, Sean Barkley.

Johanna started the introductions stating that she is the Director of Tutoring Services.  The Learning Commons is fairly new to SUNY Canton and Library Services and Tutoring Services have both changed a lot in order to make the Learning Commons what it is.  We are dedicated to meeting the needs of students and see ourselves as agents of change in an environment that is ever evolving.  She is excited to be part of this group because the voice of the students is a powerful agent of change for the services and environment in the Learning Commons.

Chris introduced himself as an IT major in his senior year.  He identified that the main group of students that he represents on campus are the non-traditional students.  His goal for being involved in the Advisory Committee is to represent the non-traditional students and provide feedback on their behalf.

Pierre introduced himself as a residential student.  He is also an international student.  Currently he is an RA in Mohawk Hall, president of the IEEE club and a peer tutor in the Engineering Lab and the Math/Science Tutoring & Learning Center.  Pierre said that his motivation for joining this group comes from wanting to talk to fellow students about what they want to see improved and assist in seeing those changes happen.  Personally he is interested in seeing what we do with the suggestions that are brought to us via this group.

Abbey is a legal studies major. She is a swimming instructor for TRIBS.  She is a commuter students and represents this population of students.  Abbey said that she is interested in possibly becoming a tutor in the future.

Carlos is a management major.  In addition to his studies he shared with the group that he is a tour guide for admissions, a student ambassador and the budget director for SGA.

Sean is also a commuter student.  He is interested in this group as a method for providing and gaining feedback about recommendations and ideas for the Library Learning Commons.  He said that he read the minutes from the last meeting and had a few follow up questions he would like to get clarification on.

Sean’s first question was with regards to the noise levels upstairs in the building.  Specifically he wonders why the walls in some of the study rooms do not reach the ceiling in an effort to block some of the noise.  Johanna updated Sean about Michelle’s proposal to purchase and install sound panels in the building in an effort to control the noise volume throughout the building.  Johanna informed him that the proposal had been approved but was not sure about the timeline for having the project complete.  Sean wondered if this was a long-term solution or a short-term solution.  Johanna answered that is most likely a long-term solution at this point since there are not many options for reducing noise in the building with the growing number of patrons.  Further it was discussed that bringing the walls to the ceiling would violate code with regards to ventilation and circulation.

Sean’s second inquiry was with regards to the Connections Room.  He wondered if this room was reserved for specific groups of students and faculty or if it was an open access room.  Johanna stated that all rooms in the building are open access with a first come, first serve policy.  The two exceptions to this are room 122, the computer lab which can be reserved for the librarians to provide information literacy classes and the Fishbowl.  Sean asked who is able to reserve the Fishbowl.  Johanna explained that the information can be found on the Library website along with the form.  In general she stated that the room could only be reserved for official campus groups or meetings.  Although it is kept locked, students are able to request and use the space when it is not in use by prior reservation.  Sean suggested posting a notice about how to check the reservation schedule and the room policy on the door so that more students are aware of how to access the room. Johanna showed everyone the device that is in the room that shows the reservation schedule and was placed in the room at the suggestion of this committee at the last meeting. 

Johanna then addressed the group regarding the “homework” assignment they had been given at the previous meeting. This entailed each member talking to the students in their area about changes and improvements that they would like to see in the building.  Each member had a list of items.  Johanna invited any of them to volunteer to go first.  Pierre volunteered to start.

Pierre said that he talked to students in his dorm, in the tutoring labs and in the Library Learning Commons building in general to get a sense of what students would like to see.  Following is his list:

1.       (Tutoring) Students would like to have more physics tutors available in the Math/Science Center.

2.       (Tutoring) A number of students who are taking A&P stated that sometimes other students take the models out of the Math/Science Center and then they are not available for shared use in the lab.  Johanna stated that she had not been aware of any of the models leaving the room and asked Pierre if he knew.  He said he did not.  Johanna asked if they were perhaps talking about the models available at the circulation desk and Pierre clarified that the students specifically said the Math/Science Center.

3.       (Tutoring) Also with regards to the models, the students would like it if they were available sooner than Fridays so that they have more time (days) to study.

4.       (Tutoring) Students would like room 127 (math/science) to be open on Saturdays.  Students who said this were not necessarily requesting tutors.  They want access to the room and its resources.

5.       (Tutoring) Students want additional hours in the Business/Accounting Lab.  They would like Robin to be there for longer days and also open for some hours on Fridays.

6.       (Tutoring) Some of the models in the Math/Science Center are mislabeled which is confusing for studying.  Specifically it is the skulls that are not correct. Chris pointed out that there is not much room on the skulls for marking and this makes it difficult to do it correctly and keep it correct.

7.       (Tutoring) Why is there no longer a scanner available in the Math/Science Center for student use? Johanna reported that she was not aware that the scanner had been removed and would look into it.

8.       (Café) Students said that they wished the Cyber Café was open during all of the hours that the building is open.  Specifically, students want coffee.  The group talked about the practicality of this. In conclusion, Johanna asked what recommendation the group would make and they said having the café open until midnights during finals week would be great. During the rest of the semester having it open until 6PM.

9.       (Library) Many of the laptops are “slow” and they “freeze” often.  Students are not sure why this happens.

10.   (Library) Students would like to have MacBooks available for circulation in the building in addition to laptops and iPads.

11.   (Library) Students wonder why it takes so long to log into the PCs.  Chris offered that each time a student logs onto a computer that they have never used it takes extra time to load all of their information.  He suggested that students should use the same PC whenever possible to save time.  The group wondered if this could be added to the Library Learning Commons newsletter as a “tip” for faster/more effective use of the computers.

12.   (Help Desk) The WiFi drops students who are upstairs working, particularly in the corner study rooms.  The students who reported this said that they have made the Help Desk aware of the issue but it has not been fixed.  It is a real issue for students if they are taking a test.

13.   (General) Some students complained that there is not a place near the library to smoke and they have to leave and walk a far distance to smoke and then walk back.  These students wondered if an area could be designated for them.  Johanna explained that SUNY Canton was moving toward being a tobacco-free campus. This was a state regulation, not a local one.  She stated that all students needed to follow the rules established in this mandate and that no accommodations could or would be made.

14.   (General) In general students are frustrated by the traffic in the building and want to see the Library Learning Commons moved to a larger space.

Abbey volunteered to follow Pierre.  She said that she made a Facebook post for fellow students to respond to.  Her list follows:

1.       (Library) Students would like to see more closed-in rooms and cubbies for keeping belongings.

2.       (Library) Students would appreciate a stapler and hole-punch near the upstairs copiers.

3.       (Library) Is there a method for students to identify their print job so that they do not have to paw through a bunch of prints to find their own job?  The idea of having a face sheet with a student ID on it to identify the work was presented. A conclusion was not reached on this topic.

4.       (Library) In general, the group feels that students waste a lot of resources by printing so much.  Sean asked where the paper goes.  Johanna stated that a lot of it goes to the tutoring labs to be used as scrap paper. The group asked why printing capacity is not limited.  Also, the question about how to cancel a print job was asked.  Johanna and Chris confirmed it cannot be canceled at the printer but needs to be canceled from the computer from which the job originated. Chris stated that the cap on color printing does not mean anything.  He said students are allowed to run up a negative balance and so far no one has been charged as a result.  He said it is really easy to get around. A student simply needs to clear their cache and cookies and then they can continue to print.  He suggested that the Help Desk was probably not aware of this.

5.       (Library) The students would like a microwave that is available to all students.

6.       (General) A number of students complained about the temperature in the building citing that it has been very cold in there this winter.

7.       (Tutoring) The size of the Business/Accounting Lab is too small and there are not enough hours.  Abbey said a number of students noted that Robin is “amazing” and they want more of her time. Johanna stated that the Tutoring Center has more space than ever before and that there is really not any more available at this time.  Johanna asked if more hours were available if it would relieve some of the congestion so student traffic was more spread out.  The group agreed this was a viable option.  They also discussed furniture options and configurations to make the most of the space that is there. Abbey raised the question about why the labs are all in the library and not located in closer proximity to classrooms.  Johanna shared the history of tutoring and how the labs used to be spread out over the campus.  With this model there are actually more issues of accessibility.  Right now with the setup it is a one-stop for students and they do not have to leave one lab and walk across campus to access another. Plus, all of the resources available in the building make it a rich environment for students.  The group agreed with this perspective.

8.       (Tutoring) Abbey voiced the same concern that Pierre noted about the incorrect labeling of the models.

9.       (General) A place for people to put their bags and coats in the winter.  Students often remove outerwear and bags and leave them while they go to another area in the building.  This causes a couple of issues.  First, students do this to “claim space” and then do not always use the space.  Second, in the Tutoring Center it causes congestion for getting around.

10.   (Help Desk) Abbey noted the same concern about the WiFi as Pierre.

11.   (Café) Abbey noted the same request regarding hours as Pierre.

Carlos said that he talked to a number of students and presented the following list:

1.       (Café) He voiced the same request as Abbey and Pierre with regards to hours.

2.       (Library) Carlos said that a number of students he spoke to also requested that there be MacBooks available for circulation as Pierre had mentioned.

3.       (Library) Carlos said that it is frustrating for some students to spend the time it takes to log onto a PC only to find out the PC does not have the software that they need.  The group wondered if it was possible for there to be signage regarding what software was available on each PC to avoid this issue.

4.       (Library) Is it possible to have greater variety in the textbooks and updated editions?  Many of the available editions are old.  Finally he asked about the possibility of having online versions available for the online students who do not have physical access to the library.

5.       (Tutoring) Carlos asked if tutors were still needed for the Business/Accounting Lab. Johanna verified that we would like to hire 1-2 more students for this semester.

Chris gave the final update as follows:

1.       (General) A few students from the Veterans’ Association voiced that there is a lot of noise in the building.  For some of them who identified as having PTSD the noise makes it very difficult for them to be in the building let alone be productive in the space.

2.       (Cafe) Many students he spoke to also said that they want to be able to buy coffee and wish the café was open longer hours.  Would it be possible to have a Keurig machine that all students could access?  The students would supply their own drinks but would be able to use the machine when the café is not open.

3.       (Tutoring) Is it possible to have some CITA tutors who can do some of the higher-level courses? Johanna shared that in general, tutoring of higher-level courses is not supported.  Chris stated that having tutors with a broader knowledge in CITA would be helpful to many students. He said that John (Tyo) is really only able to help with the basics.

This concluded the updates from each student.  Johanna thanked everyone for their work, efforts and contributions.  She said that the notes would be sent out for review along with a date and agenda for the next meeting.