More staff needed for night


Matt Churella

Owen Library Director Peter Egler talks to student government senators about the library’s resources at a Feb. 27 meeting.

Matt Churella, News Editor

Owen Library Director Peter Egler said he feels the interactions between students and reference librarians are declining.

Egler attended a Feb. 27 student government meeting to tell student senators about Pitt’s library system and to ask them for suggestions that could make Owen Library’s resources more accessible to students.

“Not as many students are talking with librarians as they used to,” Egler said at the meeting.

Student Government Treasurer Santana Lardo suggested that extending the library’s hours until midnight would benefit students.

Egler told student senators he would like to extend Owen Library’s hours, but the library’s staff would need to be increased to make it happen.

Sophomore Madison Huzsek said she thinks the library should be open until midnight.

She said the library is a quiet place to get work done and that she sometimes cannot start her homework until late at night because of her work schedule.

Owen Library closes its doors at 10:30 p.m. every Sunday through Thursday, at 5 p.m. Fridays and 6 p.m. Saturdays.

Egler said about 500 to 700 students use Owen Library each weekday. He said there are usually fewer than 50 students most Saturdays and about 150 students visit the library most Sundays.

One university library open until midnight is Penn State-Altoona’s Robert E. Eiche Library.

Penn State-Altoona Head Librarian Bonnie Imler said students who are in the library until it closes are usually studying or using a computer.

Imler said that almost none of those students ask for help at the reference desk. She said that most students tend to work on their research during earlier hours.

Imler said there’s only one work-study student and one staff supervisor working in the library from 10:30 p.m. to midnight.

Imler said while their librarians still receive a number of “Where should I start?” questions, she said more students are beginning to ask for help in limiting their search response.

“Our students now ask for help in limiting their searches so that they don’t receive a sea of information back,” Imler said.

Egler said he thinks it’s unfortunate that Owen Library’s librarians are struggling to be accessible to students.

“They can be very helpful.

“Just because information is easier to access doesn’t mean it is easier to use,” Egler said.

Egler said English Composition I and II and Public Speaking students attend a library session.

He said one of the session’s purposes is to demonstrate that students can benefit from, and improve their research strategies by asking librarians for help.

Instructor Kimberly Douglas, who teaches both English Composition I and II, said she wants her students to learn how to use databases and how to find scholarly sources to use in their five research papers throughout the semester.

She said most freshmen, prior to the library session, do not realize the number of databases that are made available to them and that they can sign books out of Owen Library.

Douglas said she also teaches students how to use the library’s Pitt Cat system.

“We take a day, and we browse Pitt Cat.

“Some (English Composition II) students transferred and are unaware of how to use the system and how convenient it truly is,” Douglas said.

Egler said Pitt Cat is a great resource that accesses many databases for finding information.