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(Nov 10/08) I wrote a suggestion here a while back, it was made in the form of a letter to Thode written as if Thode was a person (Im sure you remember). Although perhaps a bit long, I wrote it addressing many things I found wrong with the library and have received no response to it. To see suggestions like Dont turn the PA system on people are trying to sleep on here and nothing regarding my comments is starting demonstrate that only the comments that can be used to make the library look good are being posted, is this true? If not, please post/answer my previous suggestion. In case my previous comment got misplaced. 1) How much did we / Why did we spend so much money on the Mac Computers in Thode when everyone logs into Windows anyway? Perhaps a survey could have been done. Was there one? You dont need a Mac to log into WebCT or look at Morris. 2) Libraries used to hold books not meetings. Why are we getting rid of books and quiet areas and replacing them with places for people to meet in groups to discuss things. Its very rare that people require books from the library when they meet up in those groups so, why do they have to meet in the library anyway? If they need to meet in a group, they can take a library book out and bring it to their meeting point which is somewhere far away from a quiet zone. 3) What is the point of the self checkout option in Thode? How much did we spend on that? Is a librarian going to lose a job? Can this machine help us look for books, make suggestions as to where to look for information or say Hello and smile? Can this machine do its work when the power goes out?

Library response:

Thank you for your patience and we apologize for not responding to your original suggestion in a reasonable amount of time.

 Please let me explain that it was not at all an attempt to screen a suggestion that contained critical messages about the library.  There are about a half a dozen people who respond to suggestions that come into this online forum and sometimes a response is posted very quickly, particularly when it is an issue that can be easily addressed by a single person (such as checking the volume on our PA system).

In other cases, and this was the case with your suggestion, we want to bring the comment back to an upcoming meeting at the library and get input from various people involved.  The Thode project is a large one and involves people from various units of the library.

 We realize now that this delay could easily be perceived as trying to screen a suggestion that contains some criticism of the library.  We also appreciate that we are not truly responding to either of your comments with this note, but promise that a response is coming soon. The lead on the Thode Renovation project, Associate University Librarian, Vivian Lewis, will post a response shortly.

Thank you again for your patience.


Dear Heart Broken:  Once again,  we apologize for the delay in responding to your comment.  We have spent considerable time talking about your message.  Your note touched on several issues – each involving different people and groups within the Library.   We will try to do a better job of posting your comments quickly – even if we don’t have an immediate  or complete answer to your concerns.

Funding:  You mentioned in your note that the money spent on Thode could have been better spent on books or structural improvements.  I can assure you that the Thode Renovation Project is being funded through private donations.  Tuition fees and University operating funds have not been used to pay for the new construction or furnishings that you see.  We are always very pleased when donors express a strong interest in enhancing learning spaces on campus.  Their gifts benefit many students from across campus.  They fund upgrades that we could never dream to support through our own budgets.   

The New Mac Computers: I can assure you that we negotiated a very good bulk discount on the new machines.  The machines are dual boot – so users can chose whether to boot to Windows or Mac.  We’ve purposely set the default to Windows for now – since the preliminary suite of software that we’ve loaded works best in that environment and the boot-up process takes a fair bit of time to do.  I think you’ll find that, as we unroll more specialized software and people become more accustomed to the Mac environment, more and more users will chose to boot to Mac.  In the coming weeks, you’ll see information posted about drop-in sessions on using a Mac.
A few other things to note about the new machines:

    * The Macs are much more easily configured for grid computing (i.e., using the resources of robust networked computers to solve large-scale computation problems).
    * Macs have many advantages for multimedia work.  The Mac Pro’s (the ones with the larger monitors), will be developed into a multimedia cluster to support this kind of work.
    * Macs do not experience the virus problems associated with Windows environments.

Noise:  We acknowledge that the 1st floor of Thode is a busier, noisier place than it was before.  Gate counts have climbed since the new furniture and equipment were introduced.  That isn’t going to change – nor do we want it to.

That being said, we agree that noise has become an issue in Thode during this phase of the renovation project.  We are introducing a white noise system in the coming weeks to reduce the problem.   In coming phases, we’ll be introducing a glass wall to block the noise from the first floor creeping up through the building.  When the renovation is complete, the 1st floor will be noisy, the 2nd floor will be quiet and the 3rd floor will be silent.

Self-Check Machines:  The new self check machines allow us to free up staff time to do higher-level work.  The machines also reduce repetitive strain injuries – historically a common problem for staff working on circulation desks.  Finally, they provide more confidentiality for patrons signing out materials on potentially controversial topics.  Self check-out machines have become fairly common in public and academic libraries across North America.  Watch for additional self-check machines to be introduced in our libraries.  Further into the future, you can also expect to see self check-in machines.

Our Hope: Without belabouring the “broken hearted” metaphor too much longer…Don’t let this quarrel come between us.   We hope that we can still be friends.

On a final note, much as we hate to hear that we’ve disappointed you, we enjoyed your creative flair.

Vivian Lewis

Associate University Librarian, Organizational Analysis


(Nov 12/08)
Answered by: Catherine Baird (Marketing, Communications and Outreach Librarian),Vivian Lewis (Associate University Librarian, Teaching, Learning and Research)

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