After only the first week of classes, both Davis Library and the Undergraduate Library have been full of students either getting ahead on assignments or chatting with their friends.
These libraries are a second home to plenty of students at the University, and while not many policies have changed this semester, library staff have created new student programs and services for those interested in a number of different activities.
Now that students have returned for the fall semester, University Libraries staff are looking forward to working with students and piloting new programs.
“We're really excited that the year has started, and we were just commenting on how busy the libraries seem to be already,” Judy Panitch, director of library communications at UNC, said.
As part of a project this semester, library staff recently established “study zones” throughout Davis Library, with each of its eight floors designated to a different noise level. Karina Soni is the outreach projects librarian for University Libraries, and said the library listened to student feedback when introducing the new project.
“We've heard through students through multiple channels, conversations, social medias, whiteboard feedback and more that students would like different types of study environments in Davis Library and more clarity and guidance about what to expect in those spaces,” Soni said.
The first floor — and part of the second — of Davis will be available for talking at a conversational volume with peers, while the sixth floor of the library will now be the silent study zone.
“Essentially, floors of Davis Library now have different designations, so they can be collaborative study zones, considerate study zones or silent study zones,” Soni said. “The zones are general expectations that we hope will help students, but library staff will not be enforcing this.”
Since this is a pilot project, the study zones will be reevaluated in a few months after student feedback is received, which Soni encouraged.
The Undergraduate Library will also be continuing the SkillfUL Tech Workshop series, a hands-on workshop open to any student for learning design skills and working with Adobe programs.
“The SkillfUL Workshop series will be back for the fall semester, and that touches on topics such as podcasting, retouching your photographs, designing a strong resume. So, we're really here to support students with their academic and their personal needs,” Suchi Mohanty, head of the Undergraduate Library, said.
Soni said University Libraries is also introducing a monthly student newsletter, with tools for academic success, along with staff picks for streaming and reading.
“It's just once a month, a timely email – so we're not flooding your inbox,” she said. “And we have study tips, information about the resources available at the libraries, information on some of our events and workshops and just cool things from the archives.”
Students can also sign up for library social clubs, which connect them with other students based on shared interests in entertainment.
“That is just a casual way for students to kind of meet and connect over shared interests — in TV books, podcasts and music,” said Soni.
Davis Library will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, with reduced hours on Friday and the weekend.
The Undergraduate Library will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will not return to a 24-hour schedule this semester. Mohanty said hours for the semester were formed by student demand.
“What we've done in terms of shaping hours is looked at all of our usage patterns, in terms of headcount and all the data we have available, and we've really shaped our library hours so that we can support students during the times of demonstrated high demand,” Mohanty said.
Panitch also addressed the worker shortage that affected hours last semester, and said the full-time help needed is on a path to being restored.
“We are returning to a process of filling those vacancies, and I'm sure like every other organization, we will continue to have ebbs and flows depending on the pandemic,” Panitch said.
Most other libraries will operate from at least 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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