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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Library policy restricts public use

UA students will get more computer space in time for finals at the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center with the implementation of a new computer use policy beginning today.

The Public Computer Use Policy will affect all computers located on the first floor of the UA Main Library, otherwise known as the Information Commons. The policy is the result of students asking for more computer availability and understaffing as a result of budget cuts at public help desks, according to Travis Teetor, operations supervisor for UA Libraries.

“The numbers of public workstations are not sufficient for the student demand much of the time and public use has impaired student access to equipment,” Teetor said. “Public use is impacting the work we need to accomplish so that students and faculty are successful in their learning and research needs.”

Beginning today, members of the community who do not have a CatCard or a UA library card will be restricted to a section of publicly available computers located on the fifth tier of the Information Commons. Community members will receive a computer card there that will allow them access for 60 minutes before they are logged out.

“Given that we tend to experience a decline in library use right before Thanksgiving, this was the next best time to install and test software during the fall semester,” Teetor said.

Depending on the demand of the public computers, people will be able to increase their time an additional 60 minutes and can reserve a computer up to three days in advance. But neither computer cards nor reservations will be honored if a UA student, faculty or staff member needs to use a computer and all other sections are full.

This is just one policy UA Libraries has applied this semester to curb excess computer use by community members. Another policy, implemented this semester, restricts library access to CatCard holders after 9 p.m.

“The UA, while it still does serve public community purposes for research, it’s not a public library,” said Samantha Gardner, a graduate student studying information resources and library science. “It’s still a student library in a lot of ways and I think that students should have a priority. We shouldn’t be second class on our own campus.”

Gardner, who has worked in libraries both on and off campus, said she has previous experiences with homeless people when they would enter a library just as it opened and not leave until it closed.

“There are public libraries, so there are places for the public to go,” Gardner said. “While I think it is nice having some public computers here I don’t think we need to especially cater to the public.”

Elizabeth Todd, an adjunct physics professor who uses the ILC study rooms to meet with her students during office hours, said the new policy is nothing different from her experiences using the public library computers in Tucson. According to the Pima County Public Library’s Computer and WiFi Use Policy, library card owners are able to reserve computers, and based on the demand of the particular branch, are allowed a certain amount of time on them.

“We’re not doing anything novel,” Todd said. “This has been done for as long as computers have been in libraries.”

During her time in the ILC, Todd has observed both students and community members partaking in the same computer activity and doesn’t think the new policy will drastically change the landscape.

“I see mostly people on Facebook when I look out here,” Todd said. “The university has its primary obligation to the students, so if a non-UA students wants to use computers they are either going to rent them at the public library or use them here, that’s it.”

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