On a Tuesday in April, 2,000 people used the Gateway Community College (GCC) Library and Learning Commons. One hundred eighty-one books, magazines and other materials were circulated. The Reference Desk librarians and staff answered 60 questions and took care of 154 other transactions.
“Snapshot – One Day in the Life of Connecticut Libraries” is a state-wide project of the Connecticut Library Association, the Connecticut State Library and the Connecticut Library Consortium aimed at capturing just how vital libraries are to community life, showing the impact the state’s libraries have on an average day.
The snapshot of the GCC Library and Learning Commons was overwhelmingly positive, said Library and Learning Commons Director Clara Ogbaa and Librarian Shauna DeStefano.
DeStefano and Librarian Rachel Isaac-Menard ran the snapshot day, encouraging students to take part in a survey and to take photos of themselves and their friends at work in the library. “Our Gateway students are really taking advantage of all of the services we have to offer,” Ogbaa said. “And from our survey, we can see that they really appreciate everything that is provided here.”
The survey responses were very positive. Many students said they were drawn to the library because of the quiet study areas downstairs. Ogbaa said this took some doing on the part of library staff, helping students set the tone for serious research and quiet, reflective study in the new setting. Librarians encouraged purposeful group work on the top floor and silent study on the lower level and now, said Ogbaa, “They really like the way the new library works,” she said.
The survey also revealed that students like the helpful nature of the librarians, the “technological amenities,” including the availability of computers and internet access and the inviting and comfortable environment.
“It is very clear that we are providing what our student population needs,” DeStefano said. She said the library recently doubled the number of laptops it lends to students in the library from 12 to 30 and they are almost always continuously in use. “Some of our students have no access to printers or computers at home so we have them for them to use,” she added.
The librarians constantly add to and adjust programming to meet the needs of students. Many of the recommendations come from students as well as from faculty.
For example, due to the exceptionally large turnout of students asking about citing sources and about research at the end of last semester and in May last year , the librarians created new Research and Citation Help Drop-in workshops that will run on May 2 in the Multipurpose Room from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
DeStefano said Snapshot day reminds people just how well used libraries are on a given day and what a resource they are to students and to the general public. Last year on that day, 55,862 people visited 90 Connecticut libraries and 56,573 library items were circulated during Snapshot Day last year. 717 new borrowers were registered and 9,422 people used computers. As one Gateway student commented, the GCC library “helps me achieve greatness and better myself!”