Fondren librarian talks new hours, renovations

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A rendering of the Starbucks Coffee that will be in Fondren Library. Photo credit: SMU

Fondren Library’s hours reductions may not be permanent, Director of Fondren Library Elizabeth Killingsworth said at Monday’s Central University Library Student Advisory Council meeting.

Killingsworth said the library implemented the reduction because of safety concerns in work zones at night, but that hours will be re-evaluated when the library’s renovations are completed in July 2016. The library will consider going back to its old hours, which were from 9 a.m. Sunday straight through midnight on Friday, and from 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturday.

“The renovation is a big factor in cutting back some of the library hours,” Killingsworth said. “The other part is that we looked at statistics to figure out how to maximize the best part of the library for people who need it.”

The nightly stats show the library is heavily used at 11 p.m. But each night at 3 a.m., less than 50 students occupied it between weeks three and 14 of both of the last two semesters. On some nights less than 10 students were there at 3 a.m. The stats are not hourly, so they do not show a clear usage drop-off time. As a result, Killingsworth chose a 7:30 a.m. opening Monday-Friday, a 1 a.m. closing Sunday-Thursday, and a 6 p.m. closing Friday and Saturday. Fondren is closed on home football game dates.

“We’re trying to maximize the building as much as we can during the renovation, keeping in mind that at certain points in the year, it’s going to be really difficult to make sure students are out of areas that they’re not supposed to be in,” Killingsworth said.

Stats showed the library is much busier during the semester’s final two weeks, so Kilingsworth is working to find a 24-hour study space for finals. She said the two most likely places as of now are Fondren or the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The library’s main stairwell, the second floor East stacks, and the science wing of the building all face scheduled closures during finals.

Killingsworth and User Experience Librarian Hollie Gardner also detailed the renovations at the meeting. A Starbucks and collaborative computing area will be on the first floor of the library, the fourth floor East stacks will get new carpeting and bar-style seating along the three side with glass walls, and the foyer of DeGolyer Library will be renovated and lead to a new Centennial Reading room.

The future location of Starbucks on the first floor of Fondren Library Photo credit: SMU

Every part of the library will close at some point in the next 10 months for new sprinkler system installation. Three stairwells will also close for a face-lift that will meet fire code. The library’s West stacks are permanently closed. All scheduled closures can be found on Fondren’s renovation website.

A new side entrance along the walkway to the library’s main doors on Hyer Lane will lead to the Starbucks and connect to another entrance next to Hughes-Trigg. Students will also be able to climb the DeGolyer library stairs on Hyer and have easier access to the main lobby of Fondren from DeGolyer.

“We’re hoping that the changes to bust through the DeGolyer side will improve navigation,” Killingsworth said.

One person and a reporter attended Monday’s meeting, which was open to all. Killingsworth encourages any student with a suggestion or concern to leave feedback in the suggestion box.

“We listen,” she said.

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