Library looks to expand focus, appeal

By Tatiana Crane

This year, the DeWitt Wallace Library is trying to re-vamp its image in appealing to students past their immediate academic needs, and to look more toward both recreational and non-Macalester educational activities. Library Director Teresa Fishel said she wants the library to be seen as more than just a place to study. Part of the library’s strategy to reconstruct its image included offering students root beer floats, free thermoses, and a remote-controlled car race tournament during the Fall 2007 First-Year Orientation.

“[The library] is not a just a quiet, hush-hush place. We’re trying to work with and for the students,” Fishel said.

The library also seeks to raise student awareness of recent educational legislation. There were multiple posts on the library’s blog this summer about the Federal Research Public Access Act’s efforts to make more academic and professional research available for free. The research, funded by taxpayer dollars, would ideally be publicly available on the Internet about six months after its original publication.

The FRPAA focuses in particular on the National Institutes of Health. In the past, the library has also focused its efforts on making students conscious of copyright and fair-use laws. Continuing to make legislation issues known to students is one of the library’s goals for the future.

The former emphasis on Information

Technology Services has also changed. The library now reports to the Provost rather than to ITS. Despite its new connection with the Provost, the library still depends heavily on ITS, Fishel said.

Fishel said she feels positive about the new changes taking place, and also said she hopes that the library stays relevant and current for Macalester’s student body.

“It’s not that we’re changing so much, we’re just keeping up with the students,” Fishel said.