By: Christjohn Reyniel B. Pelejo
Gone are the days when long lines of students crowd the waiting area of the then combined computer and special collections sections in the library basement. Now, not only the students but also the faculty and staff enjoy wider areas and improved services the library has to offer because of the recent basement renovation.
According to Concepcion Saul, the university librarian, the library is now a go-to place of students who need to do research, complete assignments, or hang out with study groups.
“Sa library ngayon kahit wala kang assignment, marami kang matututunan,” she said by way of encouraging UPLB constituents to come and use available resources in the newly renovated basement.
The renovations were done to provide additional space and for proper allocation of services, such as the discussion room, viewing room, leisure reading area, and computer section. All of these are available to UPLB students, faculty and staff for free.
The renovation started in the last quarter of 2013. It had an estimated budget of 2.5 million pesos. The basement services became operational in August this year, the start of the first semester of academic year 2014-2015.
The University Special Collections Section now offers a very spacious area where students can study, read theses, or borrow other university publications. The Computer Section was transferred to the new basement division on the other side.
Read more about the library services and facilities here.
According to Marcelita Pureza, the head of the university special collections section, the improvement was a big help in terms of organizing the thesis collection and giving enough room for other publications of the university. She said that the section now has better working space for the staff, and additional tables for students who wish to study and charge their laptops.
“Kailangan malaman nila [mga estudyante] na dito sa library marami makukuhang sources at maa-access yun para sa research nila,” Pureza added.
The Computer Services and Multi-media Section, now called the Learning Commons, deployed additional computer units since the area got additional space. Before, only 50 computers were available; now, 66 computer units are fully functional, including iMacs and iMac minis. There are 30 desktop computers running on Linux, 24 on Mac OS, and 12 on Windows 7.
With all the computers deployed in the new setup, more users can be accommodated, hence no more waiting lines. The area also houses a discussion room and a viewing room which students can use for group meetings and film viewings, respectively.
Rea Antenor, a BS Electrical Engineering student, said that it was her first time to use the discussion room when she and her friends reviewed for an exam. She said that having a room where she can discuss freely with her friends is good for learning.
“Gusto lang namin yung place kasi pwede kaming makapagtanungan nang malakas. Kasi pag sa library, hindi makapagturuan nang maayos kasi medyo makakapag-ingay,” Antenor said.
When asked what he thinks about the new library basement, Kendrick Faronilo, a BS Food Technology student, said that it is “very beneficial… It’s the only place where you can discuss freely. Good facilities, more computers for students. Friendly and accommodating ang staff.”
He goes to the library Mondays to Fridays to avail of computer services and e-journal subscriptions.
Faronilo also said that to be comfortable and cozy while doing paperwork is also one of the main reasons for going to the library, especially now that he is working on his thesis. He said that the 5th Information Literacy Program “Level Up Your Research” workshop he attended last September helped him to learn more about the library and its services.
“Effective yung lecture series for surfing the library page. Naging aware ako sa library services. And I learned how to use the journal subscriptions,” he said.
According to Pius Murillo, the head of the computer services and multi-media section, there was a significant increase in the volume of users of this section, particularly with regard to use of desktop computers and acquisition of e-journals.
From 2,800 users of the computer and Internet service in November 2013, the logbook showed an increase by 300% last September 2014. There was also a notable increase in the downloads of e-journals, particularly in the Elton B. Stephens Company (EBSCO) subscription, which provides a wide range of library database services for general reference collections to subject specific databases. From 3,300 last October, the number of successful full-text downloads on EBSCO alone doubled last September.
Even with 50,000 full-text downloads overall since October last year; Murillo said that the library is still expecting more students to maximize the resources available in the library particularly the e-journal subscriptions.