Boatwright Memorial Library staff established an online reservation system this semester for group and individual-study rooms.
Students can now reserve a study room one week in advance for a maximum of two hours each day, said Lucretia McCulley, library director of outreach services. The rooms will also remain open at all times, eliminating the previous need for students to collect a key from the front desk, she said.
Because the rooms are keyless, it is acceptable for students to use them without a reservation, but when another student with a reservation arrives, those students must leave, McCulley said.
"We set up the system, but the students own it and the responsibility," said Cassandra Anderson-Taylor, library customer service supervisor. "We want students to really treat each other with the courtesy that is important for this system to work. We are just getting out of the way of policing it for them."
Students can reserve the rooms on the first and second floors 24 hours a day and the rooms on the basement levels until they close at 1 a.m., McCulley said. Before, the time was limited to the hours that the front desk was open for workers to issue a key, she said.
The keyless system has also eliminated the potential fine for returning a key to the front desk late, Anderson-Taylor said. Under the old system, students were charged $2 for each hour that the key was late, she said.
Junior Kirsten Petrocelli said that she liked the keyless system because she could go into the rooms whenever she wanted, but that it was uncomfortable when someone with a reservation asked another person to leave.
The online system permits a student to reserve a room only once a day, which senior Kyihara Anderson said she did not like. Before, students could check out a key to a study room, return it and then check out another room several hours later, she said.
"We just want to make sure that the students have the space," Anderson-Taylor said. "Juggling keys wasn't quite fair to everyone who needed to use the rooms. People will now really think it through when they have a project to study for and book the rooms a couple of days in advance. The person who says 'Oh, we've got to crash study,' won't have the ability to monopolize the rooms quite as much."
Library staff members researched the systems of other universities and observed the Virginia Commonwealth University library process before deciding to move online, McCulley said.
During September, there were 1,188 confirmed group-study reservations and 239 confirmed individual-study room reservations, Anderson-Taylor said.
Individual-study rooms are designated for one to two people to ensure that loud noise does not disrupt the silent study area where they are located, McCulley said. Groups of three or more have priority for the group study rooms, she said.
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"The individual rooms have not quite taken on the identity that we believe they eventually will," Anderson-Taylor said. "I think students just aren't comfortable with them yet. They haven't grasped the idea of one or two people using a smaller room and still getting just as much done."
Four group-study rooms were added during the renovations for a total of 11 rooms: four on the first floor, three on basement level one and four on basement level two, McCulley said. Eight individual-study rooms were added this summer on the second floor, she said.
The reservation system can be found on the library website under the "for students" section, or at libcal.richmond.edu.
Contact staff writer Erin Moyer at email@example.com
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