USC Libraries to provide better access tools

USC Libraries has begun actively working to improve the overall library experience for people in the USC community as part of the Essential Library, a new initiative.

Studying · Ashish Ingle, a graduate student studying business administration, studies in the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Library. - Kelvin Kuo | Daily Trojan

Catherine Quinlan, the dean of USC Libraries, said the strategic plan aims to provide comprehensive access tools, establish partnerships with outside organizations and create an intellectually stimulating environment that fosters productive research.

Currently, the libraries are focusing on making all information easily accessible for students, while increasing student knowledge about research itself, according to Quinlan.

“Students and faculty come here not just to find materials, but to find help. Today we have more places to find information, but it doesn’t always lead to good information,” Quinlan said. “So our job is to help everyone become a critical consumer.”

Hugh McHarg, executive director of Communications and Public Programming of USC Libraries, said USC Libraries want to create a mobile website that would allow for access to library resources through phones and tablets to make basic research easier for students on the go.

For the future, Quinlan has her eyes set on refurbishing Leavey Library and possibly optimizing it with more accommodations and computers for students and some students are excited by that possibility.

“Leavey just seems so cold and harsh, so if they could fix that I would definitely be more inclined to study there,” Julianne Coronado, a senior majoring in social sciences (economics) said.

Quinlan said USC Libraries needs to revisit how the space is being used in Leavey Library because the desks were originally meant to hold bulky computers instead of the smaller, slimmer ones used today.

The first plan to improve the libraries began when Quinlan accepted her position in the fall of 2007. She said the libraries were not organized as well as they should have been, causing a decrease in usage by students.

“I remember looking for a book in the philosophy library and it wasn’t there. As it turned out, that book hadn’t been there for ten years — it was over in Doheny,” Quinlan said. “Well, if that’s the service we’re giving people, no wonder they’re not using our collections because they can’t find what they’re looking for.”

Quinlan said her staff worked to reorganize Doheny Library this fall by putting more than one million books on the nine floors in the proper sequence.

“We’re on an ascending level of quality, but there’s always going to be more and more to do,” Quinlan said.

Quinlan said she hopes the changes will draw more students to USC libraries in the near future.

“I’m hoping that we’re bursting at the seams, because we have so many people that want to get engaged with the libraries and want to showcase our selections,” Quinlan said. “I want people coming to us all the time because they see us as an important part of their research.”