New library changes permanent

April 16, 2008 — by Allen Liu and Alex Song

This story first appeared in the March 21 issue of The Saratoga Falcon.

156 seats, 156 students.

That’s one of several rules library staff have begun vigorously enforcing this semester, leading to some students being barred from the library during busy Monday and Friday tutorials and feeling angry.
Audio video technician Gordon Blancett defends the rules as needed and recalled the library’s previous chaotic state that prompted the changes.

“It basically just turned into a zoo for [the library staff],” he said. “We wound up with a ton of problems: the noise level was really loud, students couldn’t sit and study, and we felt that some students would be afraid of coming into the library. We didn’t want it to be an environment where they couldn’t be comfortable. Student behavior led to enforcing the rules.”

Currently, the 156 limit is based on the number of chairs available. The capacity must be limited in case of an emergency, so that students can easily evacuate the building, he said. Students are no longer being allowed to sit on the ground.

“If the fire marshal were to come in and see students standing around, sitting on the ground, we could be cited for it as a school,” said Blancett. “It could lead to violations and fines, and we don’t want that.”

Although the library seems drastically changed to some students, Blancett said the same rules were always present, just that students were not aware and the rules were not enforced as strictly.

“We decided to put the rules down in print, make everyone aware of them and start enforcing them,” said Blancett. “The rules have always been here.”

The newly enforced rules have angered some students.

“The library is supposed to be a place where you can be with friends and work, not a place with someone constantly looking over your shoulder,” said sophomore Dale Everett.

Other students do not agree with the decision, but still feel like the rules should be followed.

“I don’t think there should be a quota for a number of people in the library, but I guess everyone should respect the judgments of the librarians,” said senior Michael Song.

Nevertheless, the library will continue its strict adherence to the rules and attempt to increase awareness surrounding the changes. The library staff are planning handouts that will be passed out to incoming freshmen, emphasizing the rules and requiring a parent signature, much like the current technology agreements.

“Until people get to the point where if they want to socialize they go outside, and if they want to get work done they come inside, it’s just going to have to be this way,” said Blancett.