The University library system is considering moving the undergraduate Harper reserves to the Regenstein Library. To help evaluate the benefits of such a change, David Larsen, the head of access services in the Regenstein Library, sent an e-mail to all College students and faculty. Depending upon community approval, the Harper reserves materials will be relocated during the summer quarter.
Out of the approximately 3,800 e-mails sent out on the issue, 300 students have replied thus far, the majority of which favor the changes. The library has also received general comments that measure community approval with regards to the library system as a whole. It's a good way for students to voice all concerns, Larsen said.
Currently all of the humanities and social science course reserves books are shelved in Harper. However, undergraduate courses in art and music have had books available on the Regenstein reserves, with the exception of four 100-level courses. Other similar materials have also been shifted from library to library, causing an overlap of materials on both reservess. This overlap caused students confusion as to which library reserves has which books.
"Many things move back and forth all quarter, and there's a fair amount of overlap, so there's a lot of shifting. Students are finding that even if their course books belong to Harper, their reserve books are at the Regenstein," Larsen said.
In addition to the confusion that separate reserves causes, many students have responded in favor of the Regenstein reserves because of the centrality of the library on campus and its easy access on the bus routes. Many students argue that their lives revolve around the Regenstein, so the relocation of Harper reserves would be most convenient. In his e-mail to students, Larsen pointed out, It seems likely that the opening of the Max Palevsky dormitory and the creation of an all-night study space in the Regenstein will only increase the use of Regenstein by students in the College.
Faculty members have also received the news favorably. Even with the current reserve categories, many professors have chosen to place their materials on reserves at the Regenstein in order to expose their undergraduate students to the research library.
Larsen believes that the union of the Harper and Regenstein reserves will greatly improve service to students. "It's not a question of money, but of service. We have heard some frustration about people having similar books in both areas," Larsen said.
There will be no policy changes regarding the reserves. The Regenstein reserves will be open only while the circulation desk is in service. Faculty will continue to be able to select whether to put the books on two-hour or 24-hour reserves. The Crerar Library will keep its own reserves, and Harper will continue all other services other than the reserves.
The University libraries are continuing to work on making most reserves materials available electronically so that access can be gained from any location. Physical reserves will always exist, however, because copyright laws prohibit the library from scanning in certain materials electronically.
If approved by the community, the reserves will be merged by the upcoming summer quarter in order to try the new system on a smaller basis. "The library is willing to move forward if the students agree. Some concerns arose in a minority of students, but overall, people are in favor of the plan," Larsen said.