By Thara Babineau
Once upon a time, libraries had little more to offer than books, but over time, they’ve added to their story. While most libraries still feature plenty of paperbacks and utilize the Dewey Decimal System, many have expanded their offerings to cater to today’s tech savvy knowledge seekers too, with services and tools beyond that of books alone. Cape Cod Community College’s (4Cs) Wilkens Library is a prime example of a multifunctional library where books are only the beginning.
“We have a lot for research and study,” said Sue Henken, a reference librarian at Wilkens Library. “Our computers have access to research databases, we have quiet areas on the upper levels for study, as well as private study rooms on the lower level.”
The main floor of the library has an open computer lab with 29 desktop computers. Each is equipped with internet access, printing accessibility, a word processor, access to the library holdings database, as well as access to other digital libraries, including those with academic or scholarly journals.
“[For] a lot of students, the main thing that they come to the library for is to use the computers, to type things out, [and] to print things out,” said Cristina Vazquez, the Wilkens Library circulation desk assistant. “I can help students with any tech issues they have with the library computers, printers, or photocopier.”
Except for a handful of marked computers that are set apart from the rest, all the computers on the first floor are paired to nearby laser printers, giving students an alternative to printing from home, at no charge for the first 100 pages. On that same floor there is a photocopier, which takes bills and change charging 10 cents a page. While printing or photocopying at the library is preferable for many, when it comes to lengthier tasks, such as online research, students may prefer to do that from home.
“For research, students can access the databases from home too, if they have a barcode on the back of their student ID,” said Vazquez.
Those who obtained their ID from the Office of Student Life will need to bring their ID to the library circulation desk (the front desk), located on the first floor, to get a barcode. ID cards are also produced at the Wilkens Library from 4:00p.m.-9:00p.m. Monday through Thursday during the regular semester, and students can be issued barcodes at those times. Students that login to the library computers with their My4Cs login information do not need the barcode to access the databases.
While it is great that Wilkens Library offers access to more than books, they remain an important part of the library’s purpose.
“I work 3:00p.m. until 8:00p.m., so I don’t see as many books checked out as those who work the day shift, but on average anywhere from five to ten books are checked out during my night shift,” said Vazquez.
Day or night, books are constantly going in and out of the Wilkens Library, and this system is maintained by the reference librarians, including Tim Gerolami, Coordinator of Public Services at Wilkens Library.
“Books that circulate, [all of the books on the second and third floors,] can be checked out of the library for three weeks, and can be renewed two times,” said Gerolami.
The circulation desk is also where the reserve books are found.
“Books on reserve are used only in the library, and can be checked out for two hours,” said Gerolami. “Most are put on reserve by the faculty, though a few are put on reserve by librarians if we know that many students in the same class would want to use a book.”
Around the corner from the circulation desk is the reference office, under the big, blue “ASK HERE” sign, where students can find a library employee to assist them with research, should they require it. There are several tables and couches on the first floor, which provide a great spot for students to use their laptop computers. Those who bring their laptops or tablets to the library can log on to 4Cs WIFI to gain access to internet and library databases.
The upper levels of the library are designated for quiet study, with individual desks, as well as large tables for group seating. The ground level of the library is where students can find three private study rooms, each with a table, chairs, and a computer. Students can sign up in the reference office to use these rooms.
“To use the private study rooms, [library staff] prefer that they are used by a group of students, otherwise we might ask a student who is by themselves to go to the 2nd or 3rd floor,” said Vazquez
The lower level also has a seating area, a classroom, and the Nickerson Archive, where Monday through Friday between 1:00p.m.-5:00p.m., visitors can explore a collection of over 10,000 items from the 17th century to the present that reflect on the history and development of Cape Cod.
To obtain more information about what is offered at Wilkens Library, and to get up to date library hours and offerings, simply visit http://www.capecod.edu/web/library.