Bailey Library to install math computer lab, create opportunity for select group
February 27, 2014
Filed under Opinion
Recently, Bailey Library revealed plans to construct a computer lab that would only be available to math majors.
In making room for all the computers this ‘math lab’ is to hold, the staff of Bailey Library have to ‘weed’ out books deemed unnecessary.
While the library was already in the course of weeding books, now they have even more purpose to do so. The goal behind weeding these books is to pull titles that haven’t been checked out in the past 10 to 15 years, and some that have never even been checked out of the library in their history.
So it seems that removing books from the library isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
However, the computers in the Math lab are planned to have mathematics-based software, and are discouraged from use for other purposes.
We think that students shouldn’t be discouraged from using these computers for uses other than math.
Computers can be frequently hard to find in the library, and in adding additional computers, they would solve that problem, but not if they’re only supposed to be used for math.
In fact, Vincent Science Center already has one Mathematics Lab specifically for majors, and another one that is also keypad locked and available specifically for their use.
While the number of math majors represents a smaller population of the campus community, the new lab in the library would be for use of students enrolled in math classes, not specifically majors.
This still seems to limit the potential of such a computer lab.
We understand the issues that traditional libraries are facing today and that their need to embrace technology is as important as ever.
We also understand that the concept of a new computer lab will draw more students to the library, which is beneficial for many reasons.
Another question we would like to consider is this: why is the university creating an opportunity for a select group of students?
Especially because several mathematics computer labs already exist for these students.
If we are adding something to a library for student use, it should benefit all students that utilize the library, not just students in upper-level mathematics courses.
More computers are always needed for student use, and a new math lab shouldn’t be hindering potential opportunities for students while favoring a select group of students on campus.
The Mathematics Center planned for Bailey Library is intended for the use of students taking mathematics classes seeking help with their course work, needing to use mathematics or statistics software or working on their online homework. Since all SRU students are required to take at least one mathematics course, most students will find this center a resource. Also anyone needing to use mathematics or statistics software (regardless if they are currently in a mathematics class) will find the center a good place to go.
The center will serve several purposes. Working with the Academic Services Department, part of the Mathematics Center will be open during library hours to serve as a mathematics help center, a place for students to gather to work on computer projects and online homework. It will also be a place for math study groups to gather and for students to meet with their math tutors.
The other part of the Mathematics Center is a 60-seat computer classroom. It will be used part of the day for classes including redesigned Basic Algebra and Intermediate Algebra classes. At other times it will serve as a supervised lab for students using mathematics or statistics software to work on projects and online homework for their mathematics courses.