Aug 09, 2020

Library may require ID card for access

The GradesFirst system would use swipes of student ID cards to find
what services are being utilized at the library, and which ones are
effective. David Tyckoson said that the 2.6 percent of the non-Fresno
State community who use the library would still be welcome.
Brandon Ocegueda / The Collegian

As the Henry Madden Library turns three years old this month, the library administration is discussing the implementation of a new system that will impact the Fresno community as a whole.

Peter McDonald, the dean of library services, said the system essentially requires everyone using the library’s facilities to swipe his or her identification card upon entering the building.  With the swipe of a card, data can be captured and reported to the library administration for the calculation of statistics.

“It would prevent homeless people from coming in and sleeping and stinking up the basement,” said student assistant Lyndsay Garner.

McDonald said Fresno State is looking into a system called GradesFirst.

The number of mandates is growing that require faculty to be more active in finding out exactly what services are being utilized in the library and how often.  In response to these mandates, Fresno State administrators believe GradesFirst may be the answer to determining which services are most effective for students.

While the system does seem as though it would serve as library security, McDonald said that is not what it would be used for.  Students are hired to keep the library secure.

“These students are titled public safety assistants and they are trained to patrol the library every hour it’s open,” McDonald said. “These students primarily focus on enforcing library food and noise policies, inhibiting theft, and keeping the building clean.  In no way are they supposed to keep anyone from coming into the library.”

Henry Madden Library is the largest research library in the Central Valley serving 1.3 million people in 2011 as stated by David Tyckoson, associate dean of library services at Fresno State.  McDonald said Madden library is there for all members of the community to utilize, not just those associated with Fresno State.

“We want to be as open as possible,” Tyckoson said.

Tyckoson estimated that about 2 percent of the library’s constituency was made up of community members not affiliated with Fresno State.  Both Tyckoson and McDonald agreed that 2 percent will remain welcomed into the library whether GradesFirst happens or not.

Garner said she felt as though the new system may likely inhibit those people from coming to campus and using the library:  “The whole point is for it to be a community library,” she said.

Neither McDonald nor Tyckoson saw a need for added security in the library.  The two said the amount of crime that has occurred since the library’s opening in 2009 is very minimal.  Tyckoson said this is a tribute to the campus community.

“The vast majority of any issues we’ve had have involved non-Fresno State students,” Tyckoson said.

Garner said the system may add more hassle for the workers in the library having to deal with guest passes and students forgetting their ID cards, which she says happens quite often.  She said she did not think other students would like the system.

Jennifer Elder, a sophomore math major, said she would be willing to listen to administration’s plans for the GradesFirst system, especially if it helped with budgeting.

“I don’t want it to affect the tuition I’m already paying,” Elder said.  “But it could pay for itself if used properly.”

McDonald said he wasn’t certain what the cost of licensing for the GradesFirst system would be, but it wouldn’t be cheap.  He said it may be a key reason why the library doesn’t already have the system or why any future implementation setbacks may occur.

If plans continue forward, Fresno State may in fact be the first of the California State Universities to purchase such a system.

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