Library hosts an open house to inform growing number of visitors

Students attended the Library Open House to learn about its resources. (Diego Vargas/The Collegian)

The Fresno State Library hosted an open house on Sept. 8 showcasing its many resources while accommodating an increasing number of visitors.

 Despite fencing impacting the entrance to the library due to the Central Utility Plant Replacement (CUPR) Project and a heatwave motivating administration to enable a recent move to online classes, the library has seen a notable increase in visitors this semester. 

On Sept. 2, the library announced on Twitter that it had welcomed 38,738 people inside during the first week of classes, an increase of 17% from the previous year. On the first day of instruction, 93 books, 308 tech items and 401 Access Service items were checked out, and 8,831 people entered the doors, according to the library.

“Students were coming in asking for help. Sometimes it was just directions. Maybe they needed to get to a class. They were asking for help with a million different questions, and when they come to our main service point, they can give you the answers,” said Del Hornbuckle, dean of library services. “This is also the one place on campus that anyone can come to until midnight, you can come in and get help with something, so you can’t beat that.” 

The event served to showcase the library’s other available resources for new and returning students and featured a meet and greet with Hornbuckle.

Students who attended received a free copy of Adrienne Keene’s book, “Notable Native People,” and were encouraged to visit other tables that featured library resources. 

Christine Evans, who works for the Digital Services Division for the library, shared that the 2021-22 headcount was 443,606. In comparison, from Jan. 1 to Sep. 8 of this year, the headcount was up to 629,902. Prior to the pandemic, however, the headcount for 2019-2020 was 1,053,295.

“I think students really missed us,” said Tammy Lau, head of the Special Collections Research Center. “They realize there’s a sense of community here, and there’s a value in being here together in a safe, welcoming space.”

The CUPR Project on campus also led to many buildings having uncomfortable temperature conditions. The library has been one of the few buildings that was unaffected by the construction, according to Hornbuckle.

“We’ve all been a little nervous about that, [but] thankfully nothing has happened. Of course we are prepared if there are rolling blackouts or power outages, but we’ve had cool air so far,” Hornbuckle said.

The open house also gave students an opportunity to look at upcoming projects the library has planned for the semester. One exhibit about banned books titled, “Banned! Books Under Fire” encouraged students to engage with materials that have been challenged in the past, and will examine the issues of censorship in America. The exhibit, which is sponsored by the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, will be available to students on the third floor of the library in the Pete P. Peters Balcony Gallery from Sept. 19 to Oct. 12.

Students, staff and alumni interested in more information about the library’s services and upcoming events can visit the website at library.fresnostate.edu.

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