Lauinger Library’s media equipment, currently located in the Gelardin New Media Center on the first floor of Lau, will relocate to the third-floor circulation desk in January 2020 to centralize the library’s resources and make the equipment more accessible, the library announced Nov. 14.
Faculty, students and staff can rent electronic equipment including cameras, audio recorders, Chromebooks and iPads from Gelardin. Georgetown community members checked out the media equipment a total of 19,500 times between July 2018 and June 2019, according to Beth Marhanka, head of Gelardin and the Maker Hub.
Gelardin, which first opened in 2001, serves as the main resource for university members to use multimedia resources. Gelardin staff members are trained to help users choose equipment for various digital media projects and provide services like individual project consultations and workshops.
The equipment’s move to the third-floor circulation desk will streamline the process of utilizing resources for the campus community, Marhanka wrote in an email to The Hoya.
“The goal of moving the circulation of media equipment to the 3rd floor is to improve our users’ experience by enabling them to check out all Library items from a single circulation point on the entry-level and allowing patrons to access media equipment checkouts/returns for an additional 30 hours per week,” Marhanka wrote.
As a result of the move to the circulation desk, the media equipment will now be managed by the access services department of the library instead of Gelardin’s staff, according to Marhanka. The department manages material circulation like borrowing books within Georgetown University and the Washington Research Library Consortium, a partnership between nine universities in the Washington, D.C. area to improve students’ access to resources.
Lau is training circulation desk staff to ensure they will be able to consult access services employees about the media equipment once the move happens, according to the library’s announcement regarding the move.
“Library staff members are currently training across departments in order to provide the best support possible for this change,” the library wrote in the Nov. 14 announcement. “Gelardin staff will continue to be available for instruction and consultation on the media equipment.”
Gelardin is open 66.5 hours per week, while the circulation desk is open 99.5 hours per week, according to the library’s fall 2019 schedule.
The relocation will free up members of the Gelardin media team to focus on helping students with media production using specialized software like Adobe Creative Suite and on expanding virtual reality programs in the center, according to Marhanka.
“We have several VR systems you can use to explore immersive apps where you can paint on a 360-degree canvas, travel anywhere in the world and feel like you are really in that location, or even experience the impact of climate change on the ocean floor,” Marhanka wrote. “Our whole philosophy is that when you give powerful tools to creative, smart people, the possibilities are endless.”
After using Gelardin’s services for personal projects, Marlee Turner (NHS ’20) began working at Gelardin’s first-floor equipment desk this semester to be a resource for others, she said.
“Personally I had started working here because I really liked the Gelardin New Media Center,” Turner said in an interview with The Hoya. “I liked to come down here and have these people here as a resource for using the equipment.”
While library staff in Gelardin began planning for the equipment’s move last summer, Turner said she was unsure why the library was proceeding with the move. Gelardin’s technology loan system has not been integrated into the circulation desk in the past because the center involves specialized equipment, according to Turner.
“I think it’s separate because these people really know how to use the equipment and they specialize in it,” Turner said. “When it’s upstairs it will be combined with normal library and I think it will be a harder transition. It’s kind of missing out a good part of the first floor because these people are here and they will help you and it’s kind of just like a creative space.”
The Gelardin team is devoting time to training staff rather than making final decisions about how to use the vacated space, according to Marhanka.
“We’re still discussing what to do with the space being vacated when the equipment goes upstairs,” Marhanka wrote. “During the Spring 2020 semester we’ll be looking into all the options. Right now our focus is on training our student employees and making sure our users know about the upcoming changes.”