Rather than complaining about Lauinger Library’s architecture, students will now be able to give more constructive feedback through the Student Library Council, an initiative started by library staff this year.
The council is open to undergraduate and graduate representatives from the four undergraduate schools, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Continuing Studies. Graduate students and undergraduates will be equally represented and will serve alongside four library staff members.
Currently, the main campus library system, which governs Lauinger, Blommer and Woodstock, receives suggestions through the Georgetown Ideas online platform, from the student representative on the Faculty Advisory Committee and individual students who approach staff members.
“[It was] very ad hoc,” Library Coordinator of Communications, Outreach and Programming Jennifer Smith said. “We wanted people to know where they could go so we can hopefully take a more proactive approach in responding to them.”
The council, which will meet once a month, will have three primary roles. Members will relay student ideas, provide feedback and address needs; serve as liaisons between the student body and the library system; and discuss effective communication on both sides.
“The agenda will be very student driven,” Smith said, adding that the council will elect a president and vice president.
The library seeks to add 20 students to the committee, which will have appointed representatives from the Georgetown University Student Association and the Graduate Student Organization. SCS is included, though it moved to a new location downtown this semester, as the school’s library is included in the main campus system. The Georgetown University Law Center has its own library, with a student advisory council that served as a model for main campus.
“The focus of the council seems to be for advocacy. Students recognize changes need to be happening,” Seamus Guerin (COL ’16), the appointee to the council, said. “There’s also more potential for programming. They cited that Club Lau is the only programming going on here.”
A mix of majors and interests will be represented in the council, whose inaugural meeting will take place Oct. 7. Applications are due Friday.
Smith said the difference between the nascent council and the Faculty Library Advisory Committee is that the latter is focused on issues related to research and the tenure track, whereas the new body will focus more on student needs and space.
Applicant Dan Silkman (COL ’15) expressed excitement over the library’s move.
“I just saw the library as being one of the places on campus where admins were really responsive, and I thought it was inspiring,” he said. “The formalization is really cool because it’s nice to take the ideas from [Georgetown Ideas], but it might not be enough to have those conversations as to how we can improve the academic life and capacity of the library.”
Silkman pointed to specific areas of improvement.
“I would prioritize study space, sort of a small breakout room, upkeep,” he said. “I think this is a great thing that the library is doing and I can only see good things coming from it.”