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    Periodicals Reading Room Opens
    by Reba Leiding, Technical & Scientific Communication Librarian

    Current journals and newspapers are now available in open stacks within a newly renovated reading room adjacent to the Reference area on Carrier Library’s main floor.  Besides being able to browse current issues in the Periodicals Room, students will find lounge seating with comfortable upholstered couches and chairs, and study tables.  The room also contains a photocopier, so students can copy articles without removing issues from the room.  

    Funding for the renovated Periodicals Room was provided by donations from the Classes of 1951 and 2001.  These two classes combined their fundraising forces and earmarked funds to renovate space vacated when the County Law Library moved to its new home in the Massanutten Regional Library in downtown Harrisonburg.

    The move to open journal stacks is in line with the Library’s strategic goals of empowering users and providing an optimal research environment.  With the transition, JMU joins the trend of most academic libraries in providing open access to current journals.  The new periodicals room “encourages both students and faculty to browse,” says David Ehrenpreis, Assistant Professor in Art and Art History.  “But even more importantly, this change signals a shift in attitude.  Journals are not just study aids to be checked out in order to complete assignments. The new reading room encourages everyone on campus to take part in relaxed, informal learning, and that's just what a college library should do.”  

    As in the past, faculty and staff will still be able to check out issues for one day.  The library is still conducting its use statistics study, which means users are asked not to re-shelve issues so staff can keep a count.  

    Student assistants will be added at the Public Services Desk to keep up with re-shelving and maintenance.  “We have no idea yet what the amount of use will be,” said Judi Breeden, Carrier Library Circulation Manager.  “We hope that users will cooperate and leave journals within the room and not damage issues.” 

    In addition to increasing student access to journals, open stacks allow the library to save on the expense of staffing a second service desk on the second floor.   The library’s microform collection has moved into the space previously occupied by the closed periodicals collection.  The new Microforms room has lowered lighting to facilitate viewing on the microform readers.  Staff and student workers will be available in the Microforms room during peak times for assistance.  Additional study seating now fills the space on the second floor opened by relocating Microforms.  Closed Reserves, formerly housed at the service desk on the second floor, are now located at the Public Services Desk.

     

    E-mail comments and questions to:
    leidinrm@jmu.edu

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