Student dollars help library

For students feverishly searching through the library’s catalogue the night before a paper’s due, the Students’ Union’s library endowment fee has helped, giving them more options during its 10 years in operation.

The money, totaling $84,381, was handed over by SU vice-president academic Meg Martin in a small ceremony Thursday, June 4 and has been used to fund numerous projects to help undergraduates complete schoolwork, including ebook services and citation-assistance programs.

“A couple of really neat projects have come from [the fee],” explains Martin. “Ebrary came out of that fund [as well as] Refworks, a citation system that you can use to export citations into a word document, and they do tutorials on it as well.”

The endowment, in its 10th year of operation, is funded through student fees — $5 a semester for full-time students and $3 a semester for part-timers. Vice-provost library and cultural resources Thomas Hickerson said the fund was something he has only experienced at the University of Calgary.

“For me, the kind of relationship that the library and the Students’ Union have here is something that I’m not familiar with anywhere else in North America,” he said.

Hickerson then explained that over the 10 years the fund has doled out over $1.1 million. Furthermore, it has contributed to the purchase of 24,469 books and extended service hours during peak times — the end of the semester and final exams — by 11,259 hours.

“It also allows the library to run 24/7 during exam periods, which is pretty unique,” said Hickerson. “I believe that the University of Calgary has the longest period of time that it stay open 24/7, or at least one of the longest, in Canada.”

Because the money is allocated by the SU’s library fee committee, Hickerson said that undergrads are empowered to make choices about the library — an essential service for students during their degree.

“It gives undergraduate students a sense that they actually have influence,” he explained. “It’s a great co-operation that allows us to have a connection with the new Students’ Union government and that’s a very positive thing.”

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