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Purchase's Limited Library

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

By Tyler Thomspon

Photo by Tyler Thompson

COVID-19 has caused many on-campus facilities and services to be drastically changed, often to the inconvenience of the students who rely on them.

Some students in majors, like photography, have said they’ve struggled to get resources they need from the library, especially this semester.

Mustafa Sakarya, the library director, spoke about the lack of resources for the photography major, but he said that it is all majors being affected. Because of COVID-19 the whole school, including the library, was negatively affected and the budget drastically decreased.

“Now, what happened with COVID is it got exacerbated,” said Sakarya. “In other words, it got intensified.”

With this happening the library is limited to what and how much they can get to benefit the students.

Sakarya also said that the decline in enrollment was a major reason in the budget cut.

“The main reason that our budgets have been impacted is because the enrollment decline,” he said. “So that is the main reason which has been announced and will continue to be.”

However, Sakarya has a plan that he has been following for the past three years. With the budget, he has been acquitting mandatory resources for students from all majors and also getting extra books and resources to help students succeed.

He said, “After all that has been paid for, it [money] doesn't leave much at all.”

Sakarya puts the leftover money into the general collection, which is used to buy more resources for students to use at the library.

“The good news is that we are continuing to buy for general collection development but in more specific and focused ways,” he said. “For example, the art program which includes photography, art and design.”

Purchase is a primary library in the SUNY school system. This means that other schools borrow books from Purchase, so they have to keep books up to date. The way the school does that is by receiving grants and donations from outside sources that then are put into library resources for Purchase and the other schools that need to borrow.

This semester many students have complained about the library hours. Right now, the library is open Monday through Thursday 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m.- 11 p.m. Many students find these abbreviated hours very inconvenient.

Photo by Tyler Thompson

For many students, like June O’Brien and Emma Jakubik, being in class for most of the day means they don’t have time to access the library during their busy school weeks.

O’Brien, a photography major, said, “I haven’t been to the library since coming to campus because it’s only open during the time I’m in class.”

Jakubik said students who can’t go to the library can still have access to the books and other resources through the online library. Kim Detterbeck, the library’s art librarian, came to one of her classes and taught them how to use the online library, which includes accessing the library’s virtual databases.

“The way you go about it is, you go to the Purchase website and you look up the library,” she explained. “Right there is a search bar. You can just type into the search bar the thing that you're interested in looking up.”

As the library continues to address decreased in-person resources and library hours, virtual library resources, such as virtual chats with librarians and the databases, will continue to be available to all Purchase students.



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