Loyola Students Use Library and IC As Study Space, Rather Than Resource for Materials

Maia Luem | The PhoenixA sign in Cudahy Library explains where resources are located throughout the libraries' floors.

When was the last time you checked out a book from Loyola’s library? For some this might be a frequent practice. Others, such as Shay Kahn, haven’t grabbed a book off the shelves since taking the university’s introduction course — UNIV 101 — as a first-year. 

While Loyola’s library has a vast amount of material — about 561,880 books — some students said they rely on outside resources instead of checking out items from the libraries.

Leslie Owen | The Phoenix

According to Chris Martin, head of access services, 5,035 materials have been physically checked out from the Elizabeth M. Cudahy Memorial Library and the Information Commons (IC) this semester by undergraduate, graduate – which is 18,194 students – and faculty or staff members. Materials include books, films and CD’s. The library had 17,451 materials checked out during the fall 2019 semester. 

This year, the university has 18,194 undergraduate and graduate students.

Leslie Owen | The Phoenix

The IC was designed to be a study hub, which many students take advantage of. It has roughly 2,300-2,400 visitors per day, with about 200-300 students utilizing study rooms, according to Martin. He also said Cudahy library has about 650-700 visitors per day, 50-100 of which use the study spaces. 

Leslie Owen | The Phoenix

Kahn, a junior studying criminology, said she mostly utilizes the IC and Cudahy as a study space, and not necessarily as a resource to check out materials. Despite this, she said she often uses the library’s online services for research materials for her classes. 

She said she enjoys reading, but is mostly buying textbooks for her classes this semester instead of checking out books for personal reading. Though, Kahn said she does think adding more light reading books to the library’s collection would be beneficial.

“I feel like it could help students generally a lot because there are students who like taking advantage of having a library right at school and checking books out,” Kahn said. 

Although, it appears the library does have a wide collection of novels. When searching for fiction materials online, 1,208 results come up in categories of love, mystery, short stories and English fiction, though some of these titles include nonfiction books about fiction topics. 

Martin said Cudahy’s Popular Reading Collection is located in the IC with a total of 774 books. These books range from cookbooks, graphic novels, young adult literature and “coffee table books.” While the Popular Collection appears bleak, with a mere two shelves full of novels, Martin emphasized some books are checked out or waiting to be reshelved. 

Maia Luem | The Phoenix 774 books reside in Loyola’s Popular Reading section.

Tracy Ruppman, Loyola’s research and learning librarian, said fiction books can also be found in Cudahy’s Main Stacks as well as the Lewis Main Stacks on Water Tower Campus, which has 739 Popular Collection books. 

Martin said they’re not aware of any personal critiques on the library’s collection but are always open for suggestions. Ruppman said she welcomes students to make purchase suggestions, particularly in Young Adult and Popular Reading genres to help the library understand what students want. Additionally, students needing assistance finding materials or checking out are encouraged to ask the librarian at Cudahy’s front desk.

From these numbers, the library has a wide collection of novels, but some students said they don’t know where to find these books or how to check them out. 

Adam Schkolnik, a first-year studying computer science, said he would like the IC to be a mix of study spaces and book rentals. 

“Maybe if they had books over here (in the IC) or more variety I might check something out,” Schkolnik, 18, said. 

He said that when he wants to read something, he typically just buys it from Amazon or checks it out from his local public library.

Along with Schkolnik, Emma Fowler, a first-year studying creative writing, said she likes how the IC and Cudahy are set up to be a study space, and uses them everyday.

Although, she wishes it was easier to check out materials. She said she looks for signs on how to, but hasn’t found any yet. 

“I’ve been wanting to though. I go to the library sometimes and I look at their books or the DVDs they have, it’s really cool,” Fowler said. 

Fowler said instead she got a Chicago Public Library (CPL) card this semester to check out her personal reading materials, while she uses the Loyola online resources for class study materials. Ideally, Fowler would like to utilize Loyola’s library for recreational reading more than CPL.

“It’s so accessible, and it’s so close. It’d be a lot easier to get books here than the library down the road,” Fowler said. 

The closest CPL library to campus is the Edgewater Branch, located off Broadway and the Rogers Park Branch N. Clark Street.

Students, faculty and staff can also access Loyola’s library material online through the library website or go to the library in person to check materials out. According to the library website, students can check out up to 500 materials at a time with the ability to renew materials online.

Undergraduate students can keep books checked out for six weeks and films for five days. 

Maia Luem | The Phoenix Some students said they use Loyola’s libraries for studying more than they use them to check out materials.
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