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May 1, 2014
Could we have improved Wifi signal, particularly on the north and northwest side of the 5th floor (which renders a large area unusable) and the northeast side of the 4th floor?

Thanks for letting us know about this problem. I've passed the info on to IT and asked them to look into solutions. When we know what might be possible, we'll post some follow up details.

Answered by Sarah Johnston, Systems & Web Services Librarian


April 7, 2014
Why are so many online reference articles not available? Particularly for Oxford and Credo reference material?

We've had several reports of problems accessing Oxford and Credo books over the last few days. We are working with the companies involved and hope to have this resolved soon. We apologize for the inconvenience, and encourage you to contact the research desk (library@stolaf.edu / x3452) for assistance in locating the materials you need.

Answered by Sarah Johnston, Systems & Web Services Librarian


March 13, 2014
Have you ever considered allowing reservations on the study rooms in the library? Or requiring them to be used by groups of 2 or more? Some nights they are all busy and it would be nice if priority could be given to those who need a place to work together without disturbing everyone else.

Yes, we've heard that finding available study rooms is often frustrating. Our long-term goal is to create more study rooms within the library. In the meantime, we are looking into ways to implement a paper-based or electronic reservation system. At present, we do ask that the rooms be used only by groups of two or more. In other words, single individuals should not occupy these spaces as they are intended solely for group work. There should be signs on each door stating this, but some may have been removed. I'll check to make sure that this signage is still prominently posted on each study room door.

Answered by Natalie Wall, Head of Access Services


February 27, 2014
Why doesn't the library have copies of the textbooks I'm using for my classes?

We took your question to Mary Barbosa-Jerez, the Head of Collection Development for the St. Olaf College Libraries. Here's what she said:

This is a really good question! Students often ask whether their textbooks are available in the library collections. The answer is no. The library does invest in many books and other materials that may be assigned for your classes that are not textbooks. For example, you are very likely to find a copy of the novel your literature class is reading in the library. You may even find books your class is reading by famous philosophers, economists and historians.

Textbooks, however, are a different story.

Textbooks (those books with titles like Microbiology: An Introduction, and Neue Horizonte: Introductory German) are usually updated each year, and are used by specific classes for a relatively short period of time. After that, they become obsolete (that's part of the reason that their value drops so much between the time you buy them and the time you try to resell them at the end of the semester). College and university libraries have a core mission to support ongoing research at their institutions, and textbooks don't fit that criteria. Libraries also have limited budgets. You can imagine, then, that filling our libraries with textbooks that will soon be out of date isn't the best investment for St. Olaf's academic community.

Instead we invest in lasting research books (usually published by university and other very reputable presses), in academic journals (like the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology and the Journal of Philosophical Logic), in online indexing and abstracting tools to guide you to the best resources (like Psychological Abstracts, Philosopher's Index, Index Chemicus and ProQuest Research Library), streaming audio and video collections, and digital archives of primary source materials (like Early English Books Online, First World War and Foreign Broadcast Information Service). In other words, by spending wisely, St. Olaf's Libraries are able to buy collections worth many thousands of dollars -- collections that would be impossible for a single individual to purchase on their own -- and then make them available to students and faculty in our academic community.

For better or for worse, buying textbooks (and sometimes, just buying books used in your classes) is part of the cost students must expect to assume as part of paying for their education. However, you can be assured that the St. Olaf Bookstore works to bring you the best prices possible on your textbooks. You should also know that St. Olaf is relatively unique: bookstore profits do not go to an outside entity like they do at most colleges and universities. Instead, those dollars are returned to the students in the form of reduced fees and costs. Furthermore, the bookstore management is working on ways to further lower the cost of your textbooks by offering options like textbook rental. You can find out more about those programs by checking out the bookstore's website here: http://www.stolafbookstore.com/SiteText.aspx?id=3676

We hope this helps answer your question. If not, Mary said she's be happy to talk more with you about it. In any case, we encourage you take some time to explore the really amazing collections that the St. Olaf Libraries offer its students and faculty. And remember, reference librarians are always available to help you navigate these resources!

Answered by Jeanie Owens, Cataloging & Serials Associate


February 27, 2014
Is it okay to use the Carleton library? Can I check out books there with my St. Olaf ID card?

Yes to both questions and we encourage you to use the Gould Library. Their hours may be different than ours, keep that in mind.

Answered by Jeanie Owens, Cataloging & Serials Associate


February 27, 2014
Why isn't my password for my Bridge account working?

There are two possible reasons why this could be happening: 1. You have gotten a new St. Olaf ID card and your new ID number has not yet gotten into the library system. It can take a couple of days for the library system to get updated. 2. You have a unusual character in your password which the library's authentication system doesn't recognize. Unfortunately, this can happen if you have anything other than a letter or number in your password. Symbols such as $, #, *, !, etc. can confuse the library system. We've found that if the individual changes his/her password to something strictly alpha-numeric, then they can usually log in. Please e-mail me directly if the problem persists.

Answered by Natalie Wall, Head of Access Services


February 18, 2014
I can't find a link on the main library page or at any of the tabs explaining how to get off-campus access to digital library resources (journals).

Great question! All of our e-resources have a special code attached to them which will prompt you for your St. Olaf username and password when you are off-campus. You can then proceed to use them as you normally would on campus. So for e-journals, look them up in Bridge and use the "click for St. Olaf access" link, log in, and proceed as you usually do.

Answered by Sarah Johnston, Systems & Web Services Librarian


January 11, 2014
I miss the easy access to the research portal on the homepage. I think this helps students get to course research pages and the general information on research that they need. I also think to remove it/relocate it mid-year on the homepage makes it difficult for students (and faculty).

By the "research portal" I assume you mean the research guides that our reference and instruction librarians create. They are still easily accessible from the homepage under the "Research Guides" tab (within the "Research" box). We decided to remove the other button ("Start Here for Research") for two reasons:
- our usage statistics showed it had low use compared to the other links on our homepage
- it was duplicated by the "Research Guides" tab
We are currently working on ways to highlight and integrate the library research guides with the rest of the library site to improve their discovery and use. We welcome any additional ideas or feedback about how we can do this!

Answered by Sarah Johnston, Systems & Web Services Librarian


December 20, 2013
Why isn't Rolvaag open on Sunday mornings?

We've heard many requests that we open earlier on Sundays. The College administration has decided that the library should remain closed on Sunday mornings out of respect to our tradition as a college of the church.


December 20, 2013
Why are there so few outlets in the library? I can never find a place to plug in my laptop.

Many have brought up the scarcity of outlets in the library. And it's true, much of the building was constructed long before the need for every student to have easy access to power. But rest assured, as we move forward in our library space planning, outlets will be a top priority.


December 20, 2013
I find it hard to locate a quiet spot to study in the library.

We've heard from students expressing some frustration about the noise level in "Super-Quiet Study Zones". We sense that this becomes an even greater issue at the end of each semester when students are under more pressure. There are several ways we hope to alleviate this problem: While we have designated certain floors as "Super-Quiet Study Zones," we believe that these areas are not as well marked as they could be. Currently, these zones are on Levels 2, 3 1/2, and 5. We intend to create more signage to make such designations clear to all users. We believe that the best way to address noise concerns is to respectfully ask others to lower their voices, but we acknowledge that this is not always possible or easy to do. If any student encounters a persistent problem with the noise level, we encourage him/her to come talk with the staff at either the Reference or Circulation Desks.


December 20, 2013
Where are all the white boards?

You're absolutely right, we need more white boards dispersed throughout Rolvaag, and we're working on procuring some.


December 20, 2013
What is that clanking noise in the Reference Room?

We've been aware of this noise for a long, long time, and we sympathize! Alas, we've been told that the noisy radiators can't be silenced without drastic measures of ripping out walls in the reference room. We hope that this annoying problem will be fixed when we undergo a vast renovation of Rolvaag, hopefully in the near future.


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