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The Scarlet & Black

Drake Library extends hours, programs following survey

Khanh Do

Drake Community Library (DCL) welcomed visitors on the first day of a new consistent, year-round schedule this past Tuesday, Sept. 5. According to an Aug. 21 press release, the library implemented the new hours in response to the results of a survey distributed to library patrons over the summer.

 DCL’s hours previously worked on an irregular and seasonal schedule. “We closed at like three different times,” said Mallory Snow, Assistant Director. “We wanted to be able to provide consistency year-round for people so that they don’t have to think about what time of year it is, when is the library open.”

 To ensure staff members would not have to work longer shifts to accommodate the new hours, Library Director Karen Neal said library leadership redivided shift hours and hired one new circulation clerk. 

 Additionally, with extended, consistent hours, the library aims to create more programming adult visitors could attend after their regular day jobs, a change highly requested by survey respondents, according to Neal.

“Our adult programming is a little slim,” Snow said. “But we’re working on it, we’ve gotten some things going.” 

  The library accommodates a large number of community organizations and initiatives as well,

which have long been unofficially utilizing extended hours. For example, Ryan Solomon, Assistant Director of Service and Social Innovation at Grinnell College, said he worked with library staff and several Grinnell students to set up and maintain DCL’s food cupboard.  

 “The only reason we were able to do that was because of the extended hours,” Solomon said. “The hours are a reflection of a recognition of the need to support beyond just making the library an access to books but an access to a range of other resources.”

 The library also offers free Wi-Fi and other digital resources like Kanopy, a streaming platform for social impact, cultural and rare films, and Freegal, a music site of over 3 million songs – users only need a library card to access these. In September, Neal said the library plans to launch another e-resource, Craft & Hobby, with access to guides and activities. 

Ali Levine `24 said they believe students are not fully utilizing what DCL already has to offer. “They have so much cool stuff – DVDs…music…the [Smithsonian] pop-up exhibits,” they said. “I was introduced to it this summer, and I’m sad I haven’t used this earlier.” 

 As of July 1, 2023, 359 Grinnell students hold a library card from DCL, Neal told the S&B in an email. 

“With the start of the new semester, we’ve had a lot of students coming in getting library cards, so that’s great,” Snow said. “We definitely do want to have … a community space that college students feel welcome to come and study, research, anything.”

Sasha Grigorovich, who currently works at both the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) and DCL, said he believes students tend to stay on campus rather than come to community spaces like the public library. 

“It’s not the most active student base,” he said of DCL. “It seems they prefer to be in Burling.”

Solomon expressed similar sentiments. “There are less students that take advantage of the Drake public library than they could,” he said. 

Solomon added when students do get involved in DCL programming, “they start to see it as a valuable resource.”

 Neal expressed hope that any newly implemented policies following the library’s survey will continue to further DCL as a safe environment for all. “One of the things that we really want to do as a library is be responsive to the community,” Neal said. “We want it to be that place for everyone, including Grinnell students.”


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About the Contributors
Natalie Ng
Natalie Ng, Staff Writer
Natalie is a first-year from Singapore who intends to major in anthropology and biology. She never suffers from jet lag because her sleep schedule is messed up in all timezones. Once, she rolled down a hill and survived.
Khanh Do
Khanh Do, Visuals Editor
Khanh Do is a first-year Computer Science intended. She calls the famous melting pot of culture and food, Hanoi city, Vietnam, home, and so, as you can guess, she is *surviving* D-hall.
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