SGA secures extra copies of popular reserve books

by Beacon Staff • October 15, 2008

Hark, my kingdom for a book?

Students seeking in-demand tomes for popular classes will soon see their reserved study-material doubled.

Thanks to an agreement made last week between the Student Government Association and Iwasaki Library Director Robert Fleming, a second copy of all textbooks worth over $50 required for classes with 45 students or more at the reserve desk in an attempt to lessen the financial burden on students while allowing access to their course materials.

Prior to the deal, students with library fees more than $10 were allowed to use the books on reserve once, but had to meet with a circulation manager before continuing to use the library's resources.

Students will still be required to meet with the manager to outline how and when the fees will be paid, and will be able to use the reserve desk after the meeting has taken place, according to an e-mail from Fleming.

When SGA President Scott Fisher met with Fleming in late September, he had been hoping to change the policy to allow students with late fees over the $10 limit full access to the reserve desk.

"The reserve desk of Emerson College's Iwasaki Library may not withhold textbooks or academic materials from an Emerson student due to outstanding library fines or penalties acquired by the student as along as the borrowed materials remain in the library," according to a copy of the SGA's official proposal.

Fleming wrote in the e-mail message he did not feel Fisher's proposed change in policy would be fair to students who do return their books on time.

"I explained that students had both rights and responsibilities when it comes to using library resources, and that that the library's fine system was designed to ensure that all students had equal access to the library's collection, a limited resource that is in high demand."

The funds for the second copies of the selected reserve books came from the library's book budget, Fleming wrote. Students are fined $.25 per day a book is late, not including days when the library is closed. The maximum overdue charge for a single book is $15.

He said the new policy would be reviewed at the end of the semester to assess its effectiveness.

Fisher said he was satisfied with the compromise.

"As long as [the students] take responsibility and have a conversation with the manager, they will be able to get the books with no problem," Fisher said.

Junior Stephen Kamhi said he thinks the addition of reserve books is great for the library and students.

"For a lot of bigger seminar classes, it's not worth it to buy the books, so you have to use the reserve desk for the readings," the film major said. "With only one copy, you end up having to go in a couple days ahead, or at really odd times."