Suggestions and Comments
DATE: November 10, 2009
SUBJECT: Disruptions and ADA access
COMMENT:I am a junior here at Georgia Southern University and as I approach my senior semester I have found myself at the library (Henderson) even more than usual. I usually spend anywhere from 10-20 hours a week at the library. I have seen actions this semester take place at the library that I have been very unpleased with. Until the incidence tonight, I felt that I would just let these things go. I know a young man wrote in the George-Anne a few weeks ago that he felt he was at a ôdaycareö when he went to the library. I completely agree with him. I know many other students find this same problem most nights that they attend. Most of the time I try to hunt for a study room with my study group so I do not have to deal with distractions and unnecessary noises. It is also almost impossible to find a computer at night. This is very frustrating when most of the students causing these issues do not even attend Georgia Southern. I understand this is free to public use but there also has to be some regulations enforced if the problems are inhibiting other studentÆs education. I find parents dropping off teens to ôhang outö at the library. As a student who pays tuition, I think it is unfair that I canÆt access a computer because they are taken by teens/children who are playing yahoo games, MySpace/Facebook, watching movies or viewing music videos (these are just a few examples). Even If I am able to find a computer, I am usually distracted by a baby screaming and/or crying. One night I was on the second floor and a toddler was running in the walking space screaming back and forth for about 20 minutes and then finally fell down the steps and started crying which disturbed the entire library. I donÆt understand why this is not monitored and nothing is said about theses incidences yet a student with a disability was asked to leave last night. I was in the library last night (Nov. 9, 2009) on the first floor in a study room with my study group. I heard a young man making a loud screeching noise. Soon I realized he had a med!
ical condition/disability such as Tourette\'s syndrome. I am not sure of the exact condition he had because I donÆt know him personally nor have I ever met him before, but it was very obvious he was trying to stop and couldnÆt help it. His face was twitching and he was trying to walk down the aisles to stop but he was unable to do so. He went back to his computer where he was working on math homework. After about 5-10 minutes the librarian came down and asked him if he was okay. He shook his head yes. She then left and he continued to work on his math homework/assignment. He was still making these uncontrollable noises. Shortly after the librarian, 2 officers came up to him and asked him to get his things and escorted him out.This is when my heart dropped and I felt terrible for him. He had to be so embarrassed because at this point everyone was looking, laughing, and making comments. I understand that I don\'t know the entire situation but this is what I saw and heard from my viewpoint. I just didnÆt understand how the library staff allows people to have noisy children and teens just ôhanging outö, yet a young man with a medical condition is asked to leave. I know that the library cannot allow people to disturb others but I thought this situation should have been handled differently.I think they should consider including a place for students with disabilities to go and make them aware of this place. They should also include a room for kids and children because this problem has become out of hand and needs to be addressed. Parents are even allowing their children to print from computers which are using paper from our tech fees.I hope that making you all aware of the issues taking place in Henderson library will allow you to make necessary improvements to enhance our education.
Thank you for your comments about library services. The library administration is aware children can cause disruption. However, a number of Georgia Southern students have children, and it is not always possible to find a baby sitter. In an effort to address this situation, we have set aside a family area on second floor that is under supervision by Access Services personnel. Signs on the first floor direct families to that area. If you are in another area of the library where children or families are causing disruption, please report the problem to the Access Services Desk on second floor where books, headphones, etc. are checked out. If library personnel do not address the problem to your satisfaction, ask to speak to the library faculty member on duty. If that person is not available, please ask for the name and contact information for the person's supervisor, and contact that person via e-mail or phone. If you are not satisfied with the response, please contact me or Dean Mitchell.
The university is in the process of implementing a system that requires anyone using campus computers to provide a user name and password to use a computer. The library will still have a limited number of guest passwords, but computers will no longer be as freely available for public use as they are now. Until that system is implemented, I suggest you notify personnel at the Learning Commons Desk on second floor. They may be able to assist you in finding a computer. In addition to almost 400 hard wired computers, the library also has a number of lap top computers that can be checked out at the Access Services Desk. Please keep that in mind if you have difficulty finding a computer.
According to reports from library personnel, there have been a number of reports from users that the person you describe has been disruptive and has scared them. The problem got worse on Sunday and Monday nights, and library personnel determined that for the safety of library users Public Safety should be called. The university has a pro-active Office for Student Disability Services. They make every effort to assist students in insuring that they receive any help needed from the campus community in addressing their disabilities. In my experience, the possible medical condition you describe would probably fall under the definition of a disability for the purpose of student services. A student with the type of disability you describe should have some form of identification specifying the nature of the disability. Sharing that information with library and/or Public Safety personnel should help prevent any possible mis-communication between the person and campus personnel.
The library does have an area designated for use by persons with disabilities. There is a room on second floor in the Learning Commons that is sound proofed for use by such persons. It includes computer equipment and is available for use by anyone with a diagnosed disability on a first come/first serve basis. The ADA symbol is displayed in the window of the room.
Please contact me if you have any questions about the information I've provided or if you have other concerns about library services.
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