Whispering Isn’t Required
Most colleges have two places where students come together: the union for connecting and the library for intellectual growth. At WCC, students can do both in the same place.
The Bailey Library has become a central hub for reading, research, meeting with fellow classmates, conducting group projects, and connecting to the world through the Internet and a myriad of online databases.
The Bailey Library is a portal to resources around the world. Its own collection includes 60,000 books, 22,000 electronic books, 400 print journals, and numerous electronic databases. As a member of the Michigan eLibrary Catalog system (MelCat), it can provide access to 10 million more volumes. And its membership in WorldCat makes another 100 million volumes available.
When Alesha Jordan, 19, a student in WCC’s journalism program, thought about libraries the only thing that came to mind was checking out books. But now she knows different.
“The librarians taught me about accessing databases and how to do deeper research,” said Jordan. “Now it is the only place I choose to study. Coming into the library automatically puts me into a studious mindset.”
The librarians actively look for students who may need help, guiding them to useful research material. Sometimes they just help students hone in on their topic. “We try to connect with our students face to face,” said Sandy McCarthy, a professional librarian. “I wouldn’t be a reference librarian for 20 years if I didn’t enjoy that. Our commitment is to the WCC students.”
With over 460,000 visitors to the Bailey Library each year, it’s becoming far more than just a place to check out books. Victor Liu, dean of Learning Resources, likes to think of the library as a jumping off place where students can learn about the world and themselves.
“In a sense the Bailey Library is a learning community,” Liu said. “When people walk in they have no choice other than to trip over culture, whether it is artwork or a themed book display. We wanted to create that environment where our students could grow academically and intellectually.”
At any given time in the library, there are students doing homework, working on projects with a study group, surfing the Internet, listening to assignments on DVD, or quietly sitting in a comfortable chair just relaxing or reading. It’s a meeting place, a learning place, a place to connect.
“You don’t have to whisper in the library anymore,” said Liu. “It’s not a scary place, it’s a motivating place.”