March 20, 2013
Odum Library Becomes Hub of Activity at VSU
VALDOSTA — Odum Library is the hottest spot in town for Valdosta State University students.
Dr. Alan Bernstein, university librarian, said that the Odum Library doors open more than 800,000 times a year. Between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, specifically, the library doors opened 807,584 — up 6,233 times compared to the year before.
“The library is a happening place,” he said. “It’s not your grandmother’s library. It is a vibrant, exciting meeting place for students.”
VSU’s Odum Library experienced an evolution of sorts in the past 20 years. While students and other visitors can still find a quiet place to study alone, the library has become a place to see and be seen. Cell phones are allowed, and food and drinks are sold on the premises. Pizza deliveries occur on a regular basis as students work on group projects, write an essay, research a topic of interest, or study for an upcoming exam.
Today’s Odum Library, Bernstein noted, offers an environment that is conducive to both studying and friendly banter.
“The world has changed, and the library has gone along with it,” he said.
Odum Library has more than 300 computers available for student use, and WiFi is operable throughout the facility for those who wish to use their own devices. The library collection boasts roughly 540,680 volumes in print, 1.1-plus million units in microprint, and 94,248 government documents, Bernstein shared. Approximately 2,600 periodicals are received on a regular basis.
Bernstein noted that circulation activity was up 13 percent during the 2011-2012 fiscal year at the university library. He added that most libraries across the country only saw an increase in the number of people accessing electronic information and using Internet services during the same time period.
Dedicated to being a major educational and cultural resource for the university, the library has grown both physically and in terms of its holdings since the first location opened in 1913 in a room in Converse Hall. The library moved to West Hall in 1916 and then to Powell Hall in 1940. In 1972, the current facility opened its doors, and in August of 1990, it was named the Gertrude Gilmer Odum Library in recognition of a major Valdosta State benefactor and professor emerita of English. In 2004, the multi-level facility doubled in size, acquiring an Internet Café, additional computer labs, an electronic classroom, a new area for Archives and Special Collections, a 100-seat auditorium, a Georgia Library Learning Online (GALILEO) Technology Center, a Blazing Brew coffee shop, and expanded study space, book stacks, and reading rooms, Bernstein noted.
Digital signage throughout Odum Library keeps faculty, staff, and students, as well as community visitors, informed of general library information and campus events and activities. Works by both renowned artists and VSU students hang on the walls, expanding the library’s scope to include an art gallery and creating a pleasant and inspiring environment for students to learn and grow. Researchers and historians frequent the fourth floor museum and archives where anyone can see 5,000-year-old Babylonian clay tablets, early school memorabilia, rare books, and much more.
“We stay on top of the literature, research the best practices, study the trends, and then make it work for us,” he said.
While the library has experienced many changes, Bernstein noted that a few things have remained consistent, including the quality of the staff and a communal desire to serve the needs of the campus, to help students realize their academic potential. Of course, the modern student has the option of requesting that help in person or via email, text, chat, or phone.
Contact Dr. Alan Bernstein at (229) 333-5860 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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