OC eyes extended library hours

Having extended the hours at the Sports Center in September, Odessa College is considering doing the same for the Learning Resource Center.

Dean of Teaching and Learning Becky Musil said the Learning Resource Center is open until 11 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it stays open until 9 p.m.

“I think that may be a place where we can look at creating some extension of hours,” Musil said. “The student government organization has a proposal where they want us to extend a little bit later. What I’d really like to do is make sure we’re serving our students and our students’ needs.”

One of the main things students need from the library and campus is WiFi access, Musil said.

Musil said she has walked into one of the parking lots at OC and seen people in their cars using the WiFi, which is needed to access Blackboard.

“All student assignments are on Blackboard, our learning management system. That’s where they find their assignments. That’s where they turn in their assignments. If it’s welding or machining, they’re doing their assignments in the lab. But some of their support materials are certainly in Blackboard,” Musil said.

Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management Kim McKay said OC knows that a majority of its students work and a work schedule doesn’t always fit with learning support.

“If we can extend the hours and give students an opportunity to access those facilities and that technology in unusual or not typical hours, I think it would certainly benefit all of our students. It is a community library and so if we were able to give the entire community access through extended hours, I think it certainly will support high school students and middle school students that need to access learning support and library resources in nontraditional times,” McKay said.

Denise Purdue, executive director of Student Learning Resources, said there has been discussion about piloting some longer library hours. Perdue said that would mean staying late a couple of nights a week to see what the traffic is like for about 30 days and partnering with marketing to let students know that the LRC is open longer.

Musil said she’s not sure when hours for the LRC would be extended. She wanted to wait until they were more fully staffed, but it will happen.

She added that the hours will probably start before fall.

McKay said the sports center has always been a hub of activity for people of all ages — students and non-students — who are interested in healthy living and lifestyles. “It also serves as a place for community recreation and some community education and fitness classes,” McKay said.

“The population that attends the Sports Center may or may not be some of the folks that attend the LRC,” McKay said. “Certainly we know students take advantage of both facilities, but both are open to the public and have things that people in the community would enjoy.”

The Sports Center offers fitness and recreation activities and the LRC has a coffee shop and a supportive learning environment, McKay said.

Sports Center hours were extended after a college-wide committee was convened to look at the feasibility of the idea. The committee included the business office, OC police chief, IT, marketing and media relations and the Sports Center staff, McKay said.

“The facilities at the Sports Center are unique in that they include indoor basketball courts, of course the indoor pool, a racquetball court — facilities that families can take advantage of. Not only the families of our students, but also families in the community,” McKay said.

McKay said an audit was conducted of the hours. It was decided that the hours were conducive to families taking advantage of it.

The task force looked at what the hours were, compared them with facilities across the Permian Basin and determined that it was feasible to be open longer.

As of Sept. 1, the hours are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

“The pool opens, as a general rule of thumb, an hour after the Sports Center opens and closes an hour before the Sports Center closes. That’s just because of the maintenance and things that are required to prepare it for the next day,” McKay said.

Every student at Odessa College is a Sports Center member, she said.

“An important part of education is maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” McKay said. “We feel like that’s a great benefit to our students. Each of our employees also has memberships and many of them involve their family in extended opportunities for discounted memberships.”

McKay said she would imagine that the process for extending the LRC hours would be similar to what was used for the Sports Center.