September 26, 2016

Emerson Library limits public’s access to computer and late night hours

Emerson

Webster University’s Emerson Library has been open to the public since it first opened in 2003. Before the construction of the library, Webster students used Eden Seminary’s campus library that is now owned by Webster.

Webster’s Emerson Library has implemented new policies on its late night hours to ensure Webster University and Eden Seminary students, faculty, staff and alumni have priority use of the library, while also raising safety measures.

According to a press release on Webster University’s website, members of the general public will only be allowed to use the library from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will only have use of two designated computers for up to two hours during reference desk open hours.

“This is just applying a few limitations,” said Dean of University Libraries Laura Rein. “We’re still open 13 hours a day, 24 hours more a week than public libraries. We still welcome the general public, but our first priority is our students.”

According to the library’s website, the public is restricted from using the listening/viewing computers, assistive technology computers and collaborative workspaces.

Rein said limiting public hours was based on what other universities do and the experience of the library staff. She said adding new  safety measures was not based on one single incident, but several incidents over the years.

“There have been incidents of unwanted attention, harassment and the inability for our students to find an open computer,” Rein said.

Rein said giving Webster students who pay tuition priority in the library is important. She said often students cannot find a computer to sit at and will not ask people to move, so they leave.
Webster and Eden students, faculty, staff and alumni will be allowed in the library with full use during normal hours and after 9 p.m. with their student identification.

The Journal will update this story as it develops.

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