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QCC’s Library Is One of the College’s Hidden Gems

November, 2018
  • George I. Alden Library
    George I. Alden Library
  • George I. Alden Library on third floor of the Harrington Learning Center.
    The George I. Alden Library has relocated all of its services to the third floor of the Harrington Learning Center.
  • QCC librarians
    QCC Library staff

If you haven’t checked out Quinsigamond Community College’s George I. Alden Library recently, or if you’ve never stopped by, you just might be in for a pleasant surprise. The Alden Library recently relocated all its resources to the third floor of the Harrington Center, making access to the thousands of print and online resources, as well as study areas and computers all in one centralized location. Dean for Library and Academic Support Services Andrea MacRitchie said they had been preparing for a new library, and while the move was not entirely expected, it came at a time when they had already streamlined and weeded out the college’s extensive collection as curriculum changed.

“We got rid of books that were totally outdated or had been loved to death and needed to be replaced. Our collection totaled approximately 60,000 and we got rid of about 12,000.  We compressed and updated the collection,” she said, adding that the purged books were offered to other state institutions or recycled.

In addition to the revised collection, there are seven new student areas, a computer room and reference desk. Individual study areas and group study rooms are also available. Students can reserve a room (in two hour increments) and can check out laptops for free (in two-hour increments) at the circulation desk (laptops cannot be removed from the library). An expansive computer lab is also located in the library.

“Facilities were with us every step of the way helping with the new student area and circulation desk,” Ms. MacRitchie said. “They’ve helped us give the students a nice, welcoming place. We also have some great artwork and paintings on loan. The students love the environment that the paintings create. It’s also a bonus for us.”

One of the highlights of the library and one that the staff is particularly proud of is a new library consortium. QCC is a founding member of the new library network called HELM (Higher Education Libraries of Massachusetts).  QCC has joined with five other community colleges and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to create HELM, which will focus exclusively on the needs of academic libraries.

“The (community college) directors got together to form our own consortium that is for our students,” Ms. MacRitchie said.

HELM is designed to support student and faculty research with a networked library collection that will provide more scholarly materials and a library catalog that integrates course reserves and e-resources in a more user-friendly way. In addition to the HELM, QCC is a member of ARC (the Academic and Research Collaborative). ARC is made up of academic, public, and special research libraries in the Worcester area that work together, sharing resources and services. Institutions that are members of ARC offer students, faculty and staff cross-borrowing cards, delivery of books from other ARC member libraries to onsite use of electronic resources. QCC’s library also is part of the Commonwealth Catalog, which extends the college’s library reach to all participating libraries throughout Massachusetts. This gives the QCC community the most up-to-date comprehensive resources designed for today’s higher education student.

Faculty have been continuously scheduling library instruction sessions for their classes to help students effectively utilize all the services available to them at the library. Close to 300 FYE (First Year Experience) students have also already visited the library for a literacy workshop. Librarians Tiger Swan and Cary Morse introduced students to the concept of an academic library and challenged them to consider how they will use library resources and services throughout their QCC studies.

“All students will need to have a literacy skill. It’s one of the college’s 10 general education learning goals,” Ms. MacRitchie added.

QCC also has a library in its Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education in room 121D.  For more information, visit the Alden Library.