Running on empty

Florida A&M University allocates a budget for the Samuel H. Coleman Library resources every year.

“About $1.9 million, which covers new books, microfilms, the subscription to electronic databases and periodicals are given to the library,” said Lauren Sapp, director of libraries.

Some students said that they are reaping the benefits from the budget. Still others believe that the resources could be expanded and made more accessible.

“We don’t have enough online subscriptions to journals, so I always have to go to Florida State to find periodicals,” said Jermaine White, 23.

The biology graduate student from Seoul, South Korea said, “I don’t think the library has books that are current.”

Sapp explained that books come in daily to the library.

The book shipments are based on specific ordes.

She added that many “students can suggest books to be ordered.”

In 2000, the library review discovered that there were some volume deficiencies.

However, Sapp said “we have been working on the deficiency by adding new volumes each year.”

The library also receives funds from the annual Coleman showcase, which is a talent show that began in 1999 in Lee Hall to raise money for library resources. One book that cost $3,000 was a result of the funds being used.

Although some large spaces of empty shelves can be seen in the library Brenda Wright, interim assistant director for collection management, said the library keeps spaces for a purpose.

“The intent is not to fill the shelves completely, but to shelf books accurately to allow for growth,” Wright said. “Any library should have 5-6 inches on each shelf.”

She added that many of the older issues of journals and lesser-used material were in an off-site Tallahassee storage space. There are only five rows of empty shelves, which are being reserved for oversized books on the fourth floor.

However, for many students books are not an issue and they use more of the libraries online services for convenience.

“Books are obsolete. The time it takes for you to find the book and read it, you might as well go online,” said Jeffrey Hobbard, 23, a biology graduate student from Houston.

Although Hobbard depends on online services he still feels that “the new section of the library really helps because it gives students more space to study.”

“We could use more computers because I use mostly online services,” said Jamaal Parham, 18, an engineering student from Atlanta.

The library staff said that they hope to gain insight on what resources students need by conducting a survey. The survey is scheduled for the first week of February.

“This is how we get feedback from students,” Sapp said. The survey will be given online at for students who are interested in making their voice heard.

Contact Sarah Chester at