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How does Central’s library work?

Have you ever wondered how the library at Seattle Central works? Tenured Reference and Instruction Librarian Sharon Spence-Wilcox and Dean of Library Services Lynn Kanne sat down with The Seattle Collegian to provide information about the library system as a whole unit. 

“What roles and responsibilities do the faculty and staff at the library undertake?”

Kanne explains that the library serves all students, staff, and faculty, primarily aiming to help students study and help the community. “We welcome every student, no matter the building and curriculum,” Kanne emphasizes the aspiration to facilitate students’ comprehension of research methodologies and library resources. Six full-time faculty members are dedicated to helping students and assisting with research endeavors. Spence-Wilcox adds, “We think of the library as a classroom rather than just a regular library.” The viewpoint includes incorporating modern computer systems alongside traditional study areas. Spence-Wilcox also underscores the faculty’s involvement in discussions about societal issues, which started in 2010, with homelessness in Seattle being a prominent theme.

“How are the sections in the library organized?” 

The library is organized in alphabetical order. “The organization process is not by the Dewey Decimal System but by the Congressional system used in the Library of Congress,” Spence-Wilcox said. Public libraries commonly receive feedback regarding the absence of author-based book organization. In the Young Adult (YA) section at Central, books are arranged by author names due to the overwhelming amount of materials. Guides on the library’s website are valuable resources for accessing e-books and periodicals, providing a cost-effective alternative to purchasing textbooks.

“How would an international or first-generation student check out a book?”

Enrolled students are automatically entered into the library system, and translations and instructional videos have been created to assist with the checkout process. Librarians actively welcome and help students, maintaining communication with instructors and departments like TRIO to ensure students understand the library systems.

“Is there a particular genre that sees high recommendations or checkouts?”

Textbooks and the new fiction section are frequently recommended and borrowed. Spence-Wilcox emphasizes the library’s commitment to addressing the evolving demands of students, stating, “We are working on the student’s space and needs.”

“Do you have a favorite book or one you’d recommend?”

Spence-Wilcox recommends: “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and “A Small Place” by Jamaica Kincaid, while Kanne suggests “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki and “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver. 


Rhiannon Phillips
Staff Writer at The Seattle Collegian

As Rhiannon had done journalism in the past for her high school. She hopes to continue that path through the Collegian.

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