STARVILLE, Miss. - Mitchell Memorial Library offers patrons so much more than printed materials: it’s the technological center of Mississippi State, housing the latest hardware, software and multimedia equipment.
And the best part is–the university library is open to the public.
Offering library services to the general public encourages learning and research, which coincides with MSU’s mission as a land-grant institution, said Stephen Cunetto, library system administrator.
“If the general public wants access to any of the resources that we have, our website, http://library.msstate.edu/, is the first place to start,” he said.
To use the materials, individuals must visit the building, located on campus at 395 Hardy Rd., said Amanda Powers, general library associate professor.
“When people come in, they can get a wireless password, and they can use their computers anywhere in the library. With that password, they get access to all of the databases and the full use of the library’s resources,” she said. “We, as a land-grant university, are committed to providing services for the whole community.”
The library’s computers enable patrons to access electronic resources in any format and scan, save, burn or upload electronic documents, Powers said. From Adobe Creative Suite 5 to various photo- and video-editing programs, patrons can design a variety of audio and visual web- and/or print-based materials.
Powers said one popular resource is Ask-A-Librarian, available through the main web page and designed to help patrons, including visitors, discover more about how to use the resources. The staff also hold workshops about how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Excel, Word, Publisher, PowerPoint or other software, and registration is available through the main webpage.
For those seeking more intensive, one-on-one training, Cunetto said the staff tailors individual training to that person’s needs.
“We’re a center for instruction,” he said.
In addition to up-to-date equipment and online resources, the library contains more than 2.3 million books, microfilm, CDs, DVDs, films, filmstrips and slides, as well as the latest means to view, listen or read them.
Digitizing the print holdings is a major staff priority, Cunetto said. Other projects on the horizon include redesigning the primary website to optimize displays based on the screen size used, adding additional technology-enhanced meeting rooms for students and faculty, and continuing to purchase e-books for students and faculty, whether on campus or online.
“We want to be part of the technologies coming in the near future,” Cunetto said. “We’re trying to make libraries even more user-friendly. The software changes every year, and as our tools evolve, so does the training for our staff and faculty.”
More than 100 electric outlets have been added to the building over the last year. For student teams working on projects, more collaboration rooms have been added, with each space featuring a projector and 42-inch flat-screen television and laptop ports to enable design, preview and practice presentations.
The newest meeting room, “The Think Tank,” Presentation Room 3060, holds as many as eight people and is designed for small-group meetings, web-based conference activities, group training, and presentation practice.
Cunetto and Powers both emphasized that MSU’s library system is committed to remaining a leader in offering the public, students, faculty and staff access to state-of-the-art technology innovations.
“We are always behind the scenes and trying to think of new ideas and ways to reach people online and in person,” Powers said.