Lost in the stacks: Hidden features of the library


Library Media Technician Steve Dao wears the virtual reality set in the Makerspace on March 22. Dao said he is completely blind when he puts the set on. (Anthony Lipari | The Union)

Free copies, research help, button makers, a sewing machine, and a patio are only a few of the hidden features that are provided for students inside the Schauerman Library at El Camino College.

Learning Resources Specialist Erika Yates said the ability to borrow laptops and calculators are resources commonly used by students.

“I always run out usually within the first couple weeks of classes,” Yates said. “So there’s a very high demand for those items.”

Despite the popular laptop option, there are also computer and study rooms for students to use. Nursing major Yolanda Ponce said she goes to the library once a week to use both.

“They’re clean, they’re quiet,” Ponce said. “[The study rooms] have enough space so that it fits a group of people.”

Heading downstairs to the Makerspace, Library Media Technician Steve Dao said students can use tools including a soldering iron, 3D printers and virtual reality equipment at no cost.

“It’s a place to make, essentially,” Dao said. “If you have an idea, the idea is that you can bring that idea to life.”

There are also features of the library that many students may not know about.

Yates said students could officially print 200 pages for free in both the fall and spring semesters. Even if a student exceeded the 200-page limit, they can still print or make copies for free.

Library and Learning Resources Specialist Erika Yates holds a laptop and case in the library on March 21. Yates said the laptops run out within the first couple weeks of the semester. (Anthony Lipari | The Union)
Library and Learning Resources Specialist Erika Yates holds a laptop and case in the library on March 21. Yates said the laptops run out within the first couple weeks of the semester. (Anthony Lipari | The Union)

“They would just come to me and I would give them more copies,” Yates said. “No cost for printing.”

In addition to printing and making copies, students can get help with their research papers.

“There are some librarians who specifically gear towards certain subjects, and are very knowledgeable of that subject matter, who can assist them in finding articles, newspapers… and anything they need research-wise,” Yates said.

Students can then get help from a tutor at the library or the Reading and Writing Studio in the Humanities Building with writing their papers.

Yates said there is a patio next to the Collaboration Room where students can sit and hang out.

“If you haven’t been in the library and you haven’t been in the Collaboration Room, you have no idea that patio is there,” Yates said.

Back in the Makerspace, there are features that students do not use as often, including a button maker, a sewing machine, an ironing board and drawing tablets.

Dao said students should have a little bit of training before using the sewing machine.

“The sewing machine we have has plenty of YouTube tutorials,” Dao said. “It’s apparently very intuitive and easy to use.”

Dao said he is working on getting podcast and recording studios opened, but he does not know when they will be ready for students to use.

“They’ve come by to review the space, but they haven’t given us a deadline on when they can get out here and install it,” Dao said.

Dao added he is in the opening stages of getting new features including a sticker machine and a knitting station.

“Right now we’re still working on getting the other spaces up and running,” Dao said. “So that’s sort of where our energy is directed.”

Regarding the library in general, Yates said students should come to the library more and experience what it has to offer.

“This is their library,” Yates said. “They really should take the time to investigate it. Because I can guarantee you 100% there are services here that they need and they have no clue that it’s here.”