Department Blog

Suggestions and Comments

Expand the 24HRR to the Main Reading Room!

February 12th, 2013 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: Can you re-open the staircase connecting the Main Reading Room to the 24 hour reading room. It would be safer for students studying when the library closes and an overall convenience for everyone.

ANSWER: We have explored the option of opening up that stairwell during evening hours. It would allow more students to have access to library space after hours, and honestly — the Reading Room is MUCH better looking and more comfortable.

This idea is not off the table, but it does require more $$ to manage the space and keep the library and our students secure. This year we are examining a number of ways in which we can better support undergrad’s space needs. We have a Student Library Advisory Committee and are meeting regularly with the ASUCD. Between these two groups, suggestions from users, and our year-long study of library space we hope to radically improve student space in the library.

I hope you’re not graduating this year because you may see some really great changes in the future. Of course, and I hate this part, it does take time and we do need to raise funds. But I think our ideas are entirely doable.

Too Many Log-ins!

January 22nd, 2013 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: When I log into the library site from a library computer, I am asked for my Kerberos password. Why then am I later asked for my library card number, since the system already knows who I am? I don’t have this number committed to memory, and it is an extra headache to dig it out and type it in. You already know who I am, and so you already know my library ID number.

ANSWER: Thank you for writing in about your frustration with library computer sign-in.  I know it is a bit crazy-making, having to sign in twice, with two different account log-ins. Unfortunately, there are reasons for this that we can’t easily resolve.

The Kerberos sign-in serves as proof that you are who you claim to be. This sign in, when used off-campus, allows you access to databases and other UCD-only materials. Within the library it allows you access to a larger number of computers as well as the ability to use your thumb drive.

You are asked for your library account number when you try to renew a book, use ILL, or any other account specific features within the Harvest or Melvyl catalogs. We are exploring the possibility of using your Kerberos ID as your log-in for these features, but thus far we have not able to get the campus system to work seamlessly with with library system.

In closing, again a great question and one that we’ve been actively trying to resolve. We hope to eventually make this particular library experience much better.

Reserves Notification

November 19th, 2012 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: I think that Shields Library should add a feature when putting a book on hold in the Reserves section: The form should include a place for a phone number so if a person wants to leave the premise while waiting on his/her book s/he can. Once the book comes back, the Reserves staff can call the student and let her know the book is available.
ANSWER: I like this idea and we’ve been trying to do “something” like it and are not yet there.
We’ve been exploring using SMS to send text messages when a Reserves book is ready. That way, if the book comes back early you can be notified via your phone. Currently we give out buzzers like those at the Cheesecake Factory and other suburban/mall foodertainment locals.
Unfortunately the SMS service will NOT work with Reserves. We’ve tried. We discussed phone calls but that is problematic. We already have crazy, busy lines. How would you feel if you had to wait longer while our students called other students? Also, many of us have cell phones that are not Davis-centric which means a long distance charge for every card. ChaChing$$$
Good news, we are experimenting with SMS for circulation and hope to roll this service out soon. You’ll get recall notices, book due notices, etc for regular circ items. Sadly, Reserves is special and is just out of reach!
But, I love that you brought this idea forward. Thanks.

Noise, noise, and more noise!!

October 30th, 2012 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: I wrote a comment about a year ago about the intollerable amount of noise in Shields Library. As a 3rd year PhD student, it is unacceptable to not have a quiet place to study in this building. Please let me know what you have done to address this issue in the past year; I recommend creating a designated Graduate Reading Room (ID required) here at Shields like they do at UCB.

ANSWER: Geeze! I agree. Shields undergrads can be loud and social and not always polite when it comes to sharing study space. We get this complaint quite a bit and while I usually don’t repeat questions — this is worth discussing.

We have put our guards on notice that noise is to be addressed, especially in our quiet spaces. I have had signs placed throughout our quiet areas and we have developed a plan for re-arranging furniture so that large tables are not in the vicinity of study carrels. Honestly, who thought it was a good idea to mix them?

Reality check — some students (not many) are rude and we don’t have enough staff to move tables throughout Shields, a huge building. But we have a plan.

Additionally — we put out a survey to our grad students asking specifically what works and what needs improvement. We want/need your feedback. If we can get enough positive feedback we may be able to designate spaces more tightly.

On another tact, we are partnering with the Graduate Student Association (GSA) on library improvements. I’d like to encourage you to also communicate with them so that they understand this is an ongoing issue. They are working with us to improve the library and if they know about your complaints they’ll be able to help carry them forward.

Your complaint is a serious one and I am thankful you raised it again.

Noisy Chairs

October 30th, 2012 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: Could the chairs be fitted with non-squeaky pad, wheels or other materials to help avoid noise. (over time, no hurry) Thank you.

ANSWER: Great idea. We are in the midst of gathering lots of feedback from all of our users. In fact, if you received a survey email from us I hope you filled it out!

We have heard this same suggestion in the past and I am hoping we can act on it in the next 6 months (pls don’t hold me to that date). It is a wildly huge project, considering the number of chairs we have in Shields alone. But it is a project worth considering and it will be considered. Thanks for sharing it.

Copy/Print/Scan Machines (Yuck!)

October 30th, 2012 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: How about some proper maintenance of your copy machines? You charge more than commercial copy centers but the copies are CRAP!!

ANSWER: First of all, I’m really sorry that you are this frustrated and I hope that you went to one of our desks to get a resolution to your problems. When possible, always come to us before you get to the point of total frustration (which is easy to reach when papers are due and classes are crazy and one more thing just breaks your last nerve).

The Copy/Print/Scan machines work pretty okay, which is not the same as super fabulous. They can be complicated and (you’re right) are not as cheap as other places. We have put up all sorts of information to assist you and have the best price possible. Our machines are provided by Reprographics, a campus service that does not make much, if any, money off of your copies being that people don’t copy or print like they used to. Therefore the copy prices can’t go down.

What I would like to ask you — and all other users — is this: when you have issues with a particular machine let us know. But we need details! So, either go to a library service desk or write an email to Please include the machine number and your problem. Also include your personal information or copy card number so you can be reimbursed when this is called for.

We try (seriously) to make this service work. Some parts of life are not fun; microfilm, copiers, taxes — but they are sometimes necessary. Help us help you!

Make it simple!

October 3rd, 2012 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: You’re so complicated!!

ANSWER: I’m going to act on the premise that the author of this note, found in our Suggestion Box, is referring to the Library and not to me.

I’m sorry that many students feel that libraries are complicated but the reality is that some important skills in life take time to learn and master. The ability to do deep research and apply critical thinking skills is something we expect all of you to learn while you’re here.

The good news is that we are here to help you. We have lots  of ways for you to come in (physically or virtually). We exist for one reason — to ensure our students, faculty, and staff can access the resources they need in order to succeed.

Check us out:

Also, if you can think of a way to make the library more welcoming, send us a suggestion.  We are listening.

Can we get ebooks in the UC Davis Library?

October 3rd, 2012 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: The UC Davis library should consider investing in OverDrive digital e-book lending. To be honest I’m not sure what the cost is to the library, but I’ve seen it used at other university and community libraries. (Including the Yolo County library for that matter.) This can really help students with the cost of books for class, and is also a great service for students who take time for pleasure reading. I personally make use of e-book lending whenever given the opportunity, but the library could also lend audio books, which would be a great service for visually impaired students.

Just my thoughts!

ANSWER: Brilliant suggestion!

We already get a good number of ebooks, mostly in the sciences.
We are in the midst of talks for moving into ebooks for the other subject areas but it isn’t as easy for libraries to get ebooks as it is for you and your kindle. But we expect to begin ordering within the next month or so.

In the meanwhile, if you get a moment — this NPR story will help you to understand how difficult it is us for us to provide ebooks. While this story (only 3 minutes) is mostly focused on OverDrive and public libraries, it will help you to understand that we dealing with a problematic business structure.

Thanks for taking such an interest in your library!

Noise in the Library (again and again)

April 11th, 2012 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: On the 3rd floor, removing the large table near the semi-circular curved window in front of the QH 603 section would make this area quieter.

ANSWER: I understand that you are frustrated with the noise level on the third floor, near the QH section. Finding the perfect place to do one’s work is very specific to every person — the combination of light, noise, and furniture make up the variables that will hopefully lead to productive scholarship.

As you may know, there is an ongoing tension between those who enter the library to engage in quiet contemplation and those who are meeting classmates to engage in group study. For that reason Shields Library does have designated quiet study areas. These are located on the second floor and can be found within the Main and Nelle Branch Reading Rooms. There are also other areas that are quiet by default of their location. If you want to know where they are located, ask at our Reference or Circulation Desks.

Unfortunately the area you like to study in is not considered quiet study and it would be difficult to make it quiet space. The architecture (hard surfaces near lots of glass) and a busy traffic path ensure that this space is a medium quiet space. For quiet, truly quiet space, I suggest you move to the east side of the building (almost every floor) where we have the single carrels or study in the reading rooms on the second floor.

If a group of students are making too much noise, please let us know at the Circulation Desk and we’ll have our security guard ask the group to be more considerate of others or ask them to consider moving to one of our more noisy locations.

The Library is a place of research in action and thus will never be completely quiet. But we do strive to allow for all modes of studying. Hopefully, with this knowledge you’ll be able to find a favorite spot to settle down in.

Golf Pencils / Simpleton

March 16th, 2012 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: I suggest you stop stealing pencils from Ikea® and get better ones. Also, the library is too confusing for a simpleton like me.

ANSWER: Dear Student, I dislike casting suspicions on the famed Swedish home furnishing company – but we had golf pencils well before they did. At the rate we go through them, I wouldn’t be surprised if some UCD Library pencils make their way to the West Sacramento emporium of inexpensive home goods.

The more interesting comment is your self-proclaimed simpleton status. You are a student. You are here to learn. You are not expected to know how to master the many details of a research library. We are big. We are complicated. We can be difficult to use!

This is why we have classes and librarians who are educated, trained, certified and with multiple degrees to assist you. We do not expect you to know how to use the library beyond the basics. Neither does your faculty. What we do expect is that you will take the time to learn how to use the library.

We are here waiting for you. You can get info many different ways:
• Ask for Help
• Help yourself
• Go directly to the source

Seriously, we are here for you.