Students should utilize Criss Library

Photo courtesy of Jared Barton
Guest contributor Jared Barton discusses the many useful features of UNO’s Criss Library.
Jared Barton

Undoubtedly, Criss Library is a massive student resource on UNO’s campus. Books, movies, printers and the staff make it a valuable asset to students’ educations, but are students utilizing them properly?

As finals season looms, people will be looking for quiet places to concentrate and cut themselves off from distractions such as Netflix and Fortnite. For those looking for a place to work, Criss Library is waiting.

Drew Roberts, an employee in the library’s Creative Productions Lab, said this about the lab’s usage: “We get a decent amount of traffic, but we don’t get like your normal traffic. We get more surges of people instead of a steady in and out.”

Criss Library’s section of the University of Nebraska at Omaha website offers a look at many of the services the library provides that many people may not know about. These services range from study rooms to databases to creative resources and food services.

A study room can be reserved online or used on the spot with a MavCard if no one else is using it. The study rooms feature whiteboards, electricity, internet connection and silence to work in.

Larger rooms, which can also be reserved online or swiped at the door, can accommodate up to six people and feature a multimedia system for presentations and group projects.

If you like the commotion and just want a place to sit and listen to background noise, the library’s second floor has several places with a more casual workspace.

The second floor also has a whiteboard wall for student use, a café with booths that feature power outlets and internet accessibility and several sitting areas.

“The theater room is the most underused,” said Laura Mirras, a library science major working at the circulation desk. “Nobody ever checks it out.”

Dani Apperson, a PR and advertising major, said she thought a lot of the library’s technology in general was underused, “People are always using their own and don’t take ownership of the databases available.”

The databases accessible total over 230 in number and range from areas as broad as psychology to subjects as specific as biodispersal theories from the 1800s.

This isn’t to say Criss Library isn’t appreciated. Students are constantly flowing in and out of the library, many of whom are there for the facilities others may not know they have access to, such as the study rooms or Creative Production Lab.

The Creative Production Lab, where Roberts works, features 3-D printing, laser cutting, vinyl cutting and computers outfitted with Adobe Creative Cloud services.

One service offered in the CPL is the Whisper Room. This is a soundproof booth outfitted with recording equipment, a device only found in two locations on campus, the other being CPACS.

The library itself was first conceived in 1912 and built in 1928 after the UNO president, Daniel Jenkins, answered the students’ requests for one. The original library, however, was located on 24th and Pratt streets. The Criss Library, on UNO’s Dodge Campus, was conceived in 1974.

The inside has gone through a lot of changes in the 40 years since its construction, most recently, the removal of the international news wall on the second floor and implementation of the whiteboard wall in its place.

Mirras initially said the international news wall was the most underused part of the library, gesturing toward the new whiteboard. It was so underused, it was gone. The library, like the students, is constantly evolving.

New exhibits, events and topic spotlights are consistently moving in and out in an effort to keep up with the fluid interests of students. The next couple weeks, of course, it will be full of students preparing for final exams.