A mandatory student library fee may be installed soon to help finance the hiring of extra staff needed for the renovated building.
The proposal will go to the board on May 9, and the library is currently in the process of developing investment models. The proposed fee is $25 per full-time student and applied separately per credit hour for part-time students.
Sue Robinson, a spokesperson for VCU Libraries, said the idea of a possible library fee to help provide services has been a possibility for nearly a decade.
“VCU Libraries proposed the student fee as one possible way for the university community to help operate the expanded library spaces and services the new building will provide and maintain around-the-clock services,” Robinson said.
She emphasized that the student fee will increase existing resources for operations.
VCU librarian John Ulmschneider explained that one of the reasons for the possible fee is to keep the new library up and running. New additions to the library will include a media studio which will require around the clock staff.
“We want to make sure the advanced innovative media studio has the right staff and student workers to help students get their work done. We need staff to program instruction space,” Ulmshneider said.
Ulmschneider said the board of visitors is mindful of the cost to students. He also said the SGA student officers are being supportive and did not object to the fee.
“We need more security staff to make sure people are safe in the building around the clock,” he said.
Ulmshneider said that at this point the library doesn’t know how many staff members they plan to hire.
A member of the Cabell Library Undergraduate Advisory Committee (CLUAC), Chandler Kimbrough, thinks the $25 is fair.
“We want to have a great library, the fee is going be used to expand the library hours and $25 is very nominal compared to other fees that are far greater than $25,” she said, “I use the library a lot and I definitely think that I will get my money for it.”
According to Kimbrough, the construction on the library is going to add about 93,000 square feet of expanded space.
“That whole section needs staff in there to keep it running to make sure when a student has a problem in the middle of the night we have the fundings to help the student and to help them find the sources they need,” she said.
Other student responses to the fee are varied, however. Andrew Lawrence, a science major, is fine with the new library fee.
“I personally don’t mind, I go to the library pretty often. We need resources, we need staff members to help us out,” he said. “Later on it’s going to help our university grow and get our name out there. It might attract more people because we are growing as a university.”
Other students are less enthusiastic about the possible policy.Summra Hodga, a chemistry major, is concerned and doesn’t approve of the idea.
“This is absurd, I don’t go to the library that often why would I have to pay for something that I rarely use, and besides the library is great as it is now. Tuition increases every year for whatever reason,” she said.