The library in St. Augustine Hall introduced new annual passes Oct. 2 available to anyone who is not a student or faculty member of the University.
The passes, which are sold for $25 each, will mean that students are no longer able to sign non-students into the library, nor will members of the surrounding community have the ability to enter the library with a driver’s license.
“This is in response to a very legitimate concern of students,” said University Librarian Theresa Maylone. “If they didn’t have an ID card they were turned away, but anyone could walk in off the street with a driver’s license [and gain entry into the library.]
“We made a decision not to complicate this any more than it needs to be,” she added, saying that this was the reasoning for charging a flat rate of $25-a-year for the passes and not prorating the cost for shorter periods of time.
Maylone said that the passes are part of an ongoing effort to make the campus more safe and secure, which began several years ago with the installation of turnstiles at the library’s entrance.
She explained that the University wants to ensure that the library is used for academic purposes and not as a hang out for those who do not attend the University.
“Libraries, unfortunately, are sometimes a haven for people who don’t belong there,” she said. “We were lucky to get the turnstiles, [but] we were still finding that a lot of people from area colleges were coming to study.”
In order to keep the library as a place for St. John’s students to study and do research, the University started what Maylone called “a phased approach,” beginning with the annual passes and the access cards that will be given to anyone who purchases one. The cards will work similarly to the StormCards given to students.
“We started with the access cards for people who have no other affiliation with the University,” Maylone said, explaining that people such as University alumni and members of the clergy are already granted access.
She was also adamant that “we have no interest in excluding people who have a legitimate interest [in being in the library.]”We’re not trying to make life difficult,” she continued, “but we are going to keep the focus on this as an academic entity.”
One concern is of employees of the University that work in St. Augustine Hall and may have guests during work hours.
Maylone assured that guests of those employees will be able to sign in to the building.
She also stressed the importance of having a dialogue between students and administrators in matters such as this one.
“There is far too much hierarchy here,” she said. “We need that understanding… we need to create a place that is right for students in the way they study and live.”
Although many students still are not aware of the new policy at the library, it has been met by a mixed reaction from those who have learned of it.
“It’s not a bad price for the whole year,” said sophomore Andrew Conti. “But I think most guests just want it for a day or two.”
“Most people probably just want to get to Jazzman’s [caf√©],” he added. “Why should they have to pay to get in and then again to get coffee?”