Though AU students spend a great deal of time complaining about their lack of library resources, other schools in the area seem more than happy to use Bender Library as a supplement to their studies.
The library is in a strong position as a center for research and information, according to University Librarian Patricia Wand. Pointing to an impressive performance, she can easily defend this position.
“We’ve always lent more than we’ve had to borrow,” claims Wand, and all indicators seem to point to a continuation along that path.
AU borrowed 14,509 books from other libraries in the consortium and lent 17,986, according to WRLC statistics for the 1998-1999 school year, the most recent statistics available.
In addition, WRLC Executive Director Lizanne Payne said borrowing between AU and GW “is fairly evenly balanced.”
Also of note, 94% of all borrowing during that year by AU students was from Bender Library. GW students borrowed 93% of all materials from their own library as well. Such numbers confirm the purpose of the WRLC, to act as a resource when one’s home library does not have a specific item.
Wand has no qualms with this function, remarking that the WRLC is a great system, but she does not believe it should be used as an immediate option.
Bender, as well as other libraries in the consortium, have embarked upon an ambitious collection assessment, making more resources available for students. The library is working to expand its selection in 2400 subject classifications, and is making strides towards accumulating the most sophisticated selection of works possible. Already it appears that in a majority of cases, the library has met or will soon meet its lofty goals.
The Bender Library staff, however, isn’t only concerned with their own plans. In sections that are heavily used by students, the library is making every effort to increase its resources. Additionally, the library is perfectly willing to accept student advice about areas that could use improvement.
“If you don’t find the material you need at the AU Library, ask a reference librarian to help you,” she said. After all, “...that’s what the librarians are here to do,” Wand said.