When Honors students check out books from Temple libraries this semester, they will notice that the due date is farther away than usual.
Temple libraries implemented a new policy beginning in the Spring 2005 semester: Honors students, like graduate students and professors, are now allowed to check out books for an entire semester.
Previously, all undergraduate students were required to return books checked out from Temple libraries within four weeks. Any borrower can renew a book up to three times.
The policy applies to all Temple libraries, including the satellite campuses.
“We looked at what we demand of Honors students and then looked at how we could help them meet those demands,” said Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Peter Jones. “It’s one part of a battery of privileges that we try to make available to Honors students.”
According to Jones, a handful of Honors students approached Honors Directors Ruth Ost and Rebecca Oliver to inquire about the possibility of keeping books for an entire semester. Ost and Oliver presented the idea to a committee of faculty and Honors staff and contacted the library administration. They then requested and received Jones’ support.
The new policy is just one of many changes that will take place in the Honors program in the upcoming years. The Honors program will be “more flexible but clear on the control of Honors classes,” said Jones.
“We wanted to do something meaningful and useful for students with strong academic interests that isn’t costly,” said Ost. “The new policy is a good way to support scholarship and benefit research projects.”
“A lot of Honors students are doing serious research, some of them are even taking graduate classes” said Ost. “We want to encourage the importance of research and a climate of intellectual life centered around the library.”
As excited as the administration is about the new policy, students are not as enthused.
“It’s a little rude. It’s kind of discriminatory,” said senior Honors student and classics major Giulia Fiorile. “It’s nice that it benefits me, but it’s still discriminatory.”
Jones and Ost both pointed out that the recall policy is still in effect. According to the Temple libraries Web site, if any Temple-affiliated person needs a book that is checked out, “The library will send the borrower a notice asking that they bring the book back within two weeks. If a recalled book is not brought back by the date on the recall notice, the fine is $1 per day.”
“It’s not so much discriminatory as recognizing that students have different priorities and interests. Some are more interested in research than others. Honors students also have different obligations and are theoretically intellectually talented, and we need to support that.”
Junior film major and Honors student Meredith McEwen believes the due date policy is not necessary.
“I’ve actually done more research for my non-Honors classes than my Honors classes,” McEwen said. “I don’t know if that many Honors kids will actually take advantage of it.”
Honors students comprise a small portion of Temple’s entire student body. Jones pointed out that not all Honors students will take advantage of the new policy, and that that applying the semester-long due date “across the board” is not feasible because of the number of students at Temple.
“I want to emphasize that we’re not only trying to help Honors students,” explained Jones. “We want to help all students. But there isn’t a demand from the entire student body for the policy to be extended.”
“I think it would be great if more students spent more time in the library,” Ost said, adding that “I hope Honors students use this privilege and make a culture of library use, not Internet use. This policy starts with Honors but it doesn’t have to end there.”
Lindsey Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.