When it comes to Mercy College, traditional libraries are a thing of the past. With our high-tech library databases and the new addition of 3D printers, it’s clear to see that Mercy values its students and the potential they have to create something great.
“The library wants to be the center for innovation and for digital ideas. We want to be the digital leaders on campus,” says Mustafa Sakarya, director of libraries.
At the forefront of creation in the library is 3D-printing. If you’ve been to the library over the past couple of months, you might have noticed a few plastic statues floating around on the circulation desk, well that’s just the beginning of what these revolutionary printers can do.
Now what exactly are 3D printers and what can they do? 3D printers make it possible to manufacture three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process where numerous layers of material are laid down until the entire object is created. As far as what they can do, they are capable of creating anything from plastic phone cases to three story homes.
The possibilities of what they will be used for here at Mercy are endless, an the staff loves the challenge.
“The vet tech program asked if I could print a cat skull because they didn’t have enough cat skulls to examine, that’s on my list to try and figure out next,” said Andrew Lowe, circulation supervisor and 3D printing expert at Mercy.
The printers can be used for various different programs at Mercy, for the vet tech program as well as the occupational therapy department, where they are working to create assistive devices for individuals who have trouble closing their hands on an object because of limited motion.
“Imagine making something that would fit around their hand so that however their hands do close, they can grasp the object to work it – so it’s a pen, or maybe to hold a fork, or a knife… you’re making something to adapt another device to work better,” Lowe explains.
In keeping with Mercy’s reputation of digital leadership comes the state of the art library database. From criminal justice to exercise science, Mercy’s library databases are supplying students with the resources needed to further his or her educational experience. A good chunk of our tuition goes towards the funding for these library databases each year, so it’s important that we take advantage of this growing resource we have at our fingertips.
Not only do our library databases give us access to exclusive online information via text format but also, image, sound, and video (VAST) databases as well. The library also offers a wide variety of e-books through our databases, that continue to grow as 1,500 new e-books are added each month.
“The usage of E-books has been sky-rocketing,” stated Sakarya. E-books allow users to read online versions of books through the school’s library database and “check them out” to use a traditional library term. Currently, there are more e-books in the databases than actual books in the school’s library.
The library wants to make student learning experience as simple and effective as possible, so they’ve categorized each database by major, and they even have a separate section they designed just this past summer to show students how to start their research process.
“We try to make it so that the students can do as much work as they want off campus – in fact, about 30 percent of library usage happens outside of library,” said Tesse Santoro, head librarian. Possibly the greatest aspect about Mercy’s library databases are the fact that students can access them from just about anywhere. All one needs is their blackboard login ID and they are just seconds away from a vast source of digital knowledge.
“Once the students realize what’s at their fingertips, they get really excited,” said Santoro. Thousands and thousands of searches are being done every week in these databases so it’s clear that most Mercy students are utilizing it to its fullest potential.
“I think we’re getting the word out, but there’s always a student who says, ‘I didn’t know you had that!'” stated Santoro.
In an effort to get the word out about what these revolutionary databases can do, Santoro and other librarians travel to different classes and show students just what our online databases are capable of.
“The library definitely wants to be at the forefront of digital leadership on campus, so that’s why it makes total sense that we provide this kind of exploration and innovation starting from the library – because that’s where the users are and that’s where you get the most engagement with students and faculty.” stated Sakarya.
It’s clear to see that Mercy College library prides itself on the advancement of technology and its confidence in the student’s ability to produce something amazing. As of now, Mercy College Library has undoubtedly proved itself to be the digital front runners on campus.