Letter to the editor: UK libraries should offer increased public access

UK wants community involvement for sports and fine arts events, but apparently not for those of us who are still interested in broadening our horizons, though we are not enrolled students. (I am, however, an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute participant.) I refuse to believe I am the only person in Lexington who wants to continue on their learning journey. With great enthusiasm, I anticipate turning 65 so I can enroll in classes for free, though I already have attained degrees of higher learning.

This semester, someone at the W.T. Young Library decided to cut the number of public access computers to eight. Every time I have been to the library since the new policy was instituted, I find many unused computers that are limited to student access, while one must wait around for some bimbo who is playing a video game to finally get off one of the eight public access computers. The reference staff has no way to override the “student only” limitation on the unused computers.

Saturday, I decided to borrow a laptop, but the Media Center was closed. Last year, I wanted to use a public access in the Fine Arts Library, and they had only one; though again, student only computers sat unused. With Lexington’s vibrant arts community, does the university library system not believe people want to learn more about the fine arts, which are often considered a window into the culture that produces such works?  I’m interested in pre-historic through modern works. Surely I am not alone in this interest.

I have a community borrowing card, but with no access to the card catalog (which is accessed via computer), finding anything in this splendid collection of knowledge is a Biblical pursuit — seek and maybe ye shall find. I pay state taxes that go to the general fund, and some of that money does go to UK. What is the point of the community borrowing card privilege if one can’t even access the card catalog? I also like to search for journal articles on electronic databases such as JSTOR.

Making knowledge accessible to the community should be one of the functions of a state-funded university. Not everyone finds football or basketball engaging. Some of us simply love to learn. I sincerely hope the administrators who determine library policies at UK will take a more progressive attitude toward the community and re-designate more computers for public access or at least provide staff with a means to override the student access limitation when such computers are sitting unused.