By Shelby Sosa
For The Scene
The Forest Park library is more than a bunch of books.
Students can create PowerPoint presentations, do Skype interviews with potential employers and even examine human bones.
“I come here for a class that I am taking this semester,” said Craig Saunders, a mass communications major. “Our class meets here every Thursday to research information for our final mentor paper.”
The library is in D Tower, across the courtyard from the Student Center. It houses 50,000 to 60,000 books, as well as magazines and computer databases.
There are 15 staff members to help students and faculty do research and find online and print resources. One is Austin Case, who works at the reference desk.
“We offer scanners, printing services, copiers, textbooks and different forms of media,” he said. “Teachers are not required to have a textbook available in the library, but some do provide one.”
The library is supervised by June Williams, senior manager. She sees her main job as helping students do well in their classes.
“There is nothing more rewarding than hearing a student say, ‘Thank you. If it was not for the services here in the library, I would not have passed,’ ” she said.
Williams recently oversaw the addition of a SM A+ RT Works Center, designed to help students with literacy issues. Electronic tools include an E-library, an E-text reader, a PDF equalizer and an English talking dictionary.
There’s even a text-to-audio computer program, giving students the ability to scan papers, textbooks and other printed material then hear them read aloud. The center is expected to open before spring semester.
“We are hoping to have an open house soon so the students can see the new resources and services we have available,” Williams said.
On the lower level, the library has a Presentation Studio, where students and faculty can do video and audio recording and editing to sharpen their skills and create presentations.
The library’s Bone Room is on the same level. It has life-size skeletons, human bones and models of hearts, lungs and other organs, as well as tutoring services for students in anatomy, physiology and nursing.
“We get students from medical schools and other campuses that come and use this room because they find it helpful,” said Forest Park Archivist Karen Kacer, whose office is next door.
Kacer maintains a giant collection of memorabilia, photos, documents and other artifacts from the college’s history.
The Forest Park campus was built on property formerly occupied by Forest Park Highlands amusement park. The school’s sports mascot was a Scottish Highlander until the St. Louis Community College district consolidated all its teams.
“My favorite item (in the archives) is the Forest Park Highlands shield,” Kacer said. “It was the college’s first logo.”
The library also has a tutoring program and plenty of places where students can study independently. Some have large tables or comfy chairs.
“I like the quietness of the library,” said regular Derrion Williams, a student not related to the manager. “I come and use the computers to do my work. I can always concentrate.”
The public is allowed to use computers at the library for one hour at a time. Only students, faculty and staff can check out books or use laptops, calculators or printers. Some expensive course materials are available to those enrolled in classes.
The library is now evaluating and rebuilding its collection, determining which materials are relevant and timely and which are outdated and no longer useful.
“The best way to give students what they need is to have a balance in print materials and technology,” Williams said.