Navigating the new Matheson: A student's perspective

As we are all aware, the Matheson Library is currently undergoing refurbishment, and while various updates are still in the works, this semester the library boasts a host of changes. I am a student at Monash and doing some casual work at the Matheson Library. Let me give you a guide to the new Jamie Julian

Access to the library has changed significantly while the refurbishment works continue through semester 2. The most important thing to note is that there is only one entrance and exit. This is located on the Robert Blackwood side of the building and takes you into the lower ground level. Painful as it is, we must go around.
Once you’re in, to access the General Collection where most books are, the two elevators on the South side (on the left as you enter) are operational from lower ground up to levels 2-5. However, if you are of the more impatient type (like myself), there is also a set of stairs in the corner behind the new Mac and PC section that renders entry to ground level as well as general collection levels 2-5.
Accessing the North side (to the right as you enter) for printing, music and multimedia, serials and various other sections is a bit more of an issue. There is only one functioning lift and the main staircase is currently being rebuilt. Nevertheless, from lower ground level there is yet another set of stairs hiding behind the new hot and cold water station. From here, you can access levels ground, 1 and 2.
When accessing the ground floor on the north side, remember to keep an eye out for events happening in the brand new gallery area. On the ground floor there is a gallery that the library is using to hold events and, in the future, to mount exhibitions. The gallery can be used by students if it’s not booked for an event. I have had two close calls of almost walking right through the middle of an event, but no serious incidents yet. Make sure you read the sign on the door before entering!  
If this all seems a bit confusing, then don’t stress! Shortly, the library will have digital wayfinders. They’re huge screens with yellow - er, bronze, frames so you won’t be able to miss them. From these you can look up the quickest route to your intended destination and be able to find whatever you need.

Printing is  a well-known nightmare when it doesn’t work! With the newly refurbished areas, there is currently operational printing on the ground and second floors on the North side (the system is extremely temperamental, so I use the term operational somewhat loosely). On lower ground, the PCs should be connected to the printers in the next couple of weeks. It is important to note here that you will not be able to print from the Macs  until the new printing service is installed in 3 – 6 months, so make sure you hop onto a PC to print!
For students wishing to print in colour, there is only one colour printer located on the ground floor. Also you must manually select the colour printer option to print in colour.
One benefit of the current printing system is that when you send a job to print, it is sent to all of the print stations. This means you can collect your print job from either the lower ground, ground or second floor printers. So if there is a queue for one, I usually knick up to another and hope there is no one using it (I recommend second floor as it’s the quietest).
Last thing about printing is, it’s not free! 12c for one black and white page, and 50c for colour. To top up money on your student card, you do so at the autoloader machines on the lower ground floor near the South side elevators (back left corner). There are also staplers and some other useful resources in the same area.
I found printing to be quite a process the first time, but straightforward and extremely useful after you’ve done it once. Also, remember, if you are ever having trouble, ask the Library staff at the information desk near the entrance.

Drop-in sessions
The Research & Learning point for daily drop-ins with the librarians and learning skills advisers is now on ground level in a fresh, newly-developed space. Drop-ins run every day from 11am-3pm. Make the most of it whilst it is still relatively quiet!

The new Research & Learning Point on the Ground floor

Study spaces
The most tangible difference between the old Matheson and the new, is the study space created on the lower ground floor. Do any of you past students remember the dingy old basement? Forget it. The new basement has completely transformed the atmosphere of the library, with new group study spaces and discussion rooms available for you to book. Furthermore, the slight difficulty in access to the Matheson also means that there is a good chance you will always find a spot for you or your group to study. Individual and shared study areas are spread throughout the entire library, the majority of which now have multiple power points installed for all your charging requirements. There are many more PCs and the library now offers desktop Macs. Amazing!

A few exciting additions on the way
  • New self-loan machines are currently being installed. No more queuing!
  • Wireless printing will save everybody the stress of finding a PC. This is coming after the exams.
  • And the café! This one could not come soon enough. A café will stand on the left-hand side of the (real) entrance to the library which will mean you can buy a nice coffee without having to leave the library.

Final parting tips
  • The self-loan machines were already pretty great, and the new ones are even better. However, make sure the spine of the book is pressed up against the side when scanning it in, otherwise the book is not desensitised and it will trigger the security barriers on your way out.
  • If the book you have borrowed does not have a 2016 overnight, 7-day or 14-day loan sticker on it, it will automatically renew for up to one year unless someone requests the book. So check your emails!
  • Fines do not need to be paid until they exceed $25.

Evidently, there are a myriad of changes taking place at Matheson. If you haven’t had time to keep abreast of what’s been happening, then hopefully this post will have been helpful!
I hope everybody finds the library as useful as I do! Good luck, and enjoy the new spaces!

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  1. This was very helpful. Also the Librarian Debbie was a great help in person.