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Policy for Allocation of Carrels in Frost Library

Summary

Carrels will be divided into two categories: about half in group A intended for long-term use, and half in group B for short-term use. The relative number of carrels in each group may vary over time to accommodate the changing demographics and needs of Amherst faculty, as well as changes in use of study spaces at the College.

  • Carrels in Group A are reserved for tenure-track faculty members in the humanities and social sciences, and are available for 5-year terms upon request. The library committee will try to meet as many of these requests as possible, while still reserving carrels for Group B.
  • Carrels in Group B may be assigned to regular faculty members for terms ranging from one semester (or summer) to two academic years.
  • To request use of a carrel in either group, faculty members should submit a short application to the Library Committee, outlining how the use of the carrel will benefit their work (research or course preparation) and indicate the term for which they are requesting the use of a carrel. These applications are normally due by April 1 of the year prior to intended use.
  • The Library Committee will consider all applications and forward its recommendations to the office of the Dean of the Faculty by May 15 of each year. Final decisions on carrel occupancy will be made by that office in light of overall campus space needs. Responsibility for this task will ideally fall within the purview of an Associate Dean who is charged with oversight of all space resources at the College, including offices, laboratories, and classrooms

Policy in Full

Amherst College Library Committee • April 2014
Approved by the Dean of the Faculty • 21 April 2014

This document is intended to guide the allocation to faculty members of approximately 45 study carrel rooms located in Frost Library.

Preamble

There is not at present, nor to the best of our knowledge has there ever been, a policy governing the assignment of study carrels in Frost Library to faculty members. The practice has been to assign carrels according to a waitlist. Assignments are made without term, which means that carrels only become available when a current occupant volunteers to relinquish his or her carrel back into the pool.

The Librarian of the College, who has served as custodian of the waitlist, has asked the Library Committee to consider alternative ways to allocate these spaces, and to develop a policy that makes better use of these resources.

And so we have. To our minds the main difficulty is the combination of carrel assignments “for life” with the use of a waitlist to determine who gets the next open carrel. As a result of the first feature (unlimited term), there is very little turnover from year to year, and the wait on the waitlist may be very long. This creates a type of scarcity whereby a carrel-holder is quite reasonably unwilling to give up his or her rights to a space and go back to the end of the line, even if that space is not much used in any particular year. As a result of the second feature (first-come first- served), there is no correlation between the time when a faculty member acquires a carrel and when that person may have an urgent need to use it. We therefore propose a new system, which will take effect gradually as carrels become available.

Grandfathering

Current carrel-holders will be allowed to continue using their assigned spaces according to the following guidelines:

  • Faculty members who are full professors as of July 1, 2014, may continue to use carrels assigned to them without term limit. Emeriti faculty members who currently occupy study carrels in Frost will continue to have access to those spaces without term limit as well. Under the new policy, study carrels, like offices, will not be granted to future emeriti faculty.
  • Each spring, the Library Committee will ask faculty members occupying carrels without limit if they are willing either to give up the carrel or to loan it to another faculty member for the next academic year, a single semester, or the summer.
  • All other faculty members who currently occupy a carrel will be asked to vacate their carrels by August 15, 2019. These faculty members will then join the request pool under the new procedures outlined below.

 Allocation of Carrels That Become Vacant After July 1, 2014

 All carrels not grandfathered will be divided into two categories: about half in group A intended for long-term use, and half are in group B for short-term use. The relative number of carrels in each group may vary over time to accommodate the changing demographics and needs of Amherst faculty, as well as changes in use of study spaces at the College.

  • Carrels in Group A are reserved for tenure-track faculty members in the humanities and social sciences, and are available for 5-year terms upon request. The library committee will try to meet as many of these requests as possible, while still reserving carrels for Group B.
  • Carrels in Group B may be assigned to regular faculty members for terms ranging from one semester (or summer) to two academic years.
  • To request use of a carrel in either group, faculty members should submit a short application to the Library Committee, outlining how the use of the carrel will benefit their work (research or course preparation) and indicate the term for which they are requesting the use of a carrel. These applications are normally due by April 1 of the year prior to intended use.
  • The Library Committee will consider all applications and forward its recommendations to the office of the Dean of the Faculty by May 15 of each year. Final decisions on carrel occupancy will be made by that office in light of overall campus space needs. Responsibility for this task will ideally fall within the purview of an Associate Dean who is charged with oversight of all space resources at the College, including offices, laboratories, and classrooms