‘Club Richter’: the place for all of your academic needs

Once you begin to settle into your new dorm rooms, you might soon find the need for a place to get away and take a break from it all.

The Otto G. Richter Library is just the place to escape the noisy halls of the campus dorm facilities.

Right in the heart of campus, the library is always within reach of students.

But that’s not what it’s all about.

This nine-story building has a lot to offer.

On the first two floors, the library has an information commons with more than 150 computers. It is the perfect place for students to check e-mail and work on assignments. Almost every floor includes secluded study rooms which are great for group sessions. For independent study, turn to the stacks for isolation.

“I come here for the computer area where I get most of my work done,” junior Chelsea Monteleone said.

Recent graduate Mark Huber visited the library for two reasons.

“I come to the library in between classes, but mostly for group projects,” he said.

Most importantly, the librarian is there to assist students.

Scott Britton, director of access, information and research services, said he wants all freshmen to remember a simple rule.

“Before you start any research project, the first step should be talking to a librarian,” he said.

Britton said that that simple step will save time.

“It’s not cheating to ask for help right away,” he said.

First-time students should also be familiar with the library’s resources.

New books are constantly arriving. Richter has a wide range of collections, including best sellers, popular journals, references and the most recently added graphic novel section.

If students have any trouble finding a particular book, the reference desk will quickly give navigation tips on how to search online. In the event that the library does not have the requested book, the ILLiad (Interlibrary Loan System) will have it shipped from another university library.

Students can also learn new programs. The digital media lab on the first floor is equipped with newer-model Apple computers that are available to all who enter. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. This room is unique compared to other computer labs.

Bryanna Herzog, the digital media service manager, stressed her focus on support.

“The biggest thing we offer is trouble-shooting, teaching students what they want to learn,” she said.

Assistants at the digital media center help students of all majors with projects ranging from Photoshop, video editing and creating websites. Almost all computer software programs are available there.

On the eighth floor, the library has a Special Collections Department. What makes it so unique is that people have the opportunity to see, use and touch 500-year-old books, 18th-century maps and blueprints, and modern ‘zines, which are cheaply printed magazines that focus on specific genres like sexuality, music and culture.

Special Collections produce roughly four exhibits a year, mostly centering on South Florida history.

“Diverse populations that help make South Florida what it is today are backed up by historical evidence,” said Cristina Favretto, who heads the department and elaborated on the major diversity theme that the special collections offer.

Information on the history of South Beach is among the wide range of South Florida topics in the Special Collections.

In addition, there is a whole section devoted to Cuban heritage that can be found on the second floor.

“There is everything you need to know about Cuba from its discovery to present day,” said Lesbia Varona, bibliographer and reference librarian of the Cuban Heritage Collection.

All students visit the library for a number of reasons.

Another recent graduate, Daniela Erazo, used to tend to the philosophy and religion books placed on the seventh floor.

“It’s important to get familiar with the equipment offered and floors available so you don’t waste time,” she said.