Occasionally, when looking for a book or movie in IUCAT, you might think you have found just what you were looking for, only to meet great disappointment. That season of Burn Notice you wanted, perhaps, or that copy of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games is held, alas, at a Residence Hall Library! Many students who live off campus, along with most faculty, staff and visitors, will find this discovery quite troubling. They’re not quite sure what it means when they see locations such as “Apt Housing Comm Library” or “Forest Mov Mus More” in IUCAT; these locations certainly sound foreboding. This post should provide you with better information about the RPS (Residential Programs and Services) Libraries and how they serve the information needs of the IU Bloomington community.
The RPS Libraries are a system of 12 libraries and “Movies, Music and More” (MMM) locations. These libraries and MMM’s are located within the residence halls, to serve the needs of on-campus residents. They offer movie and television shows on DVD, music CD’s, magazines, and — at the larger locations — fiction and nonfiction books. Most of these locations also offer study space and Wi-Fi access via IU Secure. During the school year, these libraries and MMM’s are open every night, from 5pm – midnight, with the exception of the Apartment Housing Library (in Campus View), which is open from 3pm – 9pm.
The RPS Libraries fall under the operational umbrella of Residential Programs and Services and are emphatically separate from the IU Bloomington Libraries. The RPS Libraries date to 1940, when Dr. Herman B Wells, in partnership with the Director of the Halls of Residence, Alice Nelson, visited several Ivy League universities to research their dormitory library systems. Later that year, the first Halls of Residence Library was opened at IU in the Men’s Residence Center, known today as the Collins Living Learning Center. The next year, 1941, saw the opening of a comparable library in the Women’s Residence Center. After World War II, as IU designed and constructed many new residence halls, Dr. Wells insisted that the plans include space for in-hall libraries. An interesting point: for over 30 years, as these Halls of Residence Libraries flourished, they operated almost entirely on funds raised from vending machines sales. It was not until 1974 that they came under the funding and organization of the IU Libraries. In 2001, the Halls of Residence Libraries became separate again, as their administration was transferred to RPS.
Primarily, the RPS Libraries exist to serve the residents of on-campus housing. In order to borrow materials from these locations, you must live in one of the residence centers. Note: Residents’ borrowing privileges extend across all the RPS Libraries. If a student lives in Teter, he is not restricted to just the Teter Library but, rather, may use all 12 locations. Living off campus, however, should not completely discourage a person who wants to use RPS Libraries materials for research purposes. If a needed book is located in one of the RPS Libraries, the patron should feel free to enter the library during its operating hours and use the book in-house.
For a list of the RPS Libraries’ locations, Center Supervisor contact information, and further information, visit the RPS Libraries Service Page. For more history on the RPS Libraries, visit the IU Archives’ Halls of Residence Libraries page.
Flynn, D. A. (1993). There’s no place like home: a history of the Halls of Residence Libraries at Indiana University, Bloomington. Indiana Libraries, 12(1), 2-10.