News & Exhibits


Thoughts from the Dean: Noise in the Library

The issue of noise in the Library comes up from time to time, so let me share a few thoughts on this topic.

First, Libraries in general have changed a great deal in the past 25 years. Most of our products are offered digitally today and can be accessed from a computer worldwide. This changes the way we use our physical Library space since you no longer have to be in our building to use our resources. I see the Library as the central hub of our campus. Think of it as Biola's living room. Much like the living room in many homes, our Library provides a haven from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. It is usually a quiet and orderly place where we are at our very best for honored guests. But, like most living rooms, we also entertain friends here, watch a movie or make music from time to time, and share convivial conversation with family and friends over light refreshment. Since our Library (living room) is rather large, we are able to accommodate several of these functions at one time. Our Heritage Cafe, Lobby, Reading Room, and outdoor Terrace are good examples of different types of spaces where differing noise levels can be expected. On occasion, this dynamic and convivial environment can create some challenges for those who may have different expectations from the Library. Here are some strategies for meeting those occasional challenges.


You can expect to find a safe and quiet space to study somewhere in our Biola Library. Note I said somewhere. Among the 95,000 square feet in our Library, there are spaces that tend to be more quiet than others. Usually, the lower level of the Library has the most quiet areas. Also be aware that, due to the acoustics of the building, spaces near the central circle on each floor are more noisy because sound tends to echo in these areas. The Upper Level central corridor is probably the noisiest area in the Library. Much of this comes from the design of the building itself rather than noisy patrons. Groups of people talking at a reasonable conversational level in this area will be amplified by the large central cylinder that creates the skylight. In addition, on occasion you may find that you are located in a space where a planned event or activity in that part of the Library (usually the Reading Room) will create a distraction. If you are not interested in attending the event, this may require you to move to a more quiet location. Some of our patrons prefer to tune out distractions by listening to music on their headphones. If you do not have headphones the Circulation Desk on the middle level can check out a set to you free of charge.


One complaint I hear comes when a patron or patrons make(s) noise that distracts others from their study. There are definite ways to deal with this effectively. Here is a list of the best steps to handle this situation. 

  1. Politely ask the person or persons who are disturbing you to please keep his or her voice down. This is probably the most effective step you can take. It is impossible for Library staff to be omniscient and omnipresent and know when and where someone is making noise at all times. Most of our patrons are friendly and respectful and will comply when nicely asked to lower their voices.
  2. If you are uncomfortable doing #1 above, or if it fails to achieve the desired result, speak with a Library staff, preferably the Reference Services Assistant (RSA), to ask the noise-maker to keep his or her voice down. You can use the “Chat With Us” feature on our Library webpage to contact a Reference Services Assistant immediately.
  3. If step #2 fails to achieve the desired result, ask the RSA to contact Campus Safety to send an officer to address the problem.
  4. If Campus Security has been called, you may wish to move to a different location until the situation is remedied. 

Some patrons feel the Library Student Assistant, such as those who you see taking the population count, should address the noise problems, however, these people are focused on what they are doing and may not be aware of a disturbance that may have taken place before he or she arrived in the area. Also, the volume level of talking may not seem problematic to the Library Student Assistant, or even others in the area. Some people are more sensitive to noise than others. If it is bothersome to you then it is appropriate that you speak up, either to the noise maker directly or to Library staff immediately. Speaking to the people causing the problem right away is key here since we really cannot take any specific action after the parties causing the problem have left the building. Posting signs has proven ineffective since people do not read signs generally and, for the most part, those that do read them are usually not the ones causing disturbances in the first place. That is why speaking to the noise maker directly has proven the most effective method to address the problem.

I hope some of these suggestions prove useful.

In His Service,
Gregg S. Geary, Ph.D.
Dean of the Library

Biola Library Joins ACL and ATLA Reciprocal Borrowing Programs

Biola University Library is now participating in two new reciprocal borrowing programs offered by the following associations—the Association of Christian Librarians (ACL), and the American Theological Library Association (ATLA).  Biola students currently enrolled in a graduate program and whose library account is in good standing may be eligible to participate in one or both programs. The programs are not available to undergraduate students, staff or faculty at this time. Please visit the Reference Desk for specific information about each reciprocal borrowing program, including a list of participating ACL and ATLA libraries around the country. Graduate students may participate in these programs by visiting or contacting the Reference Desk to obtain an authorization form which is issued for the current Biola semester or term. Library access and checkout privileges are determined by the lending library.

For more information, please contact the Reference Services at (562) 903-4838, or email Julie Ellis, Head of Access Services,

News from the Dean: Lockers Available for Doctoral Students

In an effort to enhance service to our graduate students at the doctoral level, the Library now provides lockers for doctoral students who are currently working on their dissertation. We hope that these lockers make it more convenient for those whose doctoral work requires them to utilize many library resources and other research materials. We want to facilitate your work as much as possible as you endeavor to complete this major component of your academic work.

The Library will receive a list of eligible students from the Registrar’s Office each semester to verify eligibility. Lockers are available in the Middle Level Copy Room  and may be used to store personal items and checked-out library materials (subject to certain restrictions). Lockers are assigned to eligible students on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lockers can only be held until the end of the current semester. Applications will typically be accepted on the first day of the academic semester until all lockers are assigned; after that, applications will not be accepted.

Click here to apply for a locker.

Locker Policies

Lockers are opened and monitored weekly by library staff.

Library materials kept in lockers must be properly checked out. Any library item which cannot be checked out (including reference books, periodicals, and other non-circulating materials) may not be left in lockers. If any ineligible library items are found, they will be removed and a $5.00 fee per item may be applied to your account. Standard overdue and replacement fees will apply for items left in locker beyond their due date.

Food, drink, or other perishable items may not be kept in the locker.

At the end of the loan period, it is expected that the locker holder will empty their locker of all items, including personal items. Any personal items found in a locker at the end of a term will be taken to Campus Safety, located next to the Cafeteria.

The library is not responsible for items left in a locker.

Media Services Will Become Tech Commons

The Biola Library and Information Technology (IT) departments have collaborated to rename Media Services to the Tech Commons, beginning on February 1, 2017. We will work on enhancing services for the Biola community through the spring semester and into the summer of 2017. Below is an explanation of what, who, when, where, and why behind the creation of the Tech Commons in the Library.

What is a Tech Commons?

The Tech Commons is a combination of relevant Media Services functions, such as the loaning of media equipment, and IT Help Desk services, such as support with printing, computer applications, and help with personal laptop computers. The Library and IT Dept will continue to develop innovative and creative services designed to provide technology and media to enhance the learning and research environment for the Biola community. Some Media Services responsibilities that are costly and lesser-used will cease, such as audio duplicating services.

Who operates the Tech Commons?

Both the Library and IT departments will partner to set strategic goals, establish services, coordinate policies, and continue to develop the future vision of the Tech Commons. The IT Department will manage all the operational aspects of the Tech Commons including the hiring, training, scheduling, and management of all student employees.

What are the hours of the new Tech Commons?

February will be a transition period as the student workers in Media Services and the IT Help Desk will be cross-trained. During this transition period the Tech Commons will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  These hours are reduced from the previous Media Services hours. We will expand hours of operation as soon as training is complete.

Where will the Tech Commons be located?

Initially the Tech Commons will be located in the current Media Services offices. Very rapidly, however, the Writing Center will move a short distance toward the windows at the east end of the Middle Level of the Library. The vacated space will become the technology service desk of the Tech Commons. In addition, new power-up tables and chairs will be located where the Writing Center cubicles now stand.

Why was the Technology Commons created?

A review of services offered by the Library revealed a duplication of media services by other departments in the university. Working with IT, it was determined that redundant services, equipment, and associated costs could be eliminated or reduced by joining forces. In addition, new and improved services could be delivered by combining the Library's media equipment inventory and work force with IT's expertise in computer and technology support. The main objective is to deliver - from a more centralized and accessible location - highly visible, high quality technology service and media support, that will enhance the learning environment for students, faculty, and staff at Biola in a streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

Library Website Update

Last semester, we updated our website to make finding resources even easier. Here's a summary of what has changed:

New Search Box: Located prominently on the home page, a multi-tabbed search box is available for easy access to our most popular resources, such as databases, journal titles, and course reserves. The Everything tab allows you to search for books, media items, and articles with our new discovery service, provided by EBSCO. Direct links to the Biola Library Catalog and LINK+ Catalog are still available.

New Navigation: The top menu bar has been updated to make it easier for you to find answers to frequently asked questions. The “How Do I” menu will provide quick access to practical information about the library. The “Services” menu will allow you to find information tailored to your specific Biola status (i.e. student, staff, faculty). The “Help” and “About” tabs have been streamlined and new photos have been added throughout the site.

We look forward to your feedback! Please take our short survey and let us know what you think.


Art Exhibit: UN/DIVIDED

Spring 2017 - Biola University Library, Middle Level

Each fall semester we invite a group of Biola art students to create new work inspired by the annual University theme. This year several sculpture classes took up the challenge, reimagining their sculptural creations through photography and reflecting on Biola’s current theme — ”Undivided.”

In an unexpected twist, the vast majority of these students reflected on the theme with strictly abstract formal design and compositional approaches. They have created images that explore the many ways that lines, light, and surface, can act in ways to both unify and divide the visual field.

A simple line can be an act of connection, joining distant points and drawing them together; but the line simultaneously acts to divide, serving as a barrier that slices across the field between those points. Likewise, light and shadow can create the illusion of division and separation where there is also a sense of formal unity; solid three-dimensional objects are rendered through photography as  separate/independent flat shapes while in truth they exist as pieces of one whole. By contrast, reflective surface treatments act to visually unify an object with its environment, at times the separation between the object and its surroundings may even become entirely indistinguishable.

Through this project, we hope to offer both students and visitors a unique opportunity to reflect on the many facets of the university theme in a multitude of fresh and unexpected ways.

- Biola University Art Department



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