Hillman goes pro with new equipment collection

Students are used to checking out books on reserve at Hillman Library — now they can do the same with a vlogging kit.

The University Library System launched the Hillman Equipment Collection Monday. The Collection, which consists of an assortment of audio and visual equipment, is available for use by any Pitt student, staff or faculty member with a Pitt ID.

Items in the collection include five podcasting kits, five portable projectors, a Zoom Audio Recording Kit, two Hero5 GoPros with optional selfie sticks, five vlogging kits and two Logitech Conference Call Stations, among other pieces.

The collection follows the same checkout procedure as items in reserve collections. All equipment is first come, first served and has a three-day loan period with no renewals.

Abigail Jacobsen, a library senior specialist and the equipment room coordinator, and Jessica Stewart, a library specialist, said several students have already been borrowing the new equipment.

Jacobsen said the library staff was inspired to acquire this new equipment collection when they started lending out production equipment from a separate reserve section specifically for students taking certain classes in the English Department and Film Studies program in 2015. Other students began stopping by asking if they could borrow the equipment as well, but they were not allowed access to this reserve collection.

“A couple of our colleagues started working with faculty and they’re like ‘I wish we had these audio recorders, these things that would really help with our classwork,’” she said. “Word of mouth and strategic auditing brought forth this collection that we have now.”

Jacobsen and Stewart said Kornelia Tancheva, the Hillman University Librarian and Director, was instrumental in supporting this vision and noticed that students needed greater access to different types of equipment.

“One of the things that she keeps hammering home is that the library she sees as like a site of creation, and for people to be able to create content and not just to come here and read a book or to look at something,” Stewart said.

Jacobsen said the library system purchased all of the new equipment that can be found in the collection but declined to say the exact cost. Funds are allocated by the library to the purchasing as well as maintenance of the equipment.

Randall Halle, the Director of the Film and Media Studies Program and a professor of German Film and Cultural Studies, said the University has had plans to update library technologies for some time.

“The Library and the Center for Teaching and Learning have really been at the forefront of really thinking about how to bring new technology to students in the classroom,” Halle said. “What you’re experiencing here at the library is exactly that. It’s the outgrowth of recognizing that we want to have teaching of impact here.”

Nathaniel Palmer, an undeclared first year who works in the Equipment collection at Hillman, said he thinks the new items will be popular with students and give them greater ability to express themselves creatively.

“You might not have the resources to do something like that, but you go to a University, so I feel like the University should be providing that kind of stuff to people,” he said.

Jacobsen said while the business has thus far been slow, she is confident that more students will be stopping by after spring break.

Jon Engel, a sophomore studying computer science who is involved with Pitt’s WPTS Radio Station, said he thinks this collection will be useful to students and possibly lead people to delve deeper into these interests, such as podcasting and other audio-visual experiences.

“I think in that way, it would help people who are already interested in that pursue that in a not super involved way like we do, and it will also help engender an interest in that kind of stuff,” he said.

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