There is a common misperception that those of us in the library have a long break during the summer. Many of us do get to take vacations, but the summer is usually quite busy and very productive for us. This summer, in particular, was full of activity. So, let me share a little information on some of our activities while many of you were away.
New spaces – Most folks are aware that there was construction on level 2 of the library. We’re very excited to show off our new space and hope you will join us on September 18, from 3:30-5:00 p.m., when we will hold an open house for the campus community. In addition to seeing level 2, you’ll be able to check out our newly refurbished reading room on the main level that includes a new fireplace. We’ve also created more study space on the lower level. In addition to all the construction, we survived the replacement of our elevator, which created a few challenges for retrieving and shelving books. And it is the second year of a three-year-project to replace carpet throughout the library, so we have newly installed carpet on level 3. We are fairly proud of the fact that despite the construction, we were able to keep the library open for the entire summer, including time for visiting scholars here for the NEH-funded “World Religions and World Religions Discourse: Challenges of Teaching the Religions of the World” hosted by Jim Laine, Philosophy. You can see images of the progress this summer on our Flickr Account with later images on our Instagram account.
Information LIteracy Program Learning Goals and Outcomes – The Reference and Instruction Librarians were very busy during the summer creating a new action plan for our instruction program. One of the key documents that was developed was a new detailed description of learning goals for various levels of students. The librarians also worked on preparing for a pilot program in one of the first year courses. Working with Professor Chris Wells, the librarians are looking at how to develop a program that goes beyond a one-shot classroom session. In addition to these two projects, the librarians developed a three-year plan for strategic directions they want to take with our instruction program. We will be sharing the details of these projects on our website after the start of the semester.
NEH Grant for an Open Textbook Project – We were so thrilled when we received word that a grant submitted by Britt Abel and Ron Joslin was approved to help fund development of Britt’s open textbook for German language instruction. Britt and Ron have shared information on this project at CST lunch discussions and during a SPAW session last May. We will provide more updates once we are able to share more details about this ongoing project.
Annual Report – We completed our annual summary of events in the library for 2016-17. It was another year full of events and activities. You can read our Annual Report online.
Staff Changes – We welcomed a new staff member, Trisha Burr, as Electronic Resources Librarian and said farewell to Nate Nins, one of our Evening/Weekend Supervisors. We wish Nate all the best as he starts a new position working with 3M’s service, biblioteca. We look forward to welcoming a new Evening/Weekend Supervisor sometime during September.
Loss of a dear friend of the library – It was with deep sadness that we learned of the passing in July of Professor Emeritus Ellis Dye, German. As one of the tenants on the fourth level with other retired faculty, I enjoyed many conversations with Ellis and he always had a warm, genuine smile. He was always so appreciative of the interlibrary loan service. We miss his presence in the building.
Possibly the biggest shock for us this summer – On August 2, it was announced via social media that bepress, our vendor who provides Digital Commons and our Selected Works pages, was acquired by Elsevier. For those of us who have participated in efforts to expand open access to scholarship this was a sincere blow. The library community has many concerns about this acquisition. One of the best pieces that I have read was written about the need for non-profits to control scholarly communication. Posted by the London School of Economics, you can read more on the blog posting entitled “Scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open, but non-profit too.” Many conversations are taking place in terms of possible options and whether there are new opportunities to explore if we were to migrate away from the bepres platform.
LibGuides – Other projects included preparing a guide for the faculty retreat this fall on the topic of the Liberal Arts in the 21st Century, with links to both the RPC report and related background readings. We also have prepared a guide for the International Roundtable in October: Empathy and Its Discontents. Faculty may be interested in some of the non-discipline specific guides the Research and Instruction Librarians have prepared on academic integrity and data management. You’ll find these guides under the “All Guides” tab.
New Electronic Signage – We’re in the process of installing a new electronic sign that will appear on the main level and advertise events in the building. We hope to have this in place by the second week of classes.
Those are just the highlights. We have a lot to celebrate at the start of the new year. In addition to the open house on September 18th, we hope you will mark your calendars for the first Faculty Staff Happy Hour on September 27 from 3:30-5:30 in the Harmon Room. We look forward to seeing you there!
Welcome back, and best wishes for a great start to the new academic year! If you want to stop by and see our new spaces before the 18th, President Brian Rosbenberg is graciously covering coffee and pastries for the first couple of weeks for the first hours of the day. We hope you’ll enjoy the changes we have made.