Sunday, August 24, 2008

Second Year (and a little bit).

Back on August 7th 2007, I wrote an entry celebrating everything that everyone in the library had achieved in my first year. Well time flies and my second anniversary is already growing smaller in the rear view mirror and the semester is upon us. Before we get too busy to think, here is a list (in no particular order) of what the library personnel, above and beyond their normal work, have achieved in the 2007-08 academic year.

  • Installed Findit, open link resolver.
  • R2 Consulting began our rethinking of technical services from request to shelf.
  • Revised our gift policy.
  • Began Your Librarian program.
  • Added access to Science and Nature online.
  • Started using Meebo to provide chat reference and began using Gmail for e-mail an text reference.
  • Added Credo and Oxford Reference Online, and Prokaryotes, digital reference collections.
  • Provided campus wide access to RefWorks bibliographic management software.
  • Reviewed all our multidisciplinary database offerings and added access to EBSCO's Academic Search Premier and ended access to WilsonWeb's Omnifile (thereby adding access to over 4,500 more fulltext journals, magazines, and newspapers).
  • Reviewed our anthropology database offerings and added access to AnthroSource and ended access to e-HRAF.
  • Installed rocking chairs and other furniture on the loggia and new furniture in the entrance way.
  • Installed plasma screens in the group study rooms and elsewhere in the Library.
  • Said goodbye to Janet, Kerry, Yvonne and Carolyn (all have gone on to great opportunities elsewhere).
  • Said hello to Darcella Deschambault, Denisa Metko, and Meredith Lowe.
  • Added FoxHunt, federated searching.
  • Promotion of Wenxian to full professor, mid-course reviews for Mary, Jonathan, annual review for Yvonne, annual reviews for all staff.
  • Upgrade Sirsi integrated library system.
  • Added more content to our Digital Archives including collections on Winter Park and Florida, and Treasures at Rollins Archives.
Back on August 7th, 2007 I also see that I held an ice cream party for everyone. I had better get on that right away!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Revising the Gift Policy

As part of our continuing response to R2 Consulting's report, we have revised our gift policy and are beginning the process of publicizing it on campus and beyond.

Library gift policies are delicate things. We, like all libraries, value financial and material donations. In fact, before the second world war the gifts were one of the major ways some of the great American libraries were built. But we can't accept every gift, only those that enrich our collection and support the curriculum. How do we do that while not upsetting potential donors and also making efficient use of our staff resources and facilities? It is not always an easy balance to strike. Here are the highlights our current effort to achieve that balance. I would love to hear your thoughts.
  1. We have reversed the priority of our gifts, emphasizing gifts of money rather than gifts of books and other materials.
  2. Nothing changes about gifts of money or about the Book a Year program.
  3. In terms of gifts of materials, we will require that people agree to our guidelines before accepting the gift. If not, we will help them find another library etc,. that may take the gift.
  4. We will no longer create a list of all the items given whether or not they are added to our collection. This becomes the responsibility of the donor. Previously, we devoted a lot of time to making lists for donors.
  5. If we do not add materials to the collection we will offer them to Rebecca Montaner's Book Network Project (Rebecca is a graduate of Rollins) and, if they don't take them, the materials will be discarded. Again, our previous procedures involved long periods of storage, negotiations with multiple used book dealers, attempts to place the books in other libraries, etc. A big investment in time and space.
  6. Currently, when we add a donated book to the collection we add an individualized bookplate that includes the text "Gift of [name of donor]" Again, a huge investment of time. Instead we will now add a generic Olin Library bookplate and a local note in the library's online catalog (MARC field 590) with the same text. These notes would be visible in the catalog whenever anyone views a record and also searchable.
  7. Mary Throumoulos, our Collection development Librarian, will be the point person on these gifts. She and the liaison librarian will decide what gets added to the collection. She will also be the person to suggest other possible recipients of the gift if we cannot take it.
  8. Finally, these are guidelines. We can do something different if it is in the best interests of the College in any particular case. Mary -- with input from me if necessary -- will make these decisions.
These changes are an opportunity for the library to devote staff and space to higher priority tasks. We are very grateful for donations of materials that enrich our collection and further the mission of Rollins College and we will make such donations accessible to the Rollins Community as efficiently as possible. More details are here.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Introduction of the Photocopier

Thanks to Darla Moore for telling me that the second season premiere of AMC's Mad Men included the introduction of the first photocopier to the show's fictional ad agency. Even if, like me, you have never seen the show you have probably heard about the care the producers take to represent the period, the early 1960's, accurately in terms of clothes, design, furniture, etc. So this was a good opportunity for me to see how they treated the disruptive technology of the period -- the photocopier.

My dissertation concerns the development of the Copyright Act of 1976. The Act was the result of 21 years of work by Congress, the Copyright Office, and various interest groups including librarians. During the period 1955-1976, from the perspective of librarians and publishers the photocopier was the disruptive technology. Just as the Web and digital media are for us today. Networked computers were developing and the implications for copyright were beginning to be explored, but they were not well understood. Photocopiers were improving rapidly, moving from cumbersome, expensive, mediated devices in libraries and offices to small (er), easier to use, self-serve devices located in libraries, schools, offices throughout America. This episode is just one example of what that might have been like for people at the time.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


As many of you know we tried the leather chairs in the walkway by the Circulation Desk down to the Multimedia lab. They were popular, but we heard complaints about the noise from the Circulation Desk (you might, like me, ask why someone who wanted a quiet space would sit next to a busy desk, but hey!) We heard that we should get more such chairs for the cafe. We also saw that these leather chairs frequently migrated to the cafe in the evenings.
As a temporary measure we have moved the leather chairs to the cafe with the thought that if they were popular in a noisy walkway, they would be even more popular in the cafe. The coffee tables don't match for the moment, but we will work on that.
We continue to work on getting more comfortable furniture throughout the library. For the moment the walkway will be empty.