Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Semester in Review

Now that the Library is quiet and all of the students and many of the faculty are at home to enjoy family and Christmas vacation I wanted to take the opportunity to review what has happened in the library over the last few months. It has been a good semester and I am optimistic about the future. Just over a week ago, a library feasibility study was announced and as the college plans and thinks about investing money in a new library space we need to continue to think about how the library at Union can add value to the campus. As I have said before I believe that the future of academic libraries lies in the library as place, good web site and excellent customer service. At the Summar Library we are striving to provide those things and you will hear more about ways that we are doing that in the spring but here are just a few things that we have done this fall.

I saw joining the social media conversation at Union as sort of a low hanging fruit that could be done easily. Many of the departments at Union have been using social media to get out their message. The library needed to be a part of this conversation. Thanks to many of our students to help us get fans, we now have 197. It would be nice to have 200 fans by Christmas.

There was a time when I didn't really see much point in Twitter. I have realized, however, that Twitter is a great way to keep up with real time news and advents. It is also a great way to broadcast interesting articles and resources that I come across on a daily basis. Twitter is also a great way to keep up with other  things on campus like Barefoots or Union Athletics.

Art in the Library

New Professor Haelim Allen was gracious enough to spend her time hanging some student artwork in the library for us. I wrote a blog post and am really thankful to have this art and for the art department here at Union. It would be great to have more art in the library in the future and particularly as we look to build a new library.

Banned Bible Week Display

One of the displays outside of the library featured a Tyndale translation of the Bible that was on loan from our friends at The Ryan Center. For ALA banned books week I thought it was neat to highlight the fact that the bible has also been a banned book even though it is also history's best seller.

Union Football Display

I find it interesting that there was  a time when Union University had a football team. In the library archives we have many interesting memorabilia from the Union football days. We have some old football pants and pictures from the team that played Yale University. We put this display up in October at the height of college football season which seemed to be an appropriate time.

Film Display

When I first arrived in the library I noticed that we do really have a great film collection. Many of the Oscar Winners and films from the British Film Institutes list of 100 great films in the 20th century are in our collection. Still many of the students are unaware that we do have movies since they are all tucked away in the back room of the library. Initially I wanted to display all of the films so that they will be browsable. Space has not made this possible so we have decided to promote a small rotating collection of films based on a them like films and war, english lit on film and great sports movies. Look for more films displays to come and remember that the library does have a great movie collection.

Research Coach

Of all the things that the library has done this fall I think that the Research Coach initiative has been the most important. I am very grateful to Melissa Moore, one of our public services librarians for helping to push The Research Coach forward. There was an article in the Cardinal & Cream about the Research Coach and at the height of the semester we were meeting with 3 or 4 students per day. Part of this initiative was to be more available and not just hide in our offices but I also found that with the proper advertisement of The Research Coach that students sought us out.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Union Library provided full text to one of the most important publications for Academe, The Chronicle of Higher Education. We are still striving to provide great resources so look for more to come this Spring.

Free Snacks in the Library

During Exam time we provided some free juice boxes, bottled water, cookies, granola bars and other goodies to help ease the burden of finals. I would imagine that students get pretty hungry isolated in the library with the dining hall closed. Free Snacks was just one little thing that we could do to show just how much we appreciate the wonderful students at Union.

Developments in the Spring

There are some very important developments coming in the library in the spring time. Refworks is a bibliographic citation software. Students and faculty will have free lifetime access to this useful resource. Using Refworks you can easily import citations and create bibliographies in all of the important academic formats.

In the spring we will be introducing our libguides software. These will be really robust, web 2.0, interactive guides to library resources online and in print. I am very excited about these so look for more to come.

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