Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Great Spring!

Photo: Librarians at the Open House April 11, 2011
It is that time once again when all the students have gone home after the end of a wonderful semester and an inspiring graduation ceremony. It really was a great spring for Union with the announcement of a New Library and so much more.  I still believe that throughout my career I would like define the library in terms of space, services and web and so I will try to outline what happened this past spring along those three categories.

Library as Space: I am a big believer in the "library as space". I think the library can be a 3rd place on campus for academic interaction. At the time much of our focus and resources has been looking to the new library. In the meantime we have tried keep our current space clean, friendly and well organized. We have put out some interesting film displays like the one on Charlie Chaplin. There are also some new posters hanging in the library and of course the Fitts Collection is on display as well.

On April 11, in the library we had another exciting open house with lots of home made treats. This was my first open house and I was pleased with the number of people who showed up and the food was great. The open house is pictured above and we hope to do it well again next year. Thanks to everyone who showed up.

Library as Services: This spring the Research Coach service was busier than ever. There were months when I had close to 40 research coach appointments and I know that Melissa Moore was very busy helping students as well. We want students to know that a librarian is always available to help them navigate the resources that we provide. In the fall we would like to continue to promote this service.

On April 5 the Library participated in the Union Health & Benefits Fair. This was a really fun event. We got a chance to meet a lot of people around campus, find out about services that Union provides and promote some of the library services. Most people don't think about the library as a benefit to staff but the library provides a lot of great things for staff like the ability to research your ancestry via Ancestry Library Edition. You can also check out a variety of popular films, books and music.

One of the coolest things that the library has  had a chance to do was to create a Podcast.  The other day a student told me that they listened to the Podcast. This made me day to think that students were listening to the podcast. In our latest episode we interviewed our director, Anna Beth Morgan, to discuss the announcement of a new library and steps that the library is taking to be prepared for the new library.

Library as Web: Just last summer the library completely reorganized the website. We have tried to organize it in a way that makes information easy to find. Most of what you need to start your research is underneath the section "Research". Including in this are our new "Research Guides" This is something that we have developed new for the spring. Research guides are designed as easy-to-use web pages that bring together everything that you need to do your research. We have developed research guides for each subject matter and can even develop them for specific courses.

The other thing that we rolled out this semester in terms of the web was Refworks. Refworks is a cloud based tool that works seamlessly with most of our databases and Google Scholar. You can simple use it to export citation information, store all of your research and generate bibliographies. I have found it a useful tool.

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