Getting to the Heart of the Matter


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  • 9 librarians, all with faculty status. Responsibility for functional areas of the library plus several liaison roles with departments and/or schools. Over the past 15 or so years, librarians have built a strong presence, very much peers with teaching faculty and respected by administration. CARLI, the Illinois statewide academic consortium – includes all the state academic libraries including UIUC and 2-year community colleges, many smaller privates like IWU, some special such as Art Institute of Chicago. Strong commitment to resource sharing, excellent ILL services. Consortialpurchasing is extremely important CD policy written 2001 needs revising; mission remains To support teaching, coursework and study and To support student research. E-resources were just being integrated with TS workflow - kept adding, not cancelling serialsNo weeding in recent memory. Added thousands of books, many in poor condition and outside our collection policy. Approaching capacity. Allocations based on old allocation formula that had grown ad hoc.We kept coming back to variations on questions the required the same type of information to make good decisions: Do we need title X? Do we need perpetual rights for e-journal X? Can we get rid of multiple copies of book X? If our budget is cut again, which resources do we cut?Answers depended on our curriculum and how faculty use the library for their courses and assignments.
  • Belmont presentationBelmont'sProvost had directed their UL to review the allocation formula for library materials budget in order to meet two goals: link the new university learning goal of information literacy to the purchase of library materials and address a long-standing disparity in the allocation of funds among the academic departments. The librarians undertook a course analysis based on each department’s course catalogs and syllabi. Identified information literacy components and level of need for library resources - ranked according to "library resource needs" scale. Met with department chairs.SUNY Potsdam serials review project New way of doing thing – don’t start lengthy lists and spreadsheets with complex data. Instead : Used an interview process to get to the broader issues:What resources do we need to support the curriculum? What resources (and in what format?) do we need in order to best support student learning? -- and not "what journals need to be in the library" or "which titles can we cancel.“ After interviews, librarians worked with lists and spreadsheets, coming up with short serial title lists to present to departments.
  • Phase I interviews with faculty – 2010-2011 – just finishingPhase II begins now through 2013 - gather usage statistics, costs and other data, compile title lists by discipline, and work with faculty to identify our core, identify candidates for weeding and cancellation. What we learn from interviews, in addition to quantitative data, will be able to establish priorities and more efficiently complete a set of specific collection tasks:
  • In the summer 2010 – We conducted a test pilot with two small groups of librarians and faculty from a variety of disciplines. Invited to free lunch. Their feedback was critical and we had interesting results. Some faculty assumed some sort of hidden agenda behind the questions. Our purpose was simply to gather information - as well as just have a conversation and explore the relationship between librarians and faculty. A sense of guilt from faculty who don't rely much on library resources for their pedagogy or assignments. Look to faculty for expertise: A political scientist who does polling suggested we change the order of the questions: ask the questions about their own research and subject areas first, as a warm up.
  • Ames was deeply involved in the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL) Project, which was a two-year study of the student research process.  Funded by an LSTA grant, the goal of the project was to understand how students do research, and how relationships between students, teaching faculty and librarians shape that process.  Ames Library was one of five participating Illinois academic libraries. The ERIAL interviews were conducted by a project anthropologist – Andrew Asher – using structured interviews and open-ended questions. I consulted with Andrew about our interview questions and on conducting the interviews, and also about capturing and analyzing faculty responses. Such as: Let faculty know how much time the interview would take – advised keeping them to 45 minutes.Be specific - instead of asking "What library resources do you think the library needs to support student learning?" reframe the question as, "Thinking about your classes this semester - name a couple resources you used.“Andrew advised us to keep it simple, and suggested using Google Forms to capture responses. A Google form is automatically connected to a spreadsheet so responses entered in the form is automatically collected in a spreadsheet and can then be read, sorted, and analyzed. I created a form which the librarians used to enter the information captured in the interviews from their own notes, rather than recording and transcribing.
  • Got course list from Registrar before proceeding – asked faculty to verify info and answer these following questions:
  • Characteristics:Give examples: format,primary/secondary, ease of access, type of information (texts, data, music scores).
  • Librarians entered condensed versions of the responses to each of these questions into Google Docs. I also asked each librarian to provide me with a 1-2 page summary for each of their liaison departments, responding to the following questions:
  • 191 tenure lines – adjustments: leaving out ourselves, visiting faculty, administrators, and some such as studio musicians. We targeted 136, we interviewed 118 = 87% Answers will vary depending on institutions – here are some of ours:Our younger faculty especially have strong research agenda and are very competitive. Most of their research is immediately relevant to their courses and curriculum. Many of our scientists collaborate with faculty and post-docs at other institutions.Surprised: How many faculty use Illinois libraries and document delivery for their own research. HUMANITIESHumanities’ favorite publishers by far are Oxford and Cambridge but many use online speciality bookstores, networks of colleagues, and professional orgs to keep up with literature in their field. Surprised that format not important for secondary sources, even in humanities - although Print texts highly preferred for course material/texts, as well as personal preference for faculty. Surprise: GSR loves ACLS Humanities E-book collection PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS – Commonality: Curricula emphasize specific skills. All would like various e-content: high res images, audio and video streamingDifferences - Music and theatre most similar in pedagogy - application of theory. Both say collection is relevant,Art is applied only – indifferent. Surprise: NURSING faculty want popular films/YouTube/TV that demonstrates concepts. NOT surprised: Business, Econ, - want current, online, journalsNOT surprised: Natural Science - in general, electronic format is important for ease of access in addition to current content, though some faculty prefer print for reading and study (course texts).Surprise: Physics values monographs as much as journals Surprised at the split in Psycholoogy between neuropsychology and clinical/applied psych – monographs are still important for clinical/applied  
  • Overall, faculty say they are highly satisfied with our services and our collections. Many faculty had high praise for our document delivery services, and as I mentioned, appreciate the service for their own work. Many also seem aware that our collections are for our curricula, not for their personal research projects. ILL - Huge satisfaction for faculty and especially meeting students' assignment needs Format: E is OK for journals, less clear for "books“ -- JSTOR What to WD and similar projects are a givenVIDEO in curriculum - very important. Also a problem with stolen/missing DVDs. Need streaming for A/VInfo Lit New opportunities in some depts and individual faculty for info lit - experiential learning; Faculty not always as aware as we think they are about our resources: for example, Faculty like the consultative role regarding collections but they seem to trust us to make good decisions, keeping in mind their needs and priorities for the curriculum.
  • Librarians thought the process was very worthwhile, despite the considerable investment of time and good will. We all discovered new opportunities to connect to our faculty in multiple ways: collection building, information literacy, assistance with faculty research, suggestions for resources they may be unaware of. The interview format, for most of us, provided a new avenue of communication with faculty we have not worked closely with, and a different type of engagement with those faculty we are already familiar with.
  • Will use info to inform our work on Phase IIOne type of action taken: Shifting funds to Recurring for Bio/Chem/CS, also PoliSci in reverseLOOKING AHEAD TO PDA, PPV, EBOOKS
  • The future: Concerns: Mainly about ILL and resource sharing. What will ebook packages, pay per view, and other collection trends do vis a vis our consortial advantage? Big universities shifting position away from comprehensive collections, move into “the cloud.” Multiple copies in consortia.What did we miss?
  • Getting to the Heart of the Matter

    1. 1. What Faculty Tell Us about How OurCollections Support Student Learning 2011 Charleston Conference Marcia Thomas Illinois Wesleyan University
    2. 2.  2,100 students, 191 Faculty Curriculum in liberal arts, fine arts, and professional programs Schools: Nursing, Theater, Art, and Music Liberal Arts: 25% business majors
    3. 3.  New building 2002 450,000 volume capacity 9 librarians Collections Librarian and Information Literacy Librarian 2009 CARLI – statewide academic consortium
    4. 4. “Tying information literacy to a library materials budget: repackaging the formula to meet learning goals.” Jenny Rushing & Dawn Stephen, Belmont U. Charleston Conference 2009“Changing the way libraries and faculty assess periodical collections in the electronic age.” Jenica Rogers, SUNY Potsdam. Against the Grain Nov. 2006
    5. 5.  Ensure relevant and vital collections Ensure money used to purchase or provide access to best possible resources for users and curriculum Long term planning for collection management Identify “core” resources for easy and continuous access, long-term maintenance or archiving Faculty involvement critical to aligning collections with current curriculum Challenge librarians’ assumptions
    6. 6.  Shift format from print to online Prioritize expenditures for budget planning Identify candidates for weeding & cancellation Identify “legacy” and core titles Revise collection development policy
    7. 7.  Faculty interviews Record and document interviews Synthesize/analyze data from interviews Report to departments and administration
    8. 8. Library Advisory CommitteeFree lunch!Ask the experts
    9. 9.
    10. 10. 1. What are your fields and subfields of scholarship?2. What professional associations do you belong to?3. Do you edit or review for any journals? If yes, which?4. Which publishers are most important for your field and subfields? Do you receive catalogs for these or other publishers?5. What collections (physical or virtual) do you use that are outside of our own?
    11. 11. 1. What courses do you teach regularly?2. Which courses do you teach infrequently?3. What courses do you have in development? Please include courses you teach in interdisciplinary programs.
    12. 12. 5. What are your overall pedagogical goals when developing assignments for your students?6. Are our collections and resources relevant with respect to assignments?7. Are there ways in which the library might support, or further support, your goals and the work of your students?
    13. 13. 8. Are there any particular characteristics of those resources that are important for teaching that course, or meeting the pedagogical goals of assignments and research projects?9. Are there any particular characteristics that are important for teaching in your discipline and interdisciplinary programs?10. Are there resources we don’t have that we ought to consider? Or areas of the collection that could be improved?
    14. 14. What did I learn? Surprises? Confirmations?What will I report back to the departments?How will this data inform impact my decision making about collections and other liaison responsibilities, such as instruction?
    15. 15.  Video Interlibrary Loan Format Information Literacy Faculty role in collection development Faculty awareness
    16. 16. “I think the utility of the interviews worked bothways: the faculty were directed to reflect on thelibrary in an engaged way, and I was directed to askthem questions that I had pre-supposed the answersto. Sometimes my suppositions were right, andsometimes they were only what I wanted to think.For their part, I believe these discussions openeddoors of communication that will allow futureconversations to occur more easily. I think weplanted the seeds of how the library can impactpedagogy and student research habits.” Karen Schmidt, IWU University Librarian
    17. 17. Follow up: Respond to requests Report backPhase II: Revise collection development policy Revisit allocation Weeding Identify core resources Serials and database review
    18. 18. Rushing, Jenny, and Dawn Stephen. “Tying Information Literacy to a Library Materials Budget: Repackaging the Formula to Meet Learning Goals.” Belmont University. Charleston Conference, Jenica. "Changing the way Libraries and Faculty Assess Periodical Collections in the Electronic Age." Against the Grain 18.5 (2006): 38, 40, 42, 44. Marcia Thomas email: