The Claremont Colleges are a set of 8 independent institutions that are contiguously located in the small town of Claremont California. The 7 colleges and universities, in the order of founding, include Pomona College, Claremont Graduate University, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, and Keck Graduate Institute. The Consortium makes up the 8th member of the group.
The founder of the Colleges, James Blaisdell, then President of Pomona College, had a vision to build a set of institutions that would retain their own uniqueness and then benefit from a set of shared services that would be used in common. Blaisdell thereby created not only an alliance that is now widely recognized as one of the nation’s greatest centers of liberal arts education, but also a central coordinating agency for the consortium - an organization known today as the Claremont University Consortium.
This is a Google map of the 80 Oberlin Group Libraries. There are only 6 on the West Coast, and only 16 west of the Mississippi River, with 6 of those being in Minnesota & Iowa. The others in SoCal are Whittier and Occidental and the only other in California is Mills College in the Bay Area.
Except in print.
So, what does a library do now? How do we distinguish ourselves? Since, by and large, the majority of our academic libraries are no longer able to engage in a collections – based economy any longer?
Good afternoon, and thanks for having me today. The topic of Transforming the Library has been a popular one in our profession for quite a long time. And even though transformation can imply a blossoming into something beautiful like this epiphyllum, for us in libraries, we sometimes get the feeling that our faculty view it more like Jeff Goldblum’s metamorphosis into The Fly.
Basically, our style is epitomized by the classic phrase from Field of Dreams, “Build it and They Will Come.” As a service provider, we need to focus on developing new and interesting services, doing them really well, and then having our members buy into those services.
So this example is just one of many where we hope to develop “Cylinders of Excellence”, which is my more palatable name for a ‘Silo’.
I just want to give you an example from our own recent experience. A group of our instruction librarians have developed a unique program over the past year and redefines their connection to faculty and students and provides a great example of how we can leverage our librarians to make those connections, and make them lasting and permanent.Char Booth, Natalie Tagge, and Sean Stone have developed a three part program to develop a new support structure for information instruction. Briefly, this includes Curriculum Mapping, Portfolio Development, and Rubrics.
This program starts with curriculum mapping, and they’ve leveraged a software package called Mindomo to do this. Every inistitution likes to think they are unique, but in many ways, at Claremont, we are unique or at least we present unique symptoms that make a diagnosis and treatment more challenging. Take, for instance the Environmental Analysis program. This is an intercollegiate effort with faculty and classes being taught at all 5 undergraduate colleges and it is rather loosely organized. Our staff went through the information we had and outlined the degree requirements, the courses, the field study, and study abroad options.
Just to get you thinking about what your libraries are doing or can be doing, the things that are largely services-based and not collections-based, include continuing to build and leverage the Faculty-Librarian and Student-Librarian relationships in every way possible. We need to continue to increase discovery of information. Again, this is largely a services-based function – discovery is not dependent on the local acquisition and organization of information, rather it is now information discovery at the network level – information that is owned, unowned, licensed, shared, or accessible.We should bridge the gap between those resources and the tools to use them, including information management techniques and effective usage of non-text based information.We should focus local efforts on the local stuff that is unique to our libraries. Special Collections have always been about a good mix of physical items and services built around those items.And, from an administrator’s point of view, we no longer can expect that the rest of the academy sees the library as a central core function of the educational experience but instead we need to prove our value and provide positive indicators that we have outcomes that give us reasonable return on the resources we allocate to the library.
Claremont Colleges LibraryVictims, Vigilantes, or Visionaries? Or just, Librarians at the Gate John McDonald Chief Information Officer Claremont Colleges Library Claremont University Consortium
Claremont Colleges Library Blaisdell’s Vision• “My own very deep hope is that instead of one great, undifferentiated university, we might have a group of institutions divided into small colleges—somewhat on the Oxford type—around a library and other utilities which they would use incommon. In this way I should hope to preserve theinestimable personal values of the small college whilesecuring the facilities of a great university.” —James A. Blaisdell, 1923
Librarians at the Gate: What willthey ask you to do next?
Fend them off with…• Increase discovery • We have lots of stuff that no one can find. • Students use lots of stuff…once…but can’t manage, store, preserve, and re-use effectively.• Leverage fewer people • Partner with vendors on hosted models to reduce reliance on IT • Encourage staff skills-improvement, creativity & innovation• Librarian + Faculty/Student collaboration • Automate the syllabus into a search. • Mine the syllabus and produce suggestions for
Fend them off with…• Lead users to the unique collections • Tragedy of the Collective Collection. • Why are we different from other libraries?• Focus on assessment • Dude, Where’s my KPI? • Did you help me increase my SLOs? • Can you save us from being spreadsheet jockeys? • What do those reports mean? Help us with the analysis. • Provide some future proofing.