Future of the Branch Library


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LIS 484: Literature of Science and Technology

Final Group Project: Dig your own grave?
The future of branch libraries at college universities.

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Future of the Branch Library

  1. 1. Dig Your Own Grave? Kari Bhagat, Julie Goldman, Sara Smith LIS 484 Spring 2014
  2. 2. Are branch libraries becoming obsolete? Is there a viable future for the physical library?
  3. 3. Dig Your Own Grave? Institution Characteristics Literature Review Evaluation Methods Solutions Costs and Benefits Class Exercise and Discussion Final Thoughts
  4. 4. Institution ● Eastwestern University ● Medium sized private college in New England ● 4,000 undergraduates & 6,000 graduate students ● One of the top 50 colleges for programs in the sciences ○ Majority studying engineering ● Major financial cuts in order to maintain a working budget ○ Closure of certain branch libraries
  5. 5. Libraries ● Main Campus Library ● Life sciences library ● Engineering/Mathematics library ● Chemistry library ● Humanities library ● Business library ● Social sciences library
  6. 6. Library Characteristics ● Rachel Carson Life Sciences Library ● Located in the life sciences building on campus ● Provides support and materials for life science students and faculty ○ Collection focus on biology ● Provides personalized service to faculty members ● Offers support to undergraduate students ● Works directly with graduate students in their doctoral theses
  7. 7. Inside the Library ● 10 computer stations ● 5 group/collaborative study spaces and individual cubicles ● small requests and reserves collection ● 70 print journals in the library & 150 journals online ● monographs, gray literature, conference proceedings ● salary is split 50/50 staff and facilities & collections and resources
  8. 8. Analysis of Issues ● Library praised for customised service and strong relationship building ● University wants to streamline operations and save money ● Life sciences department facing a major increase in enrollment ● Demand for new space for teaching classrooms and labs ● Concerned with the usage by undergraduate students
  9. 9. Literature Review Academic Libraries ● Modernizing processes and responding to financial strains ● Focus on connecting and accommodating users ● Strategies to support academic community: ○ Migration away from print ○ Library as an informal learning space ○ Embed resources and librarians ○ Refocus collection to curating data
  10. 10. Lankes, R.D. (2010) ‘Libraries of the Future’ “Libraries are changing from quiet buildings with loud rooms to loud buildings with quiet rooms; from places of knowledge access to knowledge creation, and from the territory of the librarian to territory of the community”
  11. 11. Literature Review Branch Libraries ● Advantages: ease of access to resources and service ○ Flexible collections designed to the department ○ Personal attention to user needs ○ Subject specialists ○ Close to offices, labs and classrooms ○ Foster campus community ● Disadvantages: lack of control and resources ○ Do not align with central library’s standards ○ Consolidation into fewer, larger discipline libraries would be a better use of space, staff and resources
  12. 12. Literature Review Evaluation in Branch Libraries ● Assess the physical library: ○ Use ○ Primary user population ○ Library dependency ○ Facility quality ● Discuss what “value” means to stakeholders ● Scenario planning can help current issues and also plan for the future ● Survival based on economy, higher education, students and technology
  13. 13. Literature Review Changing or Closing the Branch Library ● Preferences for online access over print ○ Moving print collection to storage ○ Cancel lesser used serial titles to save costs ● Changes and closures are complicated ○ Need to communicate and address major issues ● Consolidations can support and benefit students and research ○ Enhance services ○ Eliminate duplication in collections ○ Create space in academic buildings
  14. 14. The Rachel Carson life sciences library must do a complete survey of their services, usage and space in order to determine the viability of the branch.
  15. 15. Evaluation Methods ● Quantitative survey ○ Circulation records, serial titles, and percentage online ● Calculations ○ Determine cost of circulating/keeping material and patron usage. ● Qualitative survey ○ Faculty and students ○ Collaboration, computer and study space ● Space analysis on library building ○ Utilization and areas of improvement ● Set up focus meetings with the major stakeholders ○ Group meetings to discuss user wants and needs
  16. 16. Outreach Solution ● begin to become more embedded in course curriculums ● attend department faculty lectures ● provide students with office hours to visit a subject specialist ● conduct training sessions on research tools ● promote new information ● provide custom-targeted resources
  17. 17. Space Solutions ● Solution 1: Cutting back on physical collection ○ Move remaining collection to storage ○ Implement a document delivery system Additionally: Create more study/collaboration spaces ● Solution 2: Merging with the Chemistry library ○ consolidating the holdings and services, give the Chemistry library up as space
  18. 18. Costs and Benefits ● Benefits for maintaining the library: ○ Individualized service ○ Immediate access to resources ○ Study/collaboration space near class/lab ○ Unique materials ● Cons for maintaining the library: ○ Decreasing budget ○ Reduction in services and materials to reduce costs ○ Life sciences department can not expand
  19. 19. Group Exercise and Class Discussion
  20. 20. Class Exercise In groups, use the background literature, what we have discussed in class, and your own thoughts/experience to come up with positions of your assigned stakeholder: ● Students (one undergraduate and one graduate student) ● Faculty (one from life sciences and one from another science) ● Administration
  21. 21. Class Exercise You are all employees or students at Eastwestern University. You are about to participate in a discussion group about the Rachel Carson Life Sciences Library. First, you meet up with your colleagues to have an initial discussion about your groups’ feelings towards the library. Try to address three main issues: 1. What do you want from a library? 2. What library services are important to you? 3. What is least important about the library?
  22. 22. Class Discussion You then attend the final meeting to evaluate the preferred solutions to the library space and services. The library has decided to weigh the costs and benefits of five courses of action: 1. Consolidation of resources a. Creation of additional study space 2. Merge with the Chemistry branch library 3. Close the library 4. Make no changes Which solution would be most beneficial to you?
  23. 23. Conclusion ● Library should try and migrate to online sources and provide more study rooms and group collaboration spaces ● May have to condense the collection in order for the Life Sciences department to expand into the space or merge with the chemistry library ● Surveys results, quantitative statistics and focus groups outcomes will provide the library staff and administration with the information and insight they need to make the ultimate decision on the future of the branch library
  24. 24. Final Questions? Thank you!
  25. 25. Selected Bibliography Carr, R. (2007). The academic research library in a decade of change / Reg Carr. Oxford : Chandos, 2007. Croneis, K., & Short, B. (1999). Branch libraries and discrete collections : a SPEC kit / compiled by Karen S. Croneis, Bradley H. Short. Washington, D.C. : Association of Research Libraries, Office of Leadership and Management Services, [1999], c2000. Dodd, J., Forys, J. W., & Dewey, B. I. (2000). Renovating science branch libraries: two different paths. Science & Technology Libraries, 19(1), 39-47. Hiller, S. (2004). Measure by measure: Assessing the viability of the physical library. The Bottom Line, 17(4), 126-131. Howes, B., & Zimmerman, M. (2011). The case for preserving academic branch libraries Fostering campus communities. College and Research Libraries News, 72, 9, 542-543. Hughes, J. (September 01, 1997). Can Document Delivery Compensate for Reduced Serials Holdings? A Life Sciences Library Perspective. College & Research Libraries,58, 5, 421-3 Jankowska, M., & Marcum, J. W. (2010). Sustainability Challenge for Academic Libraries: Planning for the Future. College & Research Libraries, 71(2), 160-170. Kaser, D. (2011). On Average: How Your Library Budget Stacks Up. Computers In Libraries, 31(2), 33-35. Lankes, R.D. (2010) ‘Libraries of the Future’. http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2010/DallasPL.pdf Lessin, Barton. (2001). Merging Science/Technology Libraries, Science & Technology Libraries, 21:1-2, 3-15. Lewis, D. W. (2007). A Strategy for Academic Libraries in the First Quarter of the 21st Century. College & Research Libraries, 68(5), 418-434.
  26. 26. Selected Bibliography Madison, O. M. A., Fry, S. A., & Gregory, D. (January 01, 1994). A Model for Reviewing Academic Branch Libraries Based on ACRL Guidelines and Standards. College and Research Libraries, 55, 4, 342. O’Connor, P. (2007) Future Libraries: Science and Technology, A Report on “Shaping Things to Come:” DASER III and Eighth Quadrennial Tri- Society Symposium", Library Hi Tech News, 24, 1, 9-11. Redalje, S.J. ‘Viewpoints. I am not Captain Dunsel! A (Former) Head of an Academic Library Replies to Steven Bell.’ Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. Fall 2009. Savenije, B. (2002). An Organisational Model for University Libraries in Transition. LIBER Quarterly, 12(2/3), 245-259. Shkolnik, L. (1991). The Continuing Debate over Academic Branch Libraries. College and Research Libraries, 52, 4, 343-51. Staley, D. J., & Malenfant, K. J. (2010). Futures thinking for academic librarians: higher education in 2025.(Author abstract). Information Services & Use, (1-2). 57. doi:10.3233/ISU-2010-0614. Town, J. (2011). Vale, Impact, and the Transcendent Library: Progress and Pressures In Performance Measurement and Evaluation. Library Quarterly, 81(1), 111-125. Tucci, V. (2011). Assessing Information-Seeking Behavior of Computer Science and Engineering Faculty. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 64, (5). Winterman, B. & J. B. Hill, J.B. (2010):.Continued Viability: A Review of the Life Sciences Library at Indiana University in a Time of Institutional Change and Proposed Branch Library Downsizing, Science & Technology Libraries, 29:3, 200-215 Zdravkovska, N. (2011). Academic branch libraries in changing times. Oxford: Chandos Publishing.