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In the few short months I have been here as the Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian, I have been happy and energized by the use and appreciation we see of the Olin and Science Libraries and the people who work therein.

I have also spent my initial time here trying to show that we are more than just buildings and books for homework or scholarship. My mission is to show that the Wesleyan Libraries house resources for all times of need.

And I think this Election Week showed that this is such a time of need.

I, along with many here on campus and in our community, have been experiencing shared shock, anger and sadness, both from the results and the events leading up to it. In many ways, it’s personal; my partner and I both represent communities that have been marginalized. And he and I both come from areas where our political affiliations did match those of our neighbors. Which also means we were seeing different sorts of resources.

And this is one of the biggest issues we see now. We tend to seek information that reinforces our own beliefs and needs. Social media creates algorithms so that we get additional information based on what we say we like, so it’s even easier to find “fact driven” results to support our own arguments.

And both sides then feel that their “facts” are correct, because both sides have used what they feel are accurate sources, even if they were based on previous research. Even I, as a librarian and information provider, let my own feelings for social justice shape my political media bubble.

But I’m not here to say that articles or infographics or even Facebook memes you read were incorrect, no matter your political position. Rather, the information bubble that surrounds us often prevents us from seeing the other “facts.” And being more aware of what’s beyond our own resources can only help in our fight towards a better understanding of how we ended up where we are in this country and in the world.

Libraries are never truly “neutral” as we hope to serve as much truth about all factions to all needed parties. A Library’s mission is to support everyone, including marginalized and underrepresented communities. We serve all critical thinkers. We try to provide as much information as possible so you can find what you need to make a critical decision, be it in your Honors thesis or just wanting to know more about a current event.

Come talk to the Librarians here in Olin and in the Science Library and not just for your class assignment. Learn about the resources, databases, data sets, and mainstream and alternative press (both current and historical) that we have, literally, at our fingertips. Use what we have to not only form your own critical decisions, but understand what others are seeing.

Break those bubbles and gain more information as you work on our collective and collaborative future. Information is power, but only if we look at all of it.

Despite the continuing expansion of e-books as one of many choices within academic libraries, many libraries, Wesleyan among them, continue to remain concerned about making sure that scholarship of the past, in the form of books or printed journals, remain accessible to those who prefer the printed format or wish to delve into areas that are not currently topical but may help inform the present. Over the last year and a half, a collection of liberal arts institutions, all members of the Oberlin Group in the northeast area, have been working on how to answer that challenge. This shared concern about preservation of materials has resulted in a proposed regional repository called EAST (Eastern Academic Scholars Trust).

Wesleyan University Library was in on the ground floor of initial discussions, and the previous library administration started working in October 2013 with several other Oberlin Group libraries in the Northeast to plan the logistics of how such a repository would work, to develop guidelines for retention of monographs and serials, to determine how to best analyze collections across institutions, and to seek funding to defray anticipated start-up and related costs. The mission of EAST is to “assure scholars (faculty members and students) in the Northeast of the United States the widest possible access to the scholarly record of print monographs and print journals and serials through multi-library collaborative arrangements that ensure that copies of even less frequently used materials are retained in sufficient numbers to be readily available to meet the needs of library patrons.” While still in its early stages of planning, interested schools were recently asked to commit to EAST and serve, if interested, in participating as a repository library for monographs, journals, or both. By design, this repository as currently planned will be a distributed model rather than items being held at a single location. A library committed to the EAST project commits to a minimum retention period of fifteen years. Wesleyan Library signed such a participation document for monographs in early January.

While Wesleyan has a deep and rich monographic collection due to its long history, participation in this repository will provide rapid and far reaching access to materials it does not have in its own collection. At the same time, it will allow participating institutions, many of whom have smaller collections, to access historical content more easily than they might have been able to in the past. The repository will be seeking additional partners during the spring as well as pursuing funding opportunities to keep the costs to a minimum among repository partners. This new model of access will complement our current options of interlibrary loan and sharing among CTW libraries.

Diane Klare
Interim University Librarian

Working in organizations can often mean past practices and procedures are adopted by newcomers, perhaps modestly tweaked over time, but essentially retained as the status quo. When organizations become complacent, they can miss opportunities to try creative solutions in response to rapidly changing environments. One of the most effective ways to start thinking “outside the box” in order to meet these new environmental challenges is to invite in colleagues from other institutions with similar missions to look at the organization with fresh eyes. Having an outsider’s perspective can shed new light on current practices and spur innovative ideas that may in the long run fine tune an organization’s effectiveness in serving its constituents. In academic environments, the entire process is called an external review.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, Wesleyan Library is doing just that. The initial work for the external review began in spring 2014, with the planning of when the review would take place and what preparatory steps the library would need to take to provide helpful information in advance of a site visit in 2015. With the calendar in place, the library has been focused this fall on data discovery – gathering both qualitative feedback and quantitative data from students, faculty, library staff, and staff from key departments across campus about library services, collections, spaces (virtual and physical), and organizational structure. In addition, the library departments have been busy reflecting and writing brief descriptions about the wide variety of work accomplished in their respective departments, their current organizational structure, and their short term goals over the next three to five years to better serve the Wesleyan community. All of this information will be incorporated into a library self-study by early December. The self-study will be provided to four invited external reviewers from a range of small to large academic libraries so that they will have key background materials about the Wesleyan Library prior to their visit in March 2015.

During the brief 2-day site visit in early March, these reviewers will be given the opportunity to meet with various Wesleyan campus constituents to probe further into the role the library plays in their many educational roles. Following the visit, the reviewers will prepare their own report which will include their own observations as well as possible future directions and recommendations that will allow the library to more effectively meet current needs of our users and also look forward to the future. While the review process presents exciting possibilities as well as challenges, the end result is intended to create the most effective library organization possible and allow us to move forward and embrace the new possibilities that arrive every day to better serve the Wesleyan community. It could be a very interesting ride!

Diane Klare
Interim University Librarian

Welcome to Wesleyan University! Here are a few basic facts about our library resources and services. If you have other questions, please email the Interim University Librarian, Diane Klare, at dklare@wesleyan.edu, or you may contact her at 860-685-3867. 

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Q:  What libraries make up Wesleyan University Library?

Olin LibraryOlin Library is the main campus library, located at 252 Church Street between Clark Hall and the Public Affairs Center (commonly known as the PAC).   It houses collections in the arts, humanities and social sciences, the Art Space, Music & the World Music Archives, and Special Collections & Archives.  The Reserve Desk/Office and Interlibrary Loan are also in Olin, as is the Office of the University Librarian.Science Library

The Science Library (also known as SciLi) is in the Exley Science Center at 265 Church Street.  It houses collections in mathematics and the sciences, and materials on reserve for many science courses.  It also contains the library’s DVD/video collections and compact storage of print science journals and older materials in all subject areas.   Melissa Behney is the Science Librarian.

 Q:  How do I get to the library’s website?

Go to http://www.wesleyan.edu/library/  The library’s website has links to information on our resources, services, facilities and systems.

Library OneSearch allows you to do a single search to find information in the library’s online catalog, most of our electronic resources, and many scholarly resources on the Web.  Want to know more about Library OneSearch? Check out the Library FAQ page.

To search the library catalog using your tablet or smartphone, use this QR code to access our mobile site. 

Q:  Where can I go for a detailed list of library services?

Go to the Information For Students page for more information.

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Q:  HowQR code for library catalog do I find books in the library?

To do a broad search for a variety of sources on a subject, use Library OneSearch.

If you are looking for a particular title search in Caleb, the library’s catalog.  In Caleb, you can do a search by title, author, subject, or keyword.  Once you’ve found the book you want, write down the location and call number. Once you have a location and call number, you can find the book using the Finding Materials By Call Number page.

To do a Caleb search from your smartphone, go to our mobile catalog.

Q:  The library doesn’t have the article or book I need.  How do I get it?

First check the CTW Consortium catalog:

CTW Consortium logoThe CTW Consortium consists of Connecticut CollegeTrinity College, and Wesleyan University. The libraries share our collections, and students and faculty can request materials from CTW and usually get them in 1-2 business days.   To do a search in the CTW catalog for all three libraries, go to:  http://ctwsearch.wesleyan.edu/vufind/ If Connecticut or Trinity has an item and Wesleyan does not, you can request it by clicking on the Make a Request link in the catalog record for the item.

If the item is not available through CTW, request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL):

To sign up for an ILL account, go to: https://wesleyan.hosts.atlas-sys.com/illiad/FirstTime.html After filling out a brief form you will have an Illiad account and be able to submit online requests for materials that the library does not provide access to locally.  You will be notified when the item is available.

Q: How can I request that a book or other resource be added to the library’s collection?

To request that the library acquire an item, fill out the Suggest a Purchase form that is linked to the library web page.

Q: Where can I find information about Wesleyan’s collections of images, video and audio recordings, and statistics/data sets?

For the broadest search across many types of resources, use Library OneSearch.  The Find Research Materials page has tips and links to find imagesvideo, audio, archives, and WesScholar, the online archive of the work of Wesleyan faculty and students.  Many academic departments have departmental collections some of which are searchable using the Departmental Collections catalog.

For information on finding international statistics and data sets: http://libguides.wesleyan.edu/Worldstats

For information on finding U.S. statistics and data sets: http://libguides.wesleyan.edu/USstats

Special Collections and Archives

 Q: What kinds of primary sources are available at Wesleyan?

Wesleyan’s Special Collections & Archives includes significant collections of rare books, manuscript collections, university archives, and local history materials. These collections are frequently used by students for assignments and research in a variety of subjects. SC&A’s website describes these holdings in more detail.  Director of Special Collections & Archives Suzy Taraba, University Archivist Leith Johnson, and the SC&A staff are happy to answer your questions and work with you.  Contact them at sca@wesleyan.edu or call (860) 685-3864.

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Q:  How do I find material on reserve for my class?

The library provides both physical and electronic reserves, available shortly before classes start.  To find print or other physical materials on reserve for your class, go to the Course Reserve search page.  You can search by instructor, course number, or course name.  Most reserve items are available at the Reserve Desk on the first floor of Olin; some reserves for science and mathematics courses are on reserve in the Science Library.

To find materials on electronic reserve, go to the E-Res page.   Again, you can search by instructor, course number, or course name.   Once you have entered the password your instructor gives you, you will come to a list of links to materials on electronic reserve for the course.

Q:  How can I find the best sources for my assignments and research?

A great first step is to sign up for a Personal Research Session (PRS for short) with a librarian, who will work with you to find appropriate resources for a specific assignment or project.  Online subject and research guides are also available with links to online resources specific to each discipline.

For quick answers to your questions about library resources and services, come to the Olin Library Reference Desk on the first floor for in-person help, call the reference desk at x3873, chat online using Reference Live Help, email or text us: (860) 415-4205.

Q: I can’t get to the library–How can I get access to the library’s electronic resources?

Current students, faculty and staff can get to most of the library’s electronic resources through the Wesleyan proxy server, by entering their Wesleyan email user name and password.

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Q: How can I kWesCardinalseep up with library news—changes in hours, improved services, new resources, and library events and exhibits?

WesLibNews is the library’s Twitter feed; we also have a Facebook page and a Library News blog.  Check out new library resources on our New Books site.  Or you can contact us by calling 860-685-2660 or by sending an email: reference@wesleyan.edu.

 

 

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We look forward to working with you.  Best wishes for the coming year!

Welcome to Wesleyan University—or welcome back!  I’m Pat Tully, University Librarian.  Here is some basic information about library resources and services.  If you have other questions you’d like to see answered on this blog or answered privately, please email me at ptully@wesleyan.edu, or call me at 860-685-3887. 

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Q:  What libraries make up Wesleyan University Library?

Olin Liolinlibsmallbrary is the main campus library, located at 252 Church Street between Clark Hall and the Public Affairs Center (commonly known as the PAC).   It houses collections in the arts, humanities and social sciences, the Art Library, Music and the World Music Archives, and Special Collections & Archives.  The Reserve Desk/Office and Interlibrary Loan are also in Olin, as is the Office of the University Librarian.scili1st

The Science Library is in the Exley Science Center at 265 Church Street.  It houses collections in mathematics and the sciences, and materials on reserve for many science courses.  It also contains the DVD/video collections and compact storage on the ground floor with print science journals and older materials in all subject areas.   Melissa Behney is the Science Librarian.

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 Q:  How do I get to the library’s website?

Go to: http://wQR code for library catalogww.wesleyan.edu/library/.  The library’s website has links to information on our resources, services, facilities and systems. Library OneSearch allows you to do a single search to for links to information from most of the library’s catalogs and electronic resources.  Other questions? Go to the Library FAQ page.

To search the library catalog using your tablet or smartphone, use this QR code to access our mobile site.

 

Q:  How do I get material through interlibrary loan (ILL)?

To sign up for an ILL account, go to: https://wesleyan.hosts.atlas-sys.com/illiad/FirstTime.html  After filling out a brief form you will have an Illiad account and be able to submit online requests for material that is not locally accessible.

Q:  What is the CTW Consortium?CTWlogo

The CTW Consortium consists of Connecticut CollegeTrinity College, and Wesleyan University. The libraries share an online catalog and collaborate on a number of system and collection-related initiatives.  We also share our collections, and students and faculty can request materials from other libraries in the consortium, which are shipped in 1-2 business days.   To do a search in the CTW catalog, go to:  http://ctwsearch.wesleyan.edu/vufind/

If Connecticut or Trinity has an item and Wesleyan does not, you can request it by clicking on the Make a Request link in the catalog record for the item.

Q: How can I request that a book, journal or other resource be added to the library’s collection?

To request that the library acquire a book, journal subscription or other resource, contact the liaison for your department or program. You may also fill out the Request a Purchase form that is linked to the library web page.

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Q: What kinds of primary sources are available at Wesleyan?

class-visits-btnWesleyan’s Special Collections & Archives includes significant collections of rare books, manuscript collections, university archives, and local history materials. These collections are frequently used by faculty across the disciplines for academic research and as integral parts of their course curricula. SC&A’s website describes these holdings in more detail.  Director of Special Collections & Archives Suzy Taraba, University Archivist Leith Johnson, and the SC&A staff are happy to answer your questions and work with you and your students.  Contact them at sca@wesleyan.edu or call (860) 685-3864.

Q:  How do I put material on reserve for my class?

The library provides both print and electronic reserves.  For more information about how to put material on reserve for your class, go to the Academic Course Reserve page or contact EunJoo Lee, Head of Access Services (phone: 860-685-3454).

In the Science Library, you may put print materials on reserve for science and mathematics courses. For more information about putting print material on reserve in the Science Library, contact Mardi Hanson d’Alessandro (phone: 860-685-3328).

All electronic reserves, including those for mathematics and science courses, are processed by Olin Reserve—contact EunJoo Lee for more information.

Q:  How does the library teach students to find and use sources for papers and projects?

Students can sign up for a Personal Research Session (PRS for short) with a librarian, who will work with them to find appropriate resources for their assignment.  Online subject and research guides are also available with links to online resources specific to each discipline.   To arrange for a library instruction session for your class, or to explore creative ways to teach both course content and subject resources for research, contact the librarian liaison to your department or program.

Q: How do I get access to the library’s electronic resources from off-campus?

Current students, faculty and staff can get to most of the library’s electronic resources through the Wesleyan proxy server, by entering their Wesleyan email user name and password.

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Q: How can I add my publications to WesScholar?

scholarWesScholar is Wesleyan’s online archive of undergraduate honors theses, faculty publications, and other Wesleyan collections.  You may increase the visibility of your publications by adding them to WesScholar; for more information about doing so contact University Archivist Leith Johnson.

 

Q:  Where can I get a detailed list of library services and information for faculty?

You can go to the Wesleyan University Library Services for Faculty page, or contact the librarian liaison for your department.

Q: How can I keep up with library news—changes in hours, improved services, new resources, and library events and exhibits?cardinlib

WesLibNews is the library’s Twitter feed; we also have a Facebook page and a Library News blog.  Check out new library resources on our New Books site.  Or you can contact us by calling 860-685-2660 or by sending an email: reference@wesleyan.edu.

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We look forward to working with you.  Best wishes for the coming year!

 

Poster in Art LibraryIn late February we put posters up in the Art Library and Olin, asking how to furnish the new Art in Olin spaces.  Thanks to all of you for your comments! Here are the results.  The lower response rate in Art is due to the fact that the Olin poster went up a week early:

43 votes for large tables (35 in Olin ; 13 in Art)

33 votes for small tables (23 – Olin ; 10 – Art)

52 votes for individual workstations (44 – Olin ; 8 – Art)

45 votes for upholstered chairs or sofas (31 – Olin ; 14 – Art)

As you can see, only small tables had significantly fewer votes than the rest, so we will be considering a variety of furnishings in the final design.

In the Art Library we also asked whether current art journals or selected art reference materials should be housed in the Art Office, next to the new collaborative study space.  The art journals received three times as many votes as art reference materials, demonstrating a clear preference.

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In addition to answering the questions we asked, you also gave us additional suggestions for things we can improve or provide.  Lighting was on many people’s minds:

 “Lots of windows/good light”

“Near windows = good √ YES”Poster in Olin lobby

“MORE OUTLETS, better lighting”

“LIGHT PLEASE!!!”

Comfortable seating was also stressed:

“More cozy spaces for studying i.e. couches & chairs √ √  Yes!”

“Many sofas / old lounge chairs also tables shaped like this  |__|  (next to window) and PLANTS”

“Get new sofas by the window √ √ √”

As was the need for quiet space:

“A room where phones must be on silent not vibrate. Signs enforcing   Yes!!!”

“More spaces that are designated as being completely silent would be appreciated! agreed!  √√”

And gender-neutral bathrooms [BTW, a gender-neutral bathroom will be installed in Olin early this summer.–P.T.]:

“All Gender Bathroom Obvi “

“DeGendered bathrooms”

Of course, not everyone agreed on what would be best.  There were short exchanges:

“Place to buy snacks!  No.  No.  No.  No.”

“Adjustable chairs !!    Waste of Funds”

“Love quiet spaces!    NO!”

As well as longer debates:

“Keep Art Library as is. ~*~that wud b gr8 ~*~”

“My study preferences include: working in the ART library. That is all.  √”

“I don’t understand what is important about the art library as it is. Things change, books move, that seems OK. There are a lot of things wrong on this campus–the elitism, need-blind, low income students of color getting kicked out every year, the natural gas plant, etc. Getting worked up to save the art library seems like a bourgeois occupation … kind of like fiddling while Rome burns or something. Am I wrong?”

“I would much rather devote money and resources to a student in need than to the art library!    yes!!”

“If you’re so concerned about bourgeoisie preoccupations, transfer to a community college” [As the product of a great community college myself, I was a little peeved at the implication.—P.T.]

“What about the students on financial aid that work at the Art Library that will lose their jobs.”

 “What about guidance mentorship for first-gen low income students, something Wes actively dismantled?”

It is great—and very Wesleyan—that members of our community take every opportunity to engage in debate.

And finally there were the outré comments:

“Florescent adolescent”

“Russian Constructivism   √”

“No Lamps. No Books. Anywhere.”

“Kiddie pool filled w/ yogurt and/or puppies”

Thanks again to all of you who took the time to comment.  Your suggestions will be invaluable in creating new library study spaces and enhancing existing areas so you can do your best work.  [And—my promise—no puppies will be harmed in the process.—P.T.]

Silence of Bonaventure Arrow - coverOne Book, One Middletown is a community project of the Middletown Rotary Club and supported by Russell Library and the City of Middletown.  The goal is to encourage reading in the community by selecting a book that appeals to a variety of audiences, then holding events that bring people together to celebrate or explore aspects of the book.  Copies of this year’s book are available at The Book Bower (Main Street Market, 386 Main St.) and Broad Street Books (45 Broad St.).

This year’s selection is The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, by Rita Leganski.  It is set in 1950s New Orleans, the story of a boy born to a mother grieving the loss of her murdered husband and a grandmother with a secret that is slowly destroying her.  The boy is mute but has a magically acute sense of hearing, and he uses his remarkable ability to bring together and heal his family.  Here is the video book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vt60uSCGZ4

The One Book activities this year explore several aspects of the book, from New Orleans food and music, to bereavement, to the development and evolution of sign language (a talk by Wesleyan’s own Joe Basile).  There are also several book discussions in a variety of venues.  Activities begin this weekend with a visit by author Rita Leganski.  We are honored and thrilled that Rita is coming to town to help kick off this year’s events!

(You can attend with pleasure the activities with ** next to them even if you haven’t read the book.)

Saturday, March 22

** Noon, at Brewbaker’s, 169 Main St.:  Lunch with author Rita Leganski and writing students from Wesleyan and Middlesex Community College.  NOTE:  A limited number of slots are still available for this lunch; please contact Pat Tully at ptully@wesleyan.edu to reserve a place.

** 2-4pm, Broad Street Books, 45 Broad St.:  Book signing with Rita Leganski.

** 7:30pm, Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main St.:  Kick-off concert with Rita Leganski in attendance; Cajun music by Bayou Brethren.

Tuesday, March 25

1:30pm, Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Rd.:  Middlesex Institute for Lifelong Education (MILE) book discussion.

** 7pm, Hubbard Room at Russell Library, 123 Broad St.:  Film: Beasts of the Southern Wild, and discussion led by Richard Alleva.

Wednesday, March 26

12:30pm, Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Rd., Chapman Hall:  Book discussion led by Anne Paluck.

** 2pm, Arch Room, Cromwell Belden Public Library, 39 West St., Cromwell:  Video, New Orleans, history and culture from its founding to the aftermath of Katrina.

 ** 7pm, Meeting Room 3, Russell Library, 123 Broad St.:  Creative writing workshop, “Courir Mardi Gras’ Travel Adventure,” led by Liz Petry.

Thursday, March 27

** 4:30pm, Develin Room (Rm. 204), Olin Library, 252 Church St., Wesleyan University:   Talk and discussion, “Evolution of American Sign Language,” by Visiting Assistant Professor of Sign Language Joseph Basile.

CANCELLED 6pm: Demonstration of authentic Cajun cooking by chef Kim Fong from Mama Roux’s.  NOTE:  Call to register by March 21.

Friday, March 28

6:30pm, New England Emporium, Main Street Market, 386 Main St.:  Book discussion.

Wednesday, April 2

** 2pm, Arch Room, Cromwell Belden Public Library, 39 West St., Cromwell:  Video:  Louisiana, tour of the Pelican State.

** 6pm, Hubbard Room at Russell Library, 123 Broad St.:  Herbal remedies, talk by Lisl Huebner.

** 7pm, North One Conference Room, Middlesex Hospital, 534 Saybrook Rd.:  Bereavement discussion, led by Chaplain McCann.

7pm, Arch Room, Cromwell Belden Public Library, 39 West St., Cromwell: Book discussion led by Marsha Bansavage, CT Humanities Council Scholar.

Thursday, April 3

6:30pm, Wagner Room, Portland Library, 20 Freestone Ave., Portland:  Book discussion led by Marsha Bansavage, CT Humanities Council Scholar.  NOTE:  Limited space, to register call 860-342-6770 or visit www.portlandlibraryct.org.

Tuesday, April 8

7pm, Meeting Room 2, Russell Library, 123 Broad St.:  Book discussion led by Carol Shmurak.

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  Please join us for one or more of these activities!

This spring and summer the libraries are undertaking major changes to consolidate collections and provide new collaborative study spaces.  Here’s what’s happening:

Weeding statistics Feb. 2014Weeding project:  For the past two years the library has undertaken a project to withdraw 60,000 volumes from our collection of one million, in order to move the Art Library into Olin and to free up shelf space for new materials.  The withdrawal target has been met, thanks to the help and suggestions of many Wesleyan faculty members, and hard work and dedication of library staff, student workers, and librarians.

Next year the library will establish an ongoing weeding process, selecting a small number of books to withdraw annually based on condition, use, availability and ‘out-of-dateness,’ in fields in which this is a factor.  We will be asking for faculty and student input as we develop the process, and will continue to provide updates through the WesWeeding blog.

With the completion of the project there is now enough shelf space to move the Art Library into Olin.

Art LibraryArt in Olin space: The Art Library in the Center for the Arts is much-loved, popular place for students to study.  But it is small—since 1989 it has been out of shelf space and less-used art books have been regularly transferred to Olin Library.  As a result, the art book collection is now pretty evenly split between the Art Library and Olin Library—less than ideal for students and researchers.  The space also lacks air-conditioning, so at times in the summer the temperature and humidity rise to a level that is not good for books and is very uncomfortable for students and staff working there.

New Art in Olin space

Floor plan by Brandi Hood.

This summer a new Art area will be created on the second floor of Olin Library.  In the stacks the art books will be reunited—the books from the Art Library inter-shelved with the art books now in Olin.  Art Librarian Susanne Javorski will have an office on the second floor just off the main stairwell.  Next to Susanne’s office will be an area with a color photocopier and selected Art materials, and next to that will be a large collaborative study/seminar room.  Tables and workstations near the second floor stacks will facilitate the study of large-format materials and group work.

All these spaces have been designed with the needs of Art & Art History students and researchers in mind, but they will be available to the entire Wesleyan community.  Their updated functionality and style will be a welcome addition to the library’s more traditional study spaces, and will also enhance Olin’s symbolic role embodying Wesleyan’s academic mission in the twenty-first century.

New Library Office suite

Floor plan by Brandi Hood

One move leads to another, and another … The Library Office and University Librarian’s office, now on the second floor of Olin, will move to a new office suite on the third floor.  This, in turn, will displace the Center for Faculty Career Development, for which a new location will be found, and the Library Systems offices, which will move across the street to the Science Library.  The addition of new staff to the Science Library will be welcome—the facility is very popular, with a variety of collections and services that complement those of Olin.

New all-gender bathroom in Olin: Unrelated to the Art in Olin renovation–but of equal significance–is the creation of a single-stall, gender-neutral bathroom on the ground floor of Olin.  This is scheduled to be installed in June, and will allow library users of all genders to comfortably and conveniently use the restroom of their choice.

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Wesleyan University Library is constantly evolving in response to the needs of our students and faculty. We are very pleased to be able to make these changes in our facilities in order to adapt to 21st century scholarship and create an environment that is equally welcoming and functional for everyone.

 

 

All-gender bathroom in OlinUpdate, July 2014:  The new all-gender bathroom is complete, providing a convenient, single-stall restroom on the ground floor of Olin Library.  Thanks to Roseann Sillasen and Physical Plant for getting the installation done!

Update, January 2014:  University administrators have approved the installation of a single-stall, gender neutral bathroom on the ground floor of Olin.  Because of the scope of the work involved, the installation will take place this summer–our apologies for the delay!  In the meantime there is a single-stall, all-gender bathroom in the PAC, accessible via the Olin connector, for those who feel uncomfortable or object to using gender-specific bathrooms.

Thanks for your understanding and patience!  –Pat Tully, University Librarian.

Original October 17, 2013 post:  This past week, the gender-specific bathroom signs have been torn off the doors on the ground floor and third floor of Olin Library (and elsewhere on campus), and replaced with ‘All Gender Restroom’ signs.  A statement of principles was posted as well, Desegregate Wesleyan Bathrooms.

Each morning in Olin we are replacing the gender-specific signs.  Here’s why:

–          We agree that there should be all-gender as well as gender-specific restrooms in every building on campus.  Because of the age and construction of many of the older buildings, including Olin, it may not be practicable to immediately retrofit every building with all-gender bathrooms.  Designating all restrooms ‘all-gender,’ with no changes in the interior of the facilities, invites misunderstandings and confusion for everyone needing to use those facilities.

–          We believe strongly that it is important to maintain gender-specific bathrooms—not just because an all-gender bathroom makes some people uncomfortable, but because having no gender-specific alternative is offensive to the religious or cultural beliefs of some members of our community.

We are committed to finding ways to provide facilities and services that accommodate and respect all members of the Wesleyan community, and we welcome further conversation about this issue.

Large sets swell our e-book holdings.

Large sets swell our e-book holdings.

Last month at the Charleston Conference I attended a presentation by Jim Dooley from the University of California at Merced.  UC-Merced formally opened in the fall of 2005 as ‘the first American research university of the 21st century.’  As Head of Collection Services, Dooley had an opportunity that few librarians get, to build a collection from scratch based solely on the needs of current and future users.  The UC-Merced Library expected to offer only online journals and–with a handful of exceptions–that has turned out to be the case.  They also expected to build a modest print book collection that would quickly be replaced by electronic books.  This has not yet taken place; the library has acquired 100,000 print books and the collection continues to grow along with their ebook holdings.

Why continue to collect print books?  Why continue to hold older print books that have not been used recently?  There are a number of reasons that Wesleyan has not gone (print) bookless:

Availability:  Many scholarly books are only available in print form.  Ebooks now make up a third of the adult fiction/non-fiction trade book market in the U.S., and that share is increasing.  Not all U. S. trade books are available in electronic form, but it is fast-growing and profitable segment of the market.  Scholarly books, however, are lagging behind trade books in this respect, even those published in countries with widespread access to advanced technology.  And scholarly books from other parts of the world are usually available only in print.

Copyright limitations:  It is possible to make copies of print books and share the copies in violation of copyright—remember the warning signs next to photocopiers?  But the physical nature of print books naturally restricts the scope of these violations.  Unrestricted ebooks, on the other hand, can be quickly and easily copied and made available to anyone with access to the Internet.  To protect copyright holders and publishers from illegal and ruinous wholesale sharing of ebooks, their use has been restricted in ways that are inconvenient for scholars.  Print books also have their inconveniences, but we take these for granted and so they are less annoying.

Incomplete contents:  Each illustration in a book may have a different copyright holder or holders, which makes clearing copyright for electronic publication much more complex than for books without illustrations.  (Of course, copyright must be cleared for illustrations in print books as well, but the process for doing this is well-established among publishers and creators.)  The difficulties in clearing copyright for illustrations in ebooks has led some presses—Yale University Press most notoriously—to omit illustrations from the electronic version of some of their books.

Bad scans:  It is possible to access electronic versions of many older, out-of-copyright books through Google Books, Hathi Trust, or elsewhere.  Because of the high-volume process by which many of these books have been scanned and the scans validated, some pages can be unreadable, illustrations unclear, and fold-out pages missing altogether.

Technical limitations:  Kindles and other e-book readers are ideal for reading fiction or any book that is read straight through.  But when scholars and students use a book for study, they move back and forth through the pages, take notes, and bookmark significant passages.  These things are more difficult to do in an ebook than in a print book, although e-reader and tablet manufacturers are working hard to make these functions seamless for the reader.

The book as artifact:  At Wesleyan and elsewhere, courses are taught that involve studying books as objects—objects of art, historical artifacts, and items of physical culture.  This may include using technology to analyze a book in interesting ways—the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a wonderful example—but in most cases the analysis requires access to the volume itself, not merely to an electronic representation of it.

Preserving the scholarly record:  Every library holds books that are rare—whether or not they are valuable or held in Special Collections.  And libraries take very seriously our responsibility to preserve the scholarly and creative record in its original form, both for future study and to await improved methods of digitization.  Several library groups—including one in the Northeast that includes Wesleyan—are considering the creation of regional depositories for print books.  Some may be centralized facilities for holding print books for preservation and use.  But because of the difficulty in funding a central depository, other groups are considering a distributed model in which libraries make a commitment to retain certain books for a specific number of years.   With few exceptions print book depositories are in the exploratory or planning stages, and not yet established.

—————–

A number of academic libraries have moved their books off-site, leaving their library building ‘bookless.’  So far these have been libraries specific to disciplines that primarily communicate via journal articles or other short-form publications rather than monographs.  With few exceptions, journal articles are available in a convenient, easily discoverable and accessible electronic form, and students and researchers are comfortable relying on electronic access.  Examples of bookless libraries include the William H. Welch Medical Library at Johns Hopkins; the Applied Engineering and Technology Library at University of Texas, San Antonio; and the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State.

Ebooks are at the stage electronic journals were 10 or 15 years ago—they show great promise, but are still awkward and often unreliable.  As scholarly ebooks become more convenient to use, many of the concerns about the disappearance of print books will fade, just as happened with print indexes and journals.  The difference will be that even after the conversion of most of the circulating book collection to a convenient online format, there will still be a place in the library for the codex.

Print books will continue to be essential both for the sensory experience of using them, and for the evidence they give of the past and the cultures that produced them.  And library services, resources and facilities will continue to be essential for the same reason they are essential now—to select and provide access to resources (in whatever form) that are needed by our users, and to help them successfully navigate the overwhelming and always-changing information landscape.

Random articles on the bookless library

Bell, David A. The Bookless Library.  New Republic. July 12, 2012.  http://www.newrepublic.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/david-bell-future-bookless-library

Fister, Barbara.  The Myth of the Bookless Library.  Inside Higher Ed, November 15, 2011. http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/library-babel-fish/myth-bookless-library#ixzz2mL08ALNR

Kelley, Michael.  Major Medical Library Closing Its Doors to Patrons and Moving to Digital Model.   Library Journal, October 27, 2011. http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2011/10/research/major-medical-library-closing-its-doors-to-patrons-and-moving-to-digital-model/

Kolowich, Steve.  A Truly Bookless Library.  Inside Higher Ed, September 17, 2010. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/09/17/libraries#ixzz2mL3pHtL8

Margolis, Simeon. Lost in the Stacks No More (October 1, 2010). Hopkins Medicine Magazine, Fall 2010.  http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/publications/hopkins_medicine_magazine/fall_2010/lost_in_the_stacks_no_more

Milliot, Jim.  A Mixed Blessing in Slowing E-book Sales.  Publishers Weekly, Nov 15, 2013. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/retailing/article/60030-a-mixed-blessing.html

Newcomb, Tim.  Is a Bookless Library Still a Library?  TIME.com, July 11, 2011. http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2079800,00.html

Rock, Margaret.  The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech.  TIME.com, June 25, 2013.  http://www.mobiledia.com/news/181239.html#ixzz2mKwYzJC0

Sanburn, Josh.  A Bookless Library Opens in San Antonio.  TIME.com, Sept. 13, 2013  A Bookless Library Opens in San Antonio | TIME.com http://nation.time.com/2013/09/13/a-bookless-library-opens-in-san-antonio/#ixzz2mKtfc4Uh

Schwartz, Meredith.  Ebooks, Online Drive Trade Sales Growth.  Library Journal, May 22, 2013. http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/05/publishing/ebooks-online-drive-trade-sales-growth/#_

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