Arts Library Committee
4th Floor Conference Room, Cabell Library
January 18, 2012 5:00 to 6:00 pm
Charles Brownell, Josh Chenard, Susie Ganch, Matt King, Lea Marshall, Roy McKelvey (chair), Pamela Taylor, Barbara Tisserat, Roberto Ventura, Stephen Vitiello
Staff: Dennis Clark, Yuki Hibben, Kristina Keogh, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Guest: Wesley Chenault, Head , Special Collections & Archives
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from November 2011
The minutes were approved as presented.
Committee responses to "Quick Search" feature (Primo)
Mr. Ulmschneider asked the Committee about their reactions to the QuickSearch feature since its rollout. He said that most of the feedback so far from faculty and staff has been positive, but there have been some criticisms too. He noted that at the beginning of the semester, the feature transitioned from “QuickSearch” to become the default search box; if a user wants to search the catalog specifically, the student has to choose to that specific search option. At this time not all of the EBSCO content is part of Primo’s index; since some important art-specific resources are on EBSCO, some materials may not be found through EBSCO. The VCU Libraries is aware of the problem and knows that students in the arts are not being served as well as possible because of this issue. In discussion it was noted that the students have just gotten back for the spring semester so they haven’t had much time to use or respond to the new search process.
24x5 and longer weekend hours for Cabell Library
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that VCU Libraries has long heard from the students that they wanted Cabell to be an around-the-clock facility, but given historically tight funding, other priorities such as the collections and adequate staffing have been the working guidelines. However, the Board of Visitors has heard from students loud and clear that around-the-clock service should be a priority of the VCU Libraries and the University. In response, the VCU Libraries provided the Office of the Provost three staffing/spending scenarios for 24 hour operations, and the Provost has elected to fund the most service-rich alternative. Beginning March 19th, Cabell Library will open each week on Sunday at 10am, and then remain open through Friday at 10pm. Cabell’s Saturday hours will be 10am to 10pm. This is a pilot program and will be funded for one year. Data on use of the facility during the extended hours will be evaluated to determine if around-the-clock service should continue permanently after that time.
Mr. Clark introduced Dr. Wesley Chenault, new Head of Special Collections and Archives, and noted that the new extended hours include Saturday hours for Special Collections.
Mr. Ulmschneider said there will a promotional effort surrounding the new hours, but asked Committee members to let their colleagues and students know, and remind them that this is a pilot program, not necessarily a permanent situation. Mr. Clark noted that the new hours represent an increase of 30% in operational time. This increase will necessitate an increase in housekeeping, security and staffing, hence the delay until March 19 to put these various things into place.
Reports and Discussion
Stairwell art and lobby art projects in Cabell Library
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that there have been two art projects in Cabell this year. The first is the stairwell art being done by a graduate student from New Zealand, Raewin Martyn, under the direction of Dr. Tisserat. Dr. Tisserat added that the project is not complete yet because the student is not allowed to work during open hours of operation because her work set up partially blocks the stairwell. She is limited to working after hours and so has not been able to complete the whole project. She will do so, however, and Dr. Tisserat will let her know that the building will open on a 24 hour basis starting in March so the student can plan accordingly.
The second project was a sliding wall-mounted alphabet display, which was in place for three weeks. Students were able to rearrange the letters to create messages and other students would then spontaneously respond to the messages and/or create their own. The artist then photographed the exhibit as it was being used and has incorporated this imagery into her course work.
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that these types of projects are exactly what VCU Libraries would like to be hosting and he asked the Committee to encourage their students to consider more ways to do this type of exhibition work.
Facilities upgrades at Tompkins-McCaw
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee about two projects going on at TML. The first is a renovation that will create a collaboration room with up-to-date equipment and study space. The second is that the front steps, a constant source of disrepair and hazard, will be completely removed and replaced this spring.
Facilities upgrades at Cabell - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider informed the Committee that the elevator lobby area renovations are almost complete, with new wallpaper printed with inspirational quotes and new flooring in the elevator cabs. He said that the Provost has provided funds for new furniture on the 4th floor; the current furniture is from 1975! The funding from the Office of the Provost also will be used to expand electrical outlets on the floor.
These upgrades are part of the effort by the University to help bridge the existing Cabell building between its current situation and the time when a new building will come online. He referred to the handout, which was developed to help describe the need for a new building. The University’s efforts to work with legislative supporters and staff this year to gain funding for designing a new building have gone well; a budget amendment has been introduced to provide funds for the architectural design phase of the project.
Implementation of Alma, software for library enterprise operations
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that the new Primo search feature is part of Alma, a newly-developed upgrade of the VCU Libraries’ existing system for library enterprise operations such as cataloging, acquisitions, and circulation. The VCU Libraries has elected to become an early adopter of Alma, and believes that VCU will have the undivided attention of the developer, Ex Libris Inc., to ensure a successful implementation. The VCU Libraries stands to gain great efficiencies in the new system, which moves data and operations to the cloud. The technology transition will take place between March and August and if all goes as planned, it will be seamless to users and a tremendous assist for staff.
VCU Libraries programs
- One Singular Sensation: The American Jew and the Musical Theater: Opening lecture by Dr. Jack Spiro, 1-19-12
- Black History Month Lecture, Feb. 22, 7pm – 9pm: Renowned advertising executive Tom Burrell will lecture on his pioneering work in developing positive advertising for the African-American population.
- Southern Film Festival, Feb. 24-25
- March 22: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Kumunyakaa
- March 29: The 27th Annual Brown-Lyons Lecture, “Jerusalem: A Tale of Three Cities”
Mr. Ulmschneider spoke briefly about the events and encouraged Committee members to attend.
VCU Dance - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider briefly interrupted the agenda to distribute a handout on a program from the VCU Dance Department, Joan Myers Brown and the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina by Brenda Dixon Gottschild. Dr. Lea Marshall encouraged the Committee to come to this booksigning and lecture.
Demo and discussion: Book Art
Dr. Chenault introduced Yuki Hibben, who is now the Assistant Head of Special Collections and Archives with a focus on Fine Arts. Emily Davis is now doing the contact and collection development work for the Arts in Collection Management.
Ms. Hibben talked about book art and book binding/presentation held by Special Collections. She brought several examples with her and shared these with the Committee. These included pop-ups, artists’ books, book serials and other forms of three dimensional publishing. She explained that these types of books are often published privately and in limited quantities. The books she brought were intriguing and the Committee was interested to see the unusual items. Ms. Hibben said that she would be glad to offer a class on these and that faculty can contact the Special Collections office to schedule such a class. She also said that some of these more recent editions are searchable by type, i.e. pop-up or artists’ book or “altered books”, though not all as there are over 3,000 in the collection and the older ones have not yet been cataloged in this manner.
At the close of the meeting Mr. Ulmschneider mentioned Dr. Charles Brownell’s recent symposium on the history of architecture in Richmond and how successful and educational it had been. Dr. Brownell noted that Mr. Ulmschneider will be a presenter in next year’s 20th anniversary presentation.
The meeting adjourned at 6:00 pm.