VCU Arts Library Committee
4th Floor Conference Room, Cabell Library
September 21, 2011 5:00 to 6:00 pm
Charles Brownell, Sonali Gulati, 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: Mary Ellen Spencer, Head, Resource Information Services, VCU Libraries
Mr. McKelvey asked to skip ahead in the agenda to items 3 (Election of Chair for 2011-13) and 4 (Recognition of Roy McKelvey and of previous members of VCU Arts Library Committee). He explained that while the charge and by-laws just adopted by this Committee state that the chair will serve for 2 years and he has been chair for the past 10 years, Dean Seipel (School of the Arts) asked if he would please continue for one more year both on the Committee and as chair. Mr. McKelvey graciously said he would – but only for one more year. His acceptance of this obligation was met with a round of applause and election by acclimation.
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from April 2011
The minutes were approved as presented.
Mr. Ulmschneider thanked Mr. McKelvey for accepting the chairmanship for another year. He also thanked Dr. Vitiello for his work with the VCU Libraries staff on the 9/11 exhibit, in particular the recording in the display room on the first floor of Cabell. He said that the “wall of memories” (post-it notes of students thoughts, recollections and hopes from 9/11/01) was especially moving.
Election of Chair for 2011-13 - see above
Recognition of Roy McKelvey and of previous members of VCU Arts Library Committee - see above
Smoking near Cabell Library
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that the VCU Libraries has been reluctant to address the issue of smoking in front of Cabell Library because a change will inconvenience smokers and have an impact on staff who smoke. However, two issues have been raised which motivate a change. The first is that smoke from outside the building comes in through the exterior book-drop slot and into the Circulation Desk area in Cabell, enough to affect staff. The second is that VCU Libraries has received several complaints from individuals with mobility impairments who have to use the ramps to enter the building. These people often have to navigate through groups of students who are smoking on and near the ramps. The smoke presents special challenges to mobility-impaired persons, especially those who also have respiratory problems. The appropriate solution is to ban smoking within 50 feet of the front of the buildings and the ramps. Mr. Ulmschneider said that the staff have looked into the legality of doing this and are assured by HR that this is legal. The State regulation for smoking around State owned buildings allows for a minimum of 25 feet.
Mr. Ulmschneider said that one of the concerns about a change in policy was that smokers will have no place nearby to smoke and no place that is protected from the elements. He reported that a member of VLAC had contacted him to offer as a class project to design and construct a smoking “hut” of some kind. He said that the VCU Libraries will pursue that idea. He also noted that there are few places that ban smoking on the Monroe Park Campus, although smoking is banned throughout the MCV Campus. The change there will be quite visible, and he has kept the Provost informed about a possible change to ban smoking in front of Cabell Library.
Members of the Committee expressed their thought that the contemplated change seemed in keeping with other civic action across the country to ban smoking in public places. One Committee member was “shocked” that any money would be spent on a smoking hut or shelter of any kind. Mr. Ulmschneider explained that there are no funds available for this project and that a decision about creating such a shelter would need University approval and support.
A motion was made, seconded and approved by acclimation to support the VCU Libraries’ 50 foot ban on smoking around Cabell Library.
Reports and Discussion
Integration of Visual Resource Center into Cabell Library: status
Mr. Ulmschneider reminded the Committee that staff had been working with various members of the Committee on this project for the last two years.
Ms. Hibben reported that VCU Libraries had recently hired a graduate assistant to work on this project exclusively. She said that the evaluating team has decided to keep the entire collection of slides related to sculpture, and that they are still reviewing the slides on painting. Retained slides will be digitized and will be available through an ARTStor portal called Shared Shelf. Faculty can submit other slides to include in Shared Shelf, and can request specific images through this portal. She said that in the near future, only local work at VCU will be available, but the intent of Shared Shelf is to share resources, so at some point it will be possible to share with other universities, too. As the space on the 3rd floor is emptied by the removal of slides, the space likely will be converted to office space. She also said that materials not kept by the VCU Libraries will be offered appropriate departments in VCUArts before being disposed of.
Mr. Clark told the Committee that the main thrust of the Task Force report was the creation of a media studio in which students from all schools and disciplines can create multi-media work with guidance from VCU Libraries staff and other students. He said that the staff has researched how other universities provide this service, and he noted that there will have to be an electrical study of the building to determine where the studio can be located, since it will require considerable electrical power. The initial space will be temporary; the new library building will include a much more complete design for this kind of space. However, because there’s no guarantee regarding when the new building will be built, it is felt that it’s important to proceed with plans for the media studio now, housed in the existing Cabell Library space.
In discussion, strong support was expressed for this studio, as well as a keen interest in serving on the advisory committee for the design and implementation of the space. Mr. Clark thanked the Committee members for their interest and said that when the electrical work is done and the project funded, he would engage the Committee on the design and uses of the space itself.
STF report - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider briefly referred to the handout which had been promised at the last meeting in April. It illustrates the STF equipment requests. He noted that the media studio would be an additional $100,000, as would a book printing machine.
VCU Libraries programs:
- Watercolors by Victor Yanchick: August 15-November 23, 2011. Exhibit at Tompkins-McCaw Library of watercolor paintings by Dean Victor Yanchick of the School of Pharmacy. In highlighting this event, Mr. Ulmschneider said that after the exhibit, some of the work will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to the School of Pharmacy.
- 9/11 Commemoration: Opening reception September 9, 2011. Exhibits of limited-edition prints, sound recordings from the World Trade Center, materials documenting local reactions, and a wall of memories, September 6 – September 23, 2011. Mr. Ulmschneider said that this event was even featured on the front page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He thanked Dr. Vitiello again for his creative efforts and time.
- Constitution Day recognition: video screening, live broadcast from the National Constitution Center, and a Constitution Day montage, along with distribution of free copies of a pocket-size copy of the Constitution in English and Spanish. Sept. 12 – Sept. 18, 2011. Mr. Ulmschneider said that every school which receives funds from the Federal Government is required to do some kind of event honoring September 17th, the day the Constitution was ratified. By default and custom, VCU complies with this in the form of the efforts done by VCU Libraries.
- Tayari Jones visit and reading: Acclaimed novelist will read from her third novel, Silver Sparrow, and dialog with the audience, October 7, 2011 7:00-9:00pm, Richmond Salons. Mr. Ulmschneider said that Ms. Jones is one of the country’s up and coming new African-American authors and encouraged the Committee to attend her reading and dialog.
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that the Committee won’t meet again until after the annual Friends of the Library Book Sale (10/24 – 10/2811). He encouraged the Committee to come shop the book sale, located in the basement of Cabell Library. He also said that donations of books for sale would be most welcome.
Demo and discussion: Primo, a new way to search VCU's library collections - online demonstration
Mr. Ulmschneider began by saying that this new resource was purchased with HEETF funds. Ms. Spencer then gave a PowerPoint presentation explaining what Primo is and how it works, as well as how it differs from current search technology. She said that the VCU version is in the alpha stage now and will be available for use by the public in its beta stage before the end of this semester. She explained that while standard searching tools are “silo” focused – searchers have to drill down in each data resource to find materials – Primo is described as a “discovery tool”: it searches multiple databases, resources and options simultaneously. The tool then returns data it has found along with the sources to support further refinement of the search. Users can refine the search using variables such as date, type of resource (including whether the material is from a peer-reviewed journal), author, etc. She conducted several key word searches and showed how the materials was retrieved, presented and made available for further individualization. In time, the tool will link with other resources like ArtSTOR, though not all sources are working with Primo right now. This tool will be available on the main Libraries web site; no special software will be required. It is hoped that this “Google on steroids” type of tool will make research more exciting and more fruitful for both students and faculty.
The meeting adjourned at 6:05 pm.