VCU Arts Library Committee
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Reading Room, Special Collections, 4th Floor Cabell Library
Charles Brownell, Susie Ganch, Sonali Gulati, Lea Marshall, Roy McKelvey (chair), Pamela Taylor, Barbara Tisserat, Roberto Ventura, Stephen Vitiello
Staff: Yuki Hibben, Kristina Keogh, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Mr. Ulmschneider thanked Dr. Brownell for his generous gift of a rare trade catalog, Low Tiles, which focuses on decorative tiles such as the kind used throughout the Richmond area on the inside and outside of buildings and residences.
Rerview and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from September 2010
The minutes were approved as presented.
VCU Arts Library Committee charge
Mr. McKelvey reported that after extensive research, he could find no history or record of a formal charge for the Committee. He noted that the only other School-based committee, the Humanities and Sciences Library Committee, has a charge that primarily identifies representation on the committee. He said that it would be helpful to have formal documentation regarding how membership in the VCUArts Library Committee is establish and how the Committee should elect offices and conduct its business.
Mr. Ulmschneider commented that the charge for the VCU Libraries Advisory Committee (VLAC) can serve as a model, since it includes a formal charge to the VLAC and a description of membership. He said that he has not talked with the Dean of the School of the Arts on the matter of the Committee’s charge and composition. He did note that Mr. McKelvey has very graciously served for eight years as Chair of the Committee, and it is reasonable for the responsibility to move on to other members of the Committee.
During discussion of the charges to the other two committees, it was noted that some of the formal practices outlined in the two documents are not always implemented faithfully. Also, the Chair of H & S Library Committee is designated as one of the representatives to the VLAC from the College. Currently, Mr. McKelvey serves as Chair of the VCUArts Library Committee and also as the representative to the VLAC from VCUArts, but his membership on VLAC is a result of appointment by the Dean, not a consequence of chairing the Committee. The matter of student representation was also discussed and viewed as a good idea.
Mr. Ulmschneider and Mr. McKelvey will draw up a draft charge and bring it to the next meeting in January for consideration. Several features were discussed as potentially included:
- Responsibility to both bring information from home departments and then report back to those departments from the meetings of Arts Library Committee
- Subject of interdisciplinary relationship is not addressed in either sample document. VLAC is “school based”; the H&S Library Committee is department-based.
- How appointments are made is important. Mr. Ulmschneider noted that for the equivalent of VLAC at some universities, the faculty senate makes appointments and oversees the committees, while at others, the Provost makes the appointments. For School-based committees, a mechanism that relies on departmental processes to appoint departmental representatives is probably best.
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that last spring, Dr. Gulati had asked why the policy for VHS loans was not the same as that of DVDs. He asked staff to address the issue, which required developing the new policy outlined in the handout. The intention is to be consistent, if not equitable. Mr. Ulmschneider explained that some VHS tapes are very expensive and others are literally unique, that is, no longer available for purchase in either VHS or newer formats, hence the need to limit access for such materials to in-building use only. Most students do not have VHS players and likely need to view the tapes in the building anyway. Loans for expensive or rare tapes will be considered on a case by case basis.
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that a task force has been convened to look into various aspects of the operations of Media and Reserve Services (which houses the VHS collection) and part of their task is to look into what can be reformatted into DVD. The matter of copyright and ownership comes into play when considering reformatting. The report concerning MRS will be shared with the Committee when it is available.
Reports and Discussion
Director, VCUArts Qatar Library update
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that the search for a new director is ongoing, with six telephone interviews the week of Thanksgiving. He noted that there have been some other staff changes at the VCU-Qatar library, including a recent resignation. Ms. Hibben recently visited Qatar and confirmed that it is very important to staff there that they feel part of the VCU community.
Progress report, Option 1 Task Force for Visual Resource Center closing
Ms. Hibben reported that the process of reviewing the slide collection is ongoing, with the first area targeted, 20th century paintings, being nearly completed. She said that part of the review is to determine what slides offer images and information that cannot be found in ArtStor. When it is determined that a slide is not needed, it can be returned to its department of origin. She reminded the Committee that this is a huge project and it will take a lot of time to complete.
Use of library computers by students for accessing Facebook
Mr. McKelvey said that when members of the VCUArts Library Committee were touring the Learning Commons, some were surprised to find students on Facebook using library computers. They expressed concern that this practice was not in keeping with the intended use of the equipment. They raised this issue to Mr. Ulmschneider and pointed out that their concern arose because computers are a scare resource, and accessing social media sites did not seem a good use of such a precious commodity.
Mr. Ulmschneider thanked the members of the Committee for their concern. He explained that while the use of Facebook on computers in the library may not seem appropriate, there are good reasons that the VCU Libraries does not take steps to block access to Facebook and other social media sites.
- Consistent with practice at nearly all libraries in higher education, the VCU Libraries does not filter access to the web for students or faculty. There are practical barriers to filtering – no filter is perfect and will bar access to legitimate materials as well as the ones targeted by the institution implementing the filter – and filtering is contrary to principles of intellectual freedom adopted by librarians.
- Institutions of higher education use social media sites for academic purposes and to engage students. VCU has many Facebook sites; the VCU Libraries itself has 3 Facebook pages and uses Facebook and Twitter, among other means, to inform students of upcoming events, changes in library services, and the like. Blocking or restricting access to social media therefore would eliminate access to legitimate academic information resources.
- Libraries have always had a social element to them: students and faculty have always used them as centers of social as well as intellectual interaction. Facebook and similar sites are modern examples of a long-standing reality for libraries.
In discussion, it was asked why VCU Libraries does not have an iPhone app . Mr. Ulmschneider noted that the VCU Libraries does have an iPhone/Android interface to its web site and many of the services there, but that the catalog software does not have mobile interface capability.
Demo: Overview of new digital library materials for the arts: Berg Fashion Library, Dance in Video, Theatre in Video and others
Ms. Keogh gave a demonstration of some of the new databases available for student and faculty use focusing on the arts. She showed how to access these resources from the main library web page, including the guides put together by library staff. She then focused on the Theatre in Video database, which features live audience videos of television productions of classic pieces of theatre. This database allows for the creation of play lists and cutting and splicing into Blackboard for use in classroom instruction. For this database, as well as the others, the user must log in with a VCU ID, including any proxy use. She also showed some features on the database called 20th Century North American Drama, which has full written texts of the plays included in the collection.
Ms. Keogh then showed how to access Dance in Video and showed some of the features of this database, as well, including the various search options. She pointed out that the publishers are continually adding new content into these databases.
In discussion there was a general sense of appreciation for the acquisition of this material. Much of it has been needed for some time, but budget constraints have not made it possible to acquire the materials. It is hoped that if a possible increase in funding allows the VCU Libraries to fill vacant positions, more instruction in the use of these resources will enhance their usefulness, not to mention the awareness that they are now available.
The meeting adjourned at 6:25 pm.