VCU Libraries Advisory Committee
Main Conference Room, Tompkins-McCaw Library
March 23, 2012 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Charlotte Arbogast, Meredith Byrk, Corey Davis, Linda Hughes, Tehra James, Kathy Kreutzer, Roy McKelvey, Faye Prichard (chair), Amy Throckmorton, Dr. Vijayakumar (for Jose Dula), Katheryn Witt
Staff: Dennis Clark, John Duke, Jeanne Hammer, Teresa Knott, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary). Guests: Shannon Jones, VCU Libraries, Jodi Koste, VCU Libraries, Ronke Lawal, VCU Libraries, Mike Rawls, VCU Libraries
Absent with notice
Etti Baranoff, Laura McLay, Whitney Newcomb, Lisa Phipps, Jeanne Schlesinger
Les Harrison, Peter Nguyen, Patricia Strong
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from February 2012
The minutes were approved as presented.
LibQUAL+ results from spring 2011 survey: key findings - online demonstration, handout
Mr. Ulmschneider reminded the Committee that every two years VCU Libraries conducts the LibQUAL+ survey, a nationally-normed library survey, to determine the level of service, collections and library space satisfaction among undergraduate students, graduate students, and the faculty. He apologized that the results from the most recent survey, in spring 2011, had not yet been reported back to VLAC.
Mr. Rawls and Dr. Lawal then described the findings of the survey and institutional responses to the findings. Some highlights of the report:
- A response of 21% was achieved; this is quite strong for LibQUAL+ surveys nationally.
- An increase in satisfaction in all measures over the course of LibQUAL+ surveys since 2004 is noteworthy. The improvement may result from improvements and changes made in response to the previous surveys, including facilities renovations, more electrical outlets, and stronger collections.
- For all constituents, service (staff performance) received the highest scores. The weakest ratings went to the searching tools and off-site access.
- Graduate students were least satisfied with the remote access capability for the collections. This may indicate a need to educate students better about off-campus access.
- Faculty were least satisfied with searching capabilities and library space.
- Undergraduate students also were least satisfied with the physical space for study.
- When comparing the responses by schools, the highest scores related to staff performance and the least highly rated related to collections.
New programs and technologies implemented after the survey may address some of the concerns identified by weak scores. For instance, the implementation of Primo, which provides a simple, unified search technology for the library system’s information resources, should help with the concerns about searching. New power outlets and furniture on the 4th floor of Cabell, renovations underway at TML to the 2nd floor and the basement, and ultimately, the addition of the new library space on the Monroe Park Campus, should help address concerns about library space.
Mr. Rawls and Dr. Lawal reviewed additional information about recent e-journal purchases and the status of the collections, which should address some concerns about library materials. Highlights include:
- New back issues of e-journals, including all back issues of The New England Journal of Medicine from 1812 to 1989, making the set complete.
- Other purchases include the Springer e-book collections in BioMed, Life Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering and Medicine, as well as the AP Stylebook Online (50 seats were purchased for this).
They explained that to support the Quest for Distinction’s goal of ARL status, collections are being strengthened to be competitive with those at peer institutions identified by Quest. There remains the need to strengthen teaching and outreach, and to meet technical development goals, both of which improve access to the collections.
In discussion, the question of how to access collections remotely was raised; one Committee member requested a “helpful hints” link about remote access on the front page of the VCU Libraries website. Additionally, Mr. Ulmschneider said he would send out an email to the full committee letting them know the names and titles of the recent faculty appointments at VCU Libraries.
Reports and Discussion
Around-the-clock library services: report on first week - online video, handout
Mr. Clark reported that there have been 2 new hires of classified employees in Circulation and 1 new hire of classified in Research and Instructional Services in order to staff the desks during the overnight hours. The library system’s experience of 24 hour operations during exam periods for the last several semesters provided good guidance regarding the number and level of staffing required. Mr. Ulmschneider explained how use numbers are tracked overnight and noted that the current use is slightly higher than that of the opening days of the pervious end-of-semester 24 hour service. Mr. Clark showed a brief, good-humored video by one of the overnight staff, showing people in the building at 5:30 am on Thursday, March 22nd. In discussion, it was noted that the entire building is open (partial opening is not feasible and not cost-saving), though most students are on the 1st and 2nd floors. In response to a question, Mr. Ulmschneider noted that at other institutions, when 24 hour space is offered at a location other than a library, students don’t tend to use it. For security, ID’s are checked at the door beginning at 10:00 pm.
New e-book packages, spring 2012 - handouts
Mr. Ulmschneider briefly reviewed this handout which showed the recently purchased titles which focused primarily on the sciences.
Sustained acquisition of new library materials: requirements - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider reviewed the handout, which showed the workload challenge of steadily increasing library collections. The decreased staffing levels within the VCU Libraries now manage much larger collection assets than in the past, but Mr. Ulmschneider does have concerns about how much more current staffing can accommodate. It is critical to strengthen staffing in some areas in order to ensure responsible management of increased collections funding.
VCU Libraries programs
- Black History Month Lecture, Feb. 22, 7pm - 9pm: Renowned advertising executive Tom Burrell lectured
- Southern Film Festival, Feb. 24-25
- March 8: Intersections: Art and Science, exhibit at TML
- March 22: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa
- March 29: The 27th Annual Brown-Lyons Lecture, "Jerusalem: A Tale of Three Cities"
Mr. Ulmschneider reviewed each of these briefly and extended an invitation to the Committee to attend the March 29th lecture by Dr. Jack Spiro.
Demo and discussion: Community Health Education Center (CHEC) 10th anniversary celebration and community outreach at TML - online demonstration
Ms. Jones reviewed the organization and work of CHEC, as well as the other outreach initiatives operated by TML. She said that CHEC, a hospital-based library and resource center for patients, their families, and support people, is the only organization of its type in Virginia. CHEC services include books, business services like computers, printers and faxing, and monthly education series, which are free and open to the public. There will be an Open House at CHEC on April 17th to celebrate 10 years of service to the community. There also will be a guest speaker on October 18th.
Ms. Jones highlighted three outreach programs in particular:
- Graduate Student Advisory Committee – organized to get feedback from and provide interaction with graduate students at MCV.
- Library Liaison Program – librarians are embedded in various programs and schools across the MCV campus to maximize communications with these academic communities.
- Instructional and Research Support – curriculum support with classroom instruction on MCV campus.
Ms. Koste was unable to give her report due to technical difficulties.
The meeting adjourned at 3:15 pm.