VCU Libraries Advisory Committee
4th Floor Conference Room, James Branch Cabell Library
September 21, 2012
Meredith Baines, Les Harrison, Tehra James, Lea Marshall, Whitney Newcomb, Peter Nguyen, Niyati Patel, Lisa Phipps, Faye Prichard (chair), Robert Sexton, Carolyn White
Guest: Laura Razzolini for Jose Dula
Staff: Dennis Clark, John Duke, Jeanne Hammer, Teresa Knott, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Absent with notice
Ms. Prichard welcomed everyone back from the summer break and asked Committee members to introduce themselves. Mr. Ulmschneider thanked Ms. Prichard for continuing on as chair for the academic year, and also for bringing to his attention the fact that the Honors College had not been represented on VLAC in prior years.
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from April 2012
Mr. Ulmschneider apologized that the minutes were not sent out in advance of this meeting. The minutes were approved as presented.
Library facilities hours academic year 2012-13 - handout, online
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that it is customary for VLAC to review the hours of operation for both libraries at the opening of the academic year. Mr. Clark reviewed briefly the handout showing the hours at Cabell Library and noted that there are no changes to the previously published hours. Ms. Knott showed the Committee the online published hours for Tompkins-McCaw Library and noted that as in previous years, TML will be closed this year for the week between Christmas and New Years because of the very light usage.
No action representing approval was needed.
Changes to borrowing privileges for library materials - handout
Mr. Clark, referring to the handout, explained that the implementation of Alma, the new library enterprise operations software, offered an opportunity to simplify operations by consolidating borrowing privileges for different types of users into three broad borrowing categories. High-level borrowers – faculty, graduate students, staff, etc. – will have a borrowing period of 6 months. Mid-level borrowers – chiefly undergraduate students – will have a borrowing period of 28 days with 2 renewals. Low-level borrowers – community members, Friends of the Library, etc. – will have a borrowing period of 28 days with 1 renewal, and more restricted privileges for borrowing non-book materials. The change does not reduce any user’s current borrowing privileges, but it does simplify the entire process, so that users will find it much easier to understand their borrowing privileges.
Planning for new library building on Monroe Park Campus - online presentation
Mr. Ulmschneider reminded the Committee of the oft-discussed “space crunch” experienced by users of the Cabell Library, since Cabell provides the least amount of space per student of any academic library in Virginia. He reported that the Board of Visitors approved funding in August 2012 for design of a new building to address the problem, and the actual design process began immediately. Fortunately the library space study completed in fall 2011 assembled much of the data required to identify space needs and use, so the process has been able to move with exceptional speed towards a conceptual design for the allocation of space inside the new building. He shared images of potential space allocations with the Committee, but noted that the images are conceptual only and did not represent an actual design. The design team hopes to have the final design plan, including both interior spaces and exterior appearance, ready for the February Board of Visitors meeting. In reviewing the images the following points were made:
- Starbucks will double in size, but its seating space will remain accessible at all times to students who want to study in that area as well as enjoy Starbucks.
- There will be interior renovations to the existing spaces in Cabell to accommodate its connection to the new building and the reallocation of space to functions within the new space and the existing space.
- Linden Street will eventually be closed to vehicular traffic and become a pedestrian walkway similar to Shafer Street.
- The plan is to add about 30% more useable space – about 70-74,000 sq ft gross, with over 1,000 new student seats.
- The planning committee favors design alternative #1, which adds space over the existing loading dock area with minimal impact on the existing green space. In addition, design alterative #3 is acceptable; it’s very similar to #1 but has an additional small building on the Student Commons side of the building.
- The design will pay attention to new pedestrian traffic patterns that will emerge as the new classroom on Linden Street comes online as well as the new dorms on Grace Street.
- Design goals include elegant reading spaces and a 150-300 seat presentation and lecture space with a reception area and possibly an outdoor terrace.
- The new building will be the same height as Cabell or slightly higher.
- It’s likely that this will be the last new library space for many years, so it will be designed with flexibility and ongoing evolution and repurposing of its space foremost in mind.
- An ideal schedule has groundbreaking in 2014.
- The new building will target at least LEED Silver compliance.
- The fundraising goal is $10M.
- The VCU Libraries to reduce the size of the on-site, active collection to around 500,000 heavily-used titles. Less heavily-users materials will be placed in storage either on-site or off-site.
Reports and Discussion
Ms. Prichard suggested that given the time, the Committee should address the balance of the agenda at a following meeting with exception of the next item because it affects the faculty and students directly.
Phase-out of catalog and implementation of new library enterprise software system
Mr. Duke reported that the Primo searching tool, which has been discussed at previous VLAC meetings, now incorporates most of the functionality of the current catalog interface. Consequently, the catalog will be phased out on October 24, when the library cuts over all operations to Alma, the new library enterprise-wide operations software. Beginning in August, anyone who selected the catalog for searching saw a message that the catalog would be dropped in favor of the new Primo system as of 10/24/12. In response to concerns that this is being done during the semester, Mr. Duke explained that the user will actually experience very little change. Use history indicates that the students don’t know or care about the search tool they use so long as they are able to accomplish the research they need. He noted that the new search tool still does not search all information resources provided by the VCU Libraries, but most resources are covered, and the entire catalog is included.
Mr. Ulmschneider said that the balance of the agenda will be incorporated into future meetings but he did suggest that the Committee look through the packet of information provided for this meeting especially since it includes lists of the new journals and new collection added for 2012.
Ms. Knott reminded the Committee that there will be a lecture and reception on October 18th at the Kontos Medical Sciences Building to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Community Health Education Services (CHEC). The guest speaker will be patient safety expert John Nance.
Ms. Prichard reminded the Committee that the next meeting will held at TML on October 19th.
The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.