VCU Libraries Advisory Committee
4th Floor Conference Room, James Branch Cabell Library
November 18, 2011 2:00 to 3:00 pm
Charlotte Arbogast, Corey Davis, Les Harrison, Kathy Kreutzer, Laura McLay, Peter Nguyen, Faye Prichard (Chair), Jeanne Schlesinger, Kathryn Witt
Absent with notice
Etti Baranoff, Meredith Byrk, Tehra James, Whitney Newcomb, Amy Throckmorton
Linda Hughes, Roy McKelvey, Lisa Phipps
Staff: Dennis Clark, John Duke, Jeanne Hammer, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from October 2011
The minutes were approved as presented.
Extra holiday closing day for TML: January 2, 2012
Mr. Ulmschneider reminded the Committee that the VCU Libraries brought proposed hours of operation to VLAC in the fall for their approval. Since that time, the Governor declared Monday, January 2 as a State holiday. In keeping with the Governor’s announcement, Tompkins-McCaw Library for Health Sciences will be closed that day. Cabell Library will be open because intersession classes will be held that day on the Monroe Park Campus.
This change in hours was endorsed by unanimous verbal consent.
Comments and evaluation of Primo public beta ("Quick Search" tab on VCU Libraries homepage)
Mr. Ulmschneider announced that the Primo “discovery” technology, which was demonstrated at the previous VLAC meeting, was now in beta release for the University community. The new search box for Primo can be found on the “Quick Search” tab on the home page search box.
Mr. Clark demonstrated the new discovery tool. The new tool searches the library’s catalog of books, but simultaneously also searches e-books, electronic journals and databases, digital media, and other library resources, all with a single search statement. All results are listed in a single retrieval set, so that users can immediately see the breadth of materials available and elect to further refine the search.
Mr. Clark invited Committee members to send him feedback on the new search tool, or give feedback through the feedback button on the search page. Further refinements to the tool will be made for the spring semester based upon users’ input and ideas.
In discussion, it was noted that first- and second-year students, who are taught to search via disciplines, might find the new search more difficult. But, by selecting from the left-hand results column, users can narrow search results by discipline. In addition, these students also are encouraged to refer to standard resources such as Libguides and the A-Z database guide.
Ms. Prichard again thanked VCU Libraries, especially Laura Gariepy, for offering classes on research development and practices.
New Committee listserv and agenda development
Mr. Ulmschneider announced that the Committee will be contacted using the recently revised VLAC listserv and that members of the Committee may use the listserv as they wish to communicate and share comments and ideas.
Reports and Discussion
VCU Libraries space study report
Mr. Ulmschneider said that VCU Libraries has received the final written report from BCWH for the space study, which was initiated in fall 2009. The report clearly outlines the space use and needs for both campuses. The data shows that the scope of work and funding requested by the University for a new library building on the Monroe Park Campus falls about 33,000 square feet short of meeting the actual need. Consequently, the building’s design may have to include a phased approach to construction, and private funding will be crucial to meeting the full need for library space at VCU.
With regard to a new library building, Mr. Ulmschneider reported that the University as identified a new library building as its top priority for capital funding. It is clear that at every opportunity, the University leadership has been making the case for State funding to begin this crucial project. The University hopes to obtain at least some funding for design in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The top priority in designing a new library building at VCU is to meet the need for undergraduate study and academic work space. The existing Cabell Library will not be replaced, but will become more focus on storing and providing access to library materials, since the new building will have little or no space for collections. It is anticipated that the new library building will be constructed on the north side of Cabell Library, over the existing loading dock area. Eventually, space may be added to the east side, facing the Cathedral, as well. The rest of the building may not be changed immediately, but its design allows for relatively easy changes to the façade that could potentially deal with the unattractive nature (for contemporary society) of the “brutalism” architecture that shaped the original design.
The report also identifies the critical need for extensive renovations at Tompkins-McCaw Library to transform its interior to space suitable for contemporary student use. Much of the original 1932 building has never been changed, and most of the 1975 addition also remains in its original state.
When the digital copy of the report is available, Mr. Ulmschneider will make it available to the Committee.
In an additional note, Mr. Ulmschneider reported that “no smoking” signs are up but the campus culture is slow to change when it comes to smoking near the entrance doors.
Lending mobile devices: a new service provided by VCU Libraries
Mr. Clark reported that new equipment is available for checkout: digital cameras that shoot still and video and iPads (preloaded with apps and book reader software). Nooks and Kindles will be available in 2012.
Integration of Visual Resource Center into Cabell Library: Final status report
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that the last of the Visual Resource Center collection, transferred to Cabell Library from the School of the Arts in 2010, has been processed for retention or reassignment back to the School of the Arts. The Cabell 3rd Floor Media Resource Center space that housed the material will be reassigned to other uses.
Much of the former VRC collection has been digitized and is available via Shared Shelf, a feature of ArtStor, with the intention that eventually all the retained material will be available on this platform. Other materials deemed unnecessary for the collection were offered to appropriate departments in the School of the Arts. All materials not retained by the VCU Libraries or assigned to academic departments will be disposed of. In discussion, it was noted that the VRC collection did not contain any microforms. However, VCU Libraries recently acquired the Early English Books collection of microforms from Virginia Tech, which has purchased the online version. It is hoped that eventually VCU can purchase this digital resource, since the digital version is much more user-friendly and conducive to email and enhancement. However, the index alone is $35,000.
Stairwell art for Cabell Library
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that VCU Libraries has received a proposal from a graduate student to do artwork in one of the stairwells. The student wants the art to be a temporary display and will return the stairwell to its previous condition. The VCU Libraries will work with the student, and has asked that the student make a decision about whether to remove the artwork in collaboration with the VCU Libraries, since there may be reason to retain it on the walls.
Mr. Ulmschneider also said that he hopes that the new library building will house permanent art displays that showcase VCU’s top-tier stature in fine arts and promote the work done by students and faculty in VCU’s top-ranked School of the Arts.
VCU Libraries programs
- VCU Libraries Annual Book Sale, Oct. 24-28
- Grave Robbing, Goblins and Ghouls: Anatomical Education in 19th Century Richmond, presentation and MCV Campus tour, Oct. 31
- Before and Beyond Birmingham: A Conversation with Wyatt Tee Walker, Nov. 11
- Cabell First Novelist Festival, Nov. 15-16
- "A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910-1965": Exhibit opening lecture with Dr. Jack Spiro, Jan. 19, 2012
Mr. Ulmschneider spoke briefly about each of these items. He added that on November 29, there will be a Book Art event in Special Collections & Archives. Based on the very successful Zine Night event, the public and students are invited to create book art of their own. He also said that Dr. Spiro has enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to give an opening lecture for the Songwriters event, and Mr. Ulmschneider predicts a strong turnout. The Brown-Lyons Lecture in March with Dr. Spiro will be “Jerusalem: A Tale of Three Cities.”
Demo and discussion: VCU digital journal prototypes - online demonstration
Mr. Duke reported that VCU Libraries had been approached by two faculty members, Joshua Eckhardt and Sarah Meechum, who wanted to create an online journal about the British experience in early Virginia. In responding to this faculty request, the Library Information Services staff has adapted the D-Space software that publishes theses and dissertations to be used as a platform for the publication.
He then demonstrated a prototype version of the journal, which will be searchable and from which data could be extracted in PDF format. Mr. Duke said that many universities have their own traditional presses. VCU does not have a press but this digital journal format may become the modern incarnation. Editors will control all content. The VCU Libraries manages and provides the technological platform, which will accommodate video and audio as well as text. . The platform also provides a mechanism for peer review, a key value for scholars. The plan is for all features to be in place in early 2012.
In closing, Mr. Ulmschneider called attention to the information packet contents, notably the Quest for Distinction publication. He invited the Committee to turn to page 11, where it is noted that one of the goals for VCU is Association of Research Libraries (ARL) membership status. He reminded the Committee that this is a public statement of intent to fund the libraries sufficiently to achieve this goal.
The meeting adjourned at 3 p.m.