Humanities & Sciences Library Committee
4th Floor Conference Room, James Branch Cabell Library
September 24, 2010 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Bonnie Davis (chair), Denis Demchenko, Antonio Espinoza, Les Harrison, Eric Hazelrigg, Bernard Piciche, Rebecca Segal, A. J. Shriar, James Terner, Fang-shen Wu
Staff: Dan Ream, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Guest: Jeanne Hammer, AUL for Policy Administration
Before the meeting started, Mr. Ulmschneider noted that Committee chair Dr. Davis will also serve on VLAC as the second representative from the College of Humanities and Science for academic year 2010-11, as set forth in the Committee bylaws. Dr. Davis welcomed the Committee back from the summer break.
In answer to an inquiry about the new lost item fee structure, Mr. Ulmschneider informed the Committee that the new fees are in place now, effective July 1st. He thanked the Committee for their “common sense” suggestions on the matter.
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from April 2010
The minutes were approved as presented.
Group study rooms guidelines and management - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider thanked library staff for their in-depth look into the problems around managing the use of group study rooms. He noted that in the past, the use of these rooms has sometimes presented challenges when students have conflicts over the rooms or when students “camp” in the rooms for days at a time. With the creation of the Learning Commons, a total of 29 group study rooms are now available in Cabell Library, and it was clear that a new approach to using these rooms was necessary.
The VCU Libraries has implemented a new online reservation system that allows students to identify available rooms and reserve them up to 48 hours in advance, a maximum of 3 times a week. It is hoped that the students won’t “game” the system though some of that behavior is expected. So far the system seems to be working and no conflicts have arisen. The cost of keys or electronic keying was prohibitive so the rooms are open until reserved. Mr. Ulmschneider demonstrated the reservation system, showing how to access the system on the web site and how to find available rooms. He noted that instructions for the system are clearly available on the web page. Since the introduction of the new system two weeks ago, there have been 964 reservations. When there is a conflict with a non-reserved user already occupying a room, the reserving student is encouraged by the staff to talk to the occupying student and take care of the situation themselves. This also seems to be working.
Mr. Ulmschneider underscored that faculty are welcome to use these rooms for study or lecture for small groups. The system allows anyone from a group to make reservation, so with the assistance of students in their class, a faculty person could potentially reserve a space for an extended period of time.
Hours for library facilities 2010-11 - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider reminded the Committee that the VCU Libraries each year brings the proposed hours of operation for library facilities to the advisory committees for their review. He referred to the handouts, which listed building hours for both library facilities for the academic year. He noted that TML will be closed during winter break, which is a change of schedule from the past. However, he noted that TML actually will be open more hours than in the past because it now has the same hours year-round, without a reduction in hours during the summer as it once did. TML is also reopening on Saturdays. He pointed out that JBC’s hours will be basically the same and that there will be 24/5 opening for both semesters.
Mr. Ulmschneider then asked for any feedback. The Committee had no questions and voted to endorse the hours as presented.
Cabell elevator lobby refurbishment designs - PowerPoint demo
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that when Facilities leaders were given a tour of the new Cabell Learning Commons, they were struck by the rather shabby appearance of the exterior of the elevators and the wall areas immediately adjacent to them. Facilities suggested that it might be able to finance a renovation of these areas on all 5 floors. In response, KSA Interiors has been retained to design some options for this project.
Ms. Hammer walked through a PowerPoint presentation showing 3 options for these areas that have been offered by KSA. These have been vetted at both VLAC and the Arts Library Committee, as well as at CLUAC, and feedback from all 3 groups has been forwarded to the designers. She then asked for feedback from the H&S Library Committee. In summary, this was what was shared:
- Preferred the 2nd, softer version of the first suggestion, the one with the typography, which was reflected in the 3rd slide.
- Wanted the floors to be labeled in some useful but not obvious, garish way, so as not to look like a parking garage
- Liked the appeal of the simpler walls, with more muted tonal variations
- Liked the idea of different languages, reflecting the diversity of the University, and the use of quotes
Ms. Hammer told the Committee that the students had suggested the use of quotes and different languages. In discussion, it was suggested that the designers might look at the Richmond International Airport, where there is a wall design using this kind of quotes as design elements. It was also suggested that sprucing up the stairwells might encourage their use. Mr. Ulmschneider said he would look into this option.
In follow up discussion, serious issues with the restrooms were noted, including doors that don’t latch and simply the inadequate number of restrooms. Mr. Ulmschneider agreed that this was real problem noting that the building now regularly has over 15,000 visitors a day and the restroom facilities were never intended to serve that many people.
Reports and Discussion
VCU2020 recalibration - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that the VCU2020 recalibration effort will directly affect everyone at the University, so it’s important to monitor it and participate if possible. He referred to the handout, which is a printout of a webpage showing the current status of the recalibration effort, including the new goals and the metrics that will be presented to the Board of Visitors. He urged the Committee members to go to this web page and review the report carefully. He said that this new vision is going to be the basis for the University moving forward, and will have an important role in hiring of new faculty, where there will be heightened emphasis on research promise. The plan continues to emphasize student engagement, but also establishes as a core goal moving VCU forward as a major research university in Virginia. It is Mr. Ulmschneider’s opinion that to accomplish this goal, the University will need to strengthen its library system to achieve funding benchmarks that meet qualification standards for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).
Mr. Ulmschneider urged the Committee members to attend the upcoming forums on this matter and give their input, especially if they have thoughts concerning VCU Libraries’ role in the new 2020 mission. The final report with input added will be sent to the Board of Visitors for final approval in May 2011.
Library space study and new library building: update
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that work being done by the space planning consultants has been largely completed and is now under reviewed. Part of this effort was a day long session with senior VCU Libraries staff and the consultants. The results of the work indicate a strong need for graduate study space, as well as study space for undergraduates and work areas for faculty. In terms of design, while the new space will be located over the “pit”, a new face for Cabell Library is also possible and probably needed. Additionally, how the two buildings will connect is important. The new building is at least 5 years out, and will follow a new classroom building planned for the current VV parking lot. Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that funding will come from both state and private sources.
Access and borrowing privileges for area high-schools - handout
Mr. Ream told the Committee that previously, 4 high schools and 9 IB programs in the Richmond area had borrowing privileges. However, it has been decided to expand this access to all area high schools, public and private, in the surrounding counties of Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield, as well as City of Richmond schools. A new process has been implemented in which the high school librarian grants access. Anyone seeking access must contact their school librarian, who then contacts VCU to set up access for that person. There are several benefits to this arrangement, but most importantly, it requires students and teachers at the high school to come to their own library first and perhaps find what they’re looking for. Additionally, the high school is responsible for all items on loan. A patron is issued an access pass by their own school librarian and then they bring that pass to VCU Libraries. High school students and faculty may check out up to 5 items each, and each high school can have up to 250 items out at any one time. Mr. Ream also told the Committee that tours are given to high school students, arranged again by the school librarian, usually during non-class times for VCU such as Reading Days. Any student from an area high school can also come into the building and use the guest-access computer for one hour, though they are not allowed to check out items using that status.
Mr. Ulmschneider pointed out that high school students cannot have access to VCU’s online journals and data sources because of VCU’s licensing agreements. For this use, students are redirected to FindItVa or other sources available through their school or public library.
In brief discussion, Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that there are now a total of 48 laptops for loan and these do not appear to be enough. They are almost always all loaned out all the available times.
Demo: Tour of the new Cabell Learning Commons
The meeting adjourned at 4:00 to take a brief tour of the new Learning Commons on the 2nd floor of Cabell.