New this fall semester are streamlined services at James Branch Cabell Library.
All checkout of books and equpiment loans and initial requests for research assistance are now handled from The Desk in the lobby. Previously, patrons went to the third floor for media checkout, the reference ("Ask Us") desk on the first floor for research assistance, and the desk ("Circulation") near the entrance to checkout.
VCU Libraries has been preparing for this transition during the past year. "This change mirrors national trends at institutions on the scale of VCU Libraries, and it's happening for many reasons," said Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning Dennis Clark. "As our collections and services have gradually moved online, from electronic databases to streaming media to questions asked via chat and text, fewer patrons have been asking their questions in person. Those who do frequently require help from staff and librarians in multiple departments, and providing that help in one place is more efficient for both patrons and for the library."
Students and faculty who need in-depth help with research will be referred to a librarian and subject specialists will continue to be available for one-on-one consultations, meetings, presentations, tailored instruction and assistance by email and phone.
Media services have also been improved and streamlined. Media may be requested via the search box and will be held for pick-up at The Desk. The new department, Innovative Media, located on the third floor, provides support for media users and producers across a range of formats. The recently appointed head of Innovative Media, Eric Johnson, welcomes meetings with faculty.
"Usually we encounter people coming into the building who want many different things at the same time. This model will let us provide that help with one stop," said Clark.
"This new set-up should make it easier for Cabell's patrons--most of whom are undergraduates--to find the right place to go for help and the right person to help them."