Difference between revisions of "Standard 5"
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The study notes that planning is collaborative and responsive to academic needs, and could be strengthened through a stronger role for ITCH (IT Collaborative Hive).
The study notes that planning is collaborative and responsive to academic needs, and could be strengthened through a stronger role for ITCH (IT Collaborative Hive).
=== Equipment and Materials to Support the Educational Program (Standard 5.B.1)===
=== Equipment and Materials to Support the Educational Program (Standard 5.B.1)===
Revision as of 14:04, 22 April 2008
- 1 Standard Five: Library and Information Resources
- 2 Introduction
- 3 Standard 5A
- 4 Sufficiency of Information Resources and Services (5.A.1)
- 5 Sufficiency of Core Collection and Related Resources (5.A.2)
- 6 Education Program Drives Resources and Services (5.A.3)
- 7 Standard 5.B
- 7.1 Equipment and Materials to Support the Educational Program (Standard 5.B.1)
- 7.2 Teaching and Instruction (Standard 5.B.2)
- 7.2.1 Defining Information Technology Literacy
- 7.2.2 ITL in the Context of Holly's Generic Library
- 7.2.3 Cross-Curricular Media Instruction
- 7.2.4 Faculty Librarians and Library Teaching
- 7.2.5 Library Faculty as Service Providers
- 7.2.6 Service and Teaching
- 7.2.7 Library Faculty and Off-Campus Programs
- 7.2.8 Modes of Instruction in Media and Academic Computing
- 7.2.9 Faculty Institutes
- 7.3 Availability of Policies (Standard 5.B.3)
- 7.4 Participatory Planning (Standard 5.B.4)
- 7.5 Networks Extend Information Resources (Standard 5.B.5)
- 8 Standard 5.C
- 8.1 Availability of Information Resource Facilities (Standard 5.C.1)
- 8.2 Cooperative Agreements (Standard 5.C.2)
- 9 Standards
- 10 Supporting Documentation
Standard Five: Library and Information Resources
Supporting the Academic Mission of the College
Library and information resources at the Evergreen State College support students as they learn to reason and communicate about freely chosen inquiries whose outcomes remain to be discovered or created (Smith, Standard 2). Library and information resources at Evergreen must therefore balance the open-ended demands of free inquiry with the need for stability, security and efficiency in systems and services. Historically, the Library has been well funded when compared to many public baccalaureates, in recognition of the extraordinary demands of open-ended inquiry and independent study. All library and information resources are shaped by the primary mission of teaching and of providing state-of-the-art facilities for academic programs and individual students in this interdisciplinary, liberal arts curriculum. Strong collaboration among library, computing and media staff, faculty, and administration assures the development of the library and information resources as centers for teaching and learning.
The Founding Vision of the Library: Any Medium, Any Location
When the founding Dean of Library Services, James Holly, wrote his “Position Paper No. 1,” he proposed a model which he called the generic library, in some ways anticipating the concept of today's virtual library. “By generic I include man’s [sic] recorded information, knowledge, folly, and wisdom in whatever from put down, whether in conventional print, art forms, magnetic tape, laser storage, etc. By generic, I also eliminate physical boundaries such as [a] specific building or portion limited and identified as ‘the library.’” Holly's vision motivated many aspects of library, media and computer services but proved in many ways untenable because of technical and budgetary constraints and because the college community expressed traditional longings for a bounded space. Today, laptops and networked data are ubiquitous, and most students expect to access information resources, regardless of medium, remotely. Technology as well as community values have caught up with Holly’s founding vision, and Evergreen's library and learning resources now include all media, distributed to almost any location. At the same time, the physical library has expanded its role as a social and intellectual space and now provides an increasingly hospitable center for learning and gatherings of all kinds. A $22 million remodel connected previously disparate areas and created a more cohesive information technology wing, providing one central entrance for the Library, Media Services, the Computer Center and the Computing and Communications offices.
Functions and Facilities Covered in Standard Five
Reflecting these developments, Standard Five considers information resources and services from several disparate administrative units: Library Services, including Media Services (administratively part of the Academic Division); Academic Computing (administratively part of the Finance and Administration Division); and the Computer Applications Lab (administratively part of the Academic Division, with a historical role supporting the science curriculum). The phrase "library and information resources" in Standard 5 should be understood to refer to these units collectively, while comments about separate areas will use more specific language such as the Library, Media Services, CAL or Academic Computing.
The following table provides a schematic representation of the functions involved in Standard 5:
|Collections and Holdings||Facilities, Labs and Technology Support||Human Resources|
|Periodicals||Computer Center||Library Faculty|
|Books||CAL||Library & Media Services staff|
|Government Documents and Maps||Photo Services||Information Technology staff|
|Databases and Digital Resourceds||Digital Imaging||Library Dean and Administrative Support|
|Rare Books||Digital Imaging||Student Staff|
|SAIL||Media Services||Rotating Teaching Faculty|
|Curriculum Room||CCAM (live 2009)|
|Remote Services: Networked resources, off-campus program instruction, Summit, ILLiad||Library Classrooms|
Sufficiency of Information Resources and Services (5.A.1)
The institution’s information resources and services include sufficient holdings, equipment, and personnel in all of its libraries, instructional media and production centers, computer centers, networks, telecommunication facilities, and other repositories of information to accomplish the institution’s mission and goals.
Throughout this study library and information resources will be found to be strongly linked via face-to-face collaboration and consultation with faculty, staff and students. These interconnections, within a flat organizational structure, assure constant feedback and redevelopment of services and facilities. Library funding generally compares very well with public institutions and correlates strongly to average funding for private liberal arts peers, peers with whom our use statistics compare favorably. An external assessment performed by Edutech described budgetary support for information technology as comparable to that of institutions with similar missions. There are no comparable institutions for studying the large activity of cross-curricular media services, however advocacy from both the cross-curricular perspective of the library and from the specific needs of the media faculty help insure support. Rapid expansion in information technology access and aspirations have lead to changes in personnel allocation and expertise and will continue to make increasing demands on a staff and faculty already stretched in many areas.
Holdings and Equipment, see 5.B.1
Personnel, see 5.D.1
Evaluation of Budgetary Support, see 5.D.6
Sufficiency of Core Collection and Related Resources (5.A.2)
Broad institutional support for cross-curricular library and information services has historically generated sufficient institutional budgetary support for core collections and facilities. During the study period, the power of networked consortia for collective purchasing and resource sharing has resulted in greater support for the intensive work by individual students formerly more difficult to support effectively.
Education Program Drives Resources and Services (5.A.3)
Strong connections to the curriculum inform all library and information services. An entirely distinctive library rotation system deeply connects the library and teaching faculty in the shared project of curriculum and program planning. Teaching alliances between media services professionals and media faculty determine the character of media services. A strong liaison system connects Academic Computing instructors and services with teaching faculty. See Teaching and Instruction 5.B.2
Information technology planning and governance are discussed in Area 5 (Planning and Governance) of the Edutech Information Environment Review. The study notes that planning is collaborative and responsive to academic needs, and could be strengthened through a stronger role for ITCH (IT Collaborative Hive).
Equipment and Materials to Support the Educational Program (Standard 5.B.1)
Collection Development Procedures & Methods
The library faculty develops collections to support Evergreen's changeable interdisciplinary curriculum without the usual benefit departmental allocation or structures. The librarians build collections and vendor profiles on the basis of their work as both library and teaching faculty (See 5.B.2), work which involves full-time teaching, faculty governance, extensive colleagial engagement with the teaching faculty, and affiliation with planning units. The curriculum committee is the faculty as a whole, who develop the curriculum in curricular planning units, curriculum retreats, and governance groups. The library faculty's overall knowledge of the curriculum is strengthened by teaching faculty who rotate into the library and lavish their attention on areas of the collection related to their disciplinary expertise. Finally, librarians honor most requests from individuals for additions to the collection, working from the fact that free inquiry and individual research are central to the library’s mission.
In the past, the Library has struggled to satisfy incidental research demands outside the boundaries defined by the core, repeating curriculum. The substantial part of the curriculum which varies from year to year, the significant amount of work by independent contract students (almost 1300 independent study contracts in 2006/7), and the opportunity for intensive individual projects within full-time, multi-quarter programs have all driven demand for specialized materials outside the core collection. Resource sharing and large, shared purchases, all made efficient because of networking technology, have eradicated this problem. See Networks Extend Information Resources 5.B5 below.
Close work with the curriculum and faculty also informs the development of media facilities and services. Media staff attend the Expressive Arts Planning Unit meetings, in particular the Moving Image subgroup. Budgetary processes for equipment purchase and operating costs include multiple avenues for consideration of educational program needs. Through the Planning Units needs are communicated to the Academic budget planners. Through the Library, cross-curricular media demands are communicated to the Academic budget planners. Through the Information Technology Collaborative Hive (ITCH), cross-unit needs are coordinated and passed up to the campus-wide budget process. These three avenues help assure that the budget process addresses both broad and specific curricular demands for media.
Some stresses develop. Like the Library, Media Services serves the entire academic community, from programs to individuals. And, like the library, Media Services strains under the pressure of answering the needs of freely chosen independent study as well as a fluid curriculum. Students working on independent media productions compete with Expressive Arts programs over scarce resources, from equipment to laboratories to teaching staff. In order to balance these competing demands, Media Services requires students and faculty to submit Media Request Forms, which are reviewed by the Media Services Manager and the Head of Instruction Media, who allocate resources, both human and technological. Individual Contract forms include a question about the need for special equipment or facilities, and this serves as a safety net for screening intensive media use. In these ways Media Services assures that students who embark on media studies do so with the appropriate support. The Expressive Arts planning unit also instituted a Student Originated Studies (SOS) group contract in media in order to assure that students have more consistent access to facilities and instructional support as they pursue their independent projects.
Information Technology Equipment & Facilities
The Edutech Information Environment Review includes equipment in its discussion of technological facilities in Area 1 of the report. The report states, "Computing, networking and information technology facilities at Evergreen are extensive and impressive. In most cases, Evergreen facilities are at or near standards for similar institutions, and in some cases surpass them. However, these standards are a moving target, and there are areas in which the College will probably have to make upgrades in the near future." The report lauded the computer labs, classroom technology and access to computers. Recommended improvements were to extend wireless to the entire campus and permanently fund a replacement cycle for equipment.
Teaching and Instruction (Standard 5.B.2)
Defining Information Technology Literacy
Standard 2 links the Five Foci and Six Expectations of an Evergreen education are linked to the idea of reflexive thinking. "Reflexive thinking begins with a question, an interrogation of the world, and an encounter with the other. As such it involves the student in the whole process of substantive learning about subjects, disciplines and methods that is the standard domain of learning. But reflexivity is the capacity that a learner has to think about the situation and conditions that underlie her own personal and collective experience of thinking and knowing." This work is engaged and supported through the broad and deep resources of the collections and instruction within the library and information resources.
The professional literature and practice of librarianship defines information literacy as a reflective process. To be clear a reflective process considers, evaluates, synthesizes and in general engages information discovered through research. In contrast, a reflexive process goes on to consider one's own learning and knowledge as influenced through exposure to the information under consideration. According to Jeremy J. Shapiro and Shelley K. Hughes, in their article entitled 'Information Literacy as a Liberal Art.', "Information literacy is a new liberal art which extends beyond technical skills and is conceived as one's critical reflection on the nature of information itself, its technical infrastructure and its social, cultural, and even philosophical context and impact...
The information literacy curriculum includes
- Tool literacy - The ability to use print and electronic resources including software and online resources.
- Resource literacy - The ability to understand the form, format, location and methods for accessing information resources.
- Social-structural literacy - Knowledge of how information is socially situated and produced. It includes understanding the scholarly publishing process.
- Research literacy - The ability to understand and use information technology tools to carry out research, including the use of discipline-related software and online resources.
- Publishing literacy - The ability to produce a text or multimedia report of research results."
ITL in the Context of Holly's Generic Library
Information literacy at Evergreen is itself a reflexive practice, in addition to being central to the process of reflexive thinking in the broader context of undergraduate education at Evergreen. That is, the student uses library and information resources to put herself in relation to information and thinking from a variety of sources and, further, reflects about herself and her learning as she researches and learns. Within the context of library and information resources as understood and managed at Evergreen, this literacy includes not just print scholarship, but media and computing, to become not just information literacy but Information Technology Literacy. Reflection upon information includes reflection upon the nature and role of the tools themselves. Reflexive thinking includes the relation of the user to the information and to the tools.
Thus, in order to assure that students have the skills to communicate about their open inquiries, and the resources to support deeply reflexive thinking, library and information resources take a broad role in the curriculum. Two of the “Six Expectations of an Evergreen Graduate” relate directly to the library and information resources commitment to help students achieve intellectual independence, creativity, and critical acumen. Expectation Two states that our graduates will communicate creatively and effectively; Expectation Four, that our graduates apply qualitative, quantitative, and creative modes of inquiry appropriately to practical and theoretical problems across the disciplines. Not only should literate students read and write astutely, they also should access, view, critique and produce media and writing that is eloquent and complete. In this way, digital scholarship merges seamlessly with individual and formal educational goals, just as print scholarship has in the past.
Cross-Curricular Media Instruction
Library and information resources support ITL as an agenda for students across programs, disciplines and media. Library and information resources staff and faculty collaborate with teaching teams as they instruct students in media and students who create films, multimedia or musical works for programs or for independent study. These are the challenges of the "freely chosen inquiry," challenges that cannot all be met at all times. However, the location of Media Services administratively and physically within Library Services is meant to insure that media studies and media production are supported appropriately both within the programs that media faculty teach and elsewhere in the freely chosen inquiries of students. The spread of entry-level media applications into the general-use computer labs increases access to media production across the curriculum.
Although library and information resources instructors work to fuse teaching with program content, students are nevertheless free to access any media application or information technology beyond or without considering program content. Likewise, many programs focus entirely on technical skill building, without any formal attempt to link these practices to disciplinary content. And in other areas of the curriculum, such as CTL, critical media and information studies are often taught in a theoretical mode, without hands-on media production— the thing itself. The point is that, when skills are valorized over content, or when theory ignores practice, students neglect concrete critical reflection on how technology impacts the message, the creators, the audience, or society. However, Holly's generic library model, the founding principle for library and information resources at Evergreen, has emphasized and counterbalanced the tendency to isolate skills from content. Students who read texts expect to write as well; why should view media and not expect to create it? Early on, a rotating faculty member who helped link instruction with critical media studies and with interdisciplinary programs directed Media Services. Library and information resources continue to struggle to advocate for the critical study of media and information technology across the curriculum.
Academic computing also provides access to and instruction in information technologies through a balance of specialized and open computing facilities. With the migration of many media applications to commonly available personal computer platforms, instruction and facilities to support entry-level media production have spread to academic computing and even to the library proper.
Library and information resources faculty and staff instruct and teach in multiple modes, from basic skills instruction to more complex, content-driven teaching by faculty and professionals in the curriculum. In addition, the teaching faculty contribute substantively and collaboratively to planning and implementing information services, collections and policies. This dynamic collaboration between the teaching faculty and the library and information resources has shaped the primary mission to support inquiry-based education. Each area within library and information resources has developed structures to connect teaching and instruction closely to the faculty, the curriculum and the academic mission of the college. Utilization, satisfaction, and curricular surveys demonstrate the breadth and effectiveness of this work (See 5.E).
Faculty Librarians and Library Teaching
In the case of the Library, Evergreen requires rotation between the librarians and the teaching faculty. Briefly stated, faculty librarians rotate out of the library to teach full-time on a regular basis and, in exchange, teaching faculty rotate into the library to serve as librarians providing reference, instruction and collection development. (See Pedersen pp. 41-44 for more discussion of this system). Faculty who rotate into the library leave with updated skills for developing information literacy within their programs and teams across the curriculum. Library faculty develop their subject specialties and enhance their ability to work across pedagogical and disciplinary realms. Perpetual faculty-wide interactions in faculty governance and team-teaching reinforce the strong connections between the library faculty and the teaching faculty. Librarians know the faculty as colleagues and teaching faculty know the librarians (probably the only basis for widespread and effective library instruction in a curriculum without requirements). Teaching teams also spread effective library instruction practices as experienced teaching faculty introduce their new faculty teammates to their library colleagues and the teaching they offer. Most new faculty also bring updated information technology skills and experience to share with their colleagues.
A loose liaison system links each librarian with a subset of the curriculum, based on subject expertise, planning unit affiliation, and personal alliances. Faculty librarians provide a wide array of library and information technology related teaching. One-time workshops designed to engage sources particular to the research projects within an academic program represent the most common format. Librarians and teaching faculty design these workshops with the assumption that the skills imparted are embedded in the interests and needs of the program learning community. At a minimum, the faculty for the program usually 1) create a research assignment which informs and motivates the students’ work; 2) attend the research workshop and take part, adding their expertise and/or questions; 3) provide the library liaison a syllabus and a copy of the assignment and a list of the topics students are considering and 4) ask the students to begin considering their topic before attending the workshop so that they are primed to begin actual research during the workshop.
Librarians teach series of workshops on research most frequently in the graduate programs, the sciences, and the off campus programs. The teaching models for these more extended situations vary according to the library faculty involved and the role in the curriculum and they evolve significantly year to year. Each year library faculty affiliate deeply with a few such programs, meeting weekly to create stepped learning conjoined with research assignments. For documents exemplifying this teaching see Forensics Syllabus and Chemistry Health Professions Project. During several academic years an information technology seminar linked library internship opportunities with a hands-on web technology workshop. In that model, a small group of students explored contemporary questions in the world of rapid digitization and its social implications. They paralleled that study with real library work and web production practice, including wikis and webpages designed to support library functions. The seminar and workshop have provided a venue for library faculty, staff and Academic Computing instructors to gather and consider both the past and future of information technologies. For syllabi for these programs see the web pages for Still Looking, Information Landscapes and Common Knowledge. Each year one librarian also offers research methods through the evening and weekend curriculum.
Library Faculty as Service Providers
Within the library, the library faculty see themselves primarily as teachers. They tend to understand the services of the library in the context of teaching and learning, specifically teaching as it actually happens in the Evergreen curriculum. Thus, they do not tend to work from externally defined "best practices" nor do they function in a reactive mode. They take a proactive approach to the work, suggesting tools and strategies for designing library instruction, and finding the intellectual work in the world of research instruction. They position themselves to work across administrative as well as curricular boundaries and sustain an important role in the crossroads of traditional research methods, contemporary information technology and the world of the curriculum and their teaching colleagues.
Service and Teaching
Over time, the faculty librarians have transformed the reference desk into a teaching space, which goes well beyond traditional service models. For this reason, there is generally a librarian at the desk during the hours that the library is open to the public. Each contact between a librarian and a patron represents an opportunity to teach and learn. In collections, web page design, signage, collection organization, and creation of virtual services, the librarians ask, not just what is easiest or matches the expectations of inexperienced users, but what can be taught through the new design, service or collection. For example, broad aggregate databases have been purchased because they are cost-effective, but the librarians also emphasize and teach comparatively complex digitized indexes which refer students more deeply into the discipline-based literature of their inquiries. As discussed throughout this document, library and information resources are designed, planned, taught and supported in the context of college-wide teaching and learning.
Library Faculty and Off-Campus Programs
Library support for the two major off-campus offerings, the Tacoma and the Reservation-Based, Community-Determined programs, focuses heavily on instruction, with additional support from networked technology, including specialized webpages for these programs. See Services for Reservation-Based Studentsand Services for Tacoma-Based Students Students of these programs have limited access to the physical library, and must be alerted to the many high quality resources made available to them on-line through the Library. End-of-Program reports show very high engagement with information technology in these programs (See End-of-program Review Results for 2006-07 - Information Technology Literacy by Planning Unit). Most years, librarians work closely with the Research Methods class at Tacoma, providing laboratory-based instruction on location several weeks per quarter. As of 2007/08, this work has taken on a more formalized structure, and has developed into credit-generating research classes.
Library instruction at the upper-division off-campus sites of the Reservation-Based Community-Determined programs has varied widely year-by-year. Recently the program has focused on building library methods into the lower division bridge curriculum, which has not involved the library faculty directly. Reservation-Based programs report 100% teaching and use of library and internet research in 2007, however, this work has not engaged the Lbrary's holdings or services significantly. Rebuilding this connection should be a high priority, and a planned faculty rotation from a former directory of the Reservation-Based program will be an opportunity to do so. Perusal of the Achievements list for the self study period demonstrates that almost every development supports distant access to collections and services, and thus the off-campus programs.
Modes of Instruction in Media and Academic Computing
In all major computer and media labs, staff instructors provide group instruction designed to support the needs of specific academic programs, covering particular applications and tools relevant to the disciplines involved. Media and computing instructors teach workshops in different spaces and in different modes, depending on the discipline and the technology. There are no constraints upon which facilities may be used. In one quarter, a science program might have workshops in the Computer Center focusing on blogs; a math workshop using Excel in the Computer Applications Lab; a session on video documentation for field research in the Multimedia Lab; and a library research workshop in one of the general-purpose labs in the Computer Center. In this way, academic programs leverage staff expertise and facilities as needed.
Teaching faculty must be able to easily identify and contact the appropriate staff member to coordinate computer instruction which may require significant logistical support such as lab scheduling, equipment check-out, server space, password access, personnel scheduling and other details. In Academic Computing, program liaisons work with faculty in order to coordinate how programs will teach technology. For instance, the staff liaison helps set up file shares and web spaces and schedules and teaches workshops. In Media Services, the Head of Instructional Media provides a central location for faculty and students requesting instructional support in media to connect with appropriate media instructors and to schedule facilities and instruction. The Media Services staff work with faculty to design and integrate media into their programs. Media Services staff meet regularly with Media faculty in the Expressive Arts planning unit so that they can develop facilities, plan for access, and foster integration of media into academic programs.
Students who work independently on media or computing projects or who decide to tackle media projects within non-media oriented programs also receive many forms of instructional support. Academic Computing offers regularly scheduled technology workshops, which are open to all. In addition, Evergreen students can access Lynda.com, which tutors students in software applications and programming languages. The Library recently subscribed to Safari Books Online, which supports the computer science curriculum as well as technical inquiries of students across the curriculum. Academic Computing began a computing wiki in 2006/07 which hosts approximately 2,000 pages of instructions and tutorials and which continues to expand. Increasingly, students, faculty and staff rely on the Academic Computing wiki to stay abreast of technologies hosted on campus.
Any student may access most media production facilities and check out portable media equipment once they have completed relevant hands-on training sessions called proficiencies. Media instructors run hundreds of these quick, skills-focused instructional sessions annually, serving thousands of students, ensuring proper use of the equipment, and providing supportive technical background for systems. The number of formal instructional sessions provided to programs has doubled since 2000, suggesting the rapidly expanding use and breadth of college-supported media technology. Finally, the Evening and Weekend Studies curriculum provides a coherent, regular pathway for learning more complex media production processes.
Like the library faculty, media instructors teach in a variety of modes: full-time, part-time, introductory, intensive, general, sustained, intermittent, specialized, individual, within programs or collaboratively in small groups. Many of the media staff are artists, professionals, and faculty in their own right with MFA’s in their fields. They teach photography, electronic music, web design, and digital imaging as adjuncts in Evening & Weekend Studies and in Extended Education. Media staff who teach as adjunct faculty are often also called to teach full time as visiting artists. Their contributions to the part and full time curriculum are substantial and sustained, some of them having taught for over 20 years. Their work supports the Expressive Arts. It also assures access and instruction for students who don’t consider themselves artists who want nevertheless to engage in technologies that constitute not just important developing communication media but also define the visual aesthetics of science, history, political science, psychology, and other narratives. Additionally, Photo, Electronic Media and Media Loan staff annually teach as field supervisors for up to eight student interns who are critical to the effective functioning of labs and services. These students typically not only gain high level technical production skills, but also develop instructional, collaborative and administrative experience by working closely with students, faculty and technical staff. Finally, all Media staff sponsor many individual contracts which provide opportunities for students who have identified intensive individual inquiries which are not supported in the curriculum at large.In general, media staff are central to the success of media-based programs and are viewed as colleagues by the Expressive Arts faculty, whose programs they support, and as gurus by less media-literate faculty. These working relationships form the backbone of Media Services.
As described thus far, library and information resources instructors regularly work with, instruct and support the teaching faculty through individual collaboration. In addition, they design and teach several faculty institutes each summer. Faculty institutes create valuable connections among faculty, library, media and academic computing instructors. Recent information technology institutes have focused on specific applications such as teaching statistics with Excel, using online collaborative tools to foster learning communities, or creating program web pages. Some years, substantive discussions of information technology literacy as opposed to hands-on training, have been offered. During institutes, faculty are also often afforded paid time for self-directed work that focuses on their program planning. In these instances, faculty evaluate technology, practice using it, and plan how to incorporate applications into their programs.
Availability of Policies (Standard 5.B.3)
The web provides a venue for all policies, regulations and procedures for all information resources and services.
Participatory Planning (Standard 5.B.4)
Faculty, staff and students participate in the planning and development of library information resources and services. The college community values face-to-face communication and formal procedures for consultation are minimal. All learning and information resources staff and faculty receive and welcome direct requests and suggestions. As an example, good hiring represents an important decision determining how library and information services evolve and prosper. Hiring processes are broadly consultative. Committees with representation from different work units interview and recommend for all staff positions. Students, staff and faculty representatives join in hiring committees for any major positions, especially those of administrators and faculty. These hiring processes also routinely include public presentations by the candidates, announced to the entire college community, so that the opinions of staff, faculty and students from all sectors of the college may be included in these major decisions.
More broadly, collaborative work with teaching faculty and other clients drives the design and planning for almost all instructional and technical support. Face-to-face planning and direct engagement with teaching faculty in a program-by-program context defines the work of library and information resources across all units.
Networks Extend Information Resources (Standard 5.B.5)
Consortial arrangements in the Orbis-Cascade regional system offer Summit, a resource-sharing system which makes it possible to satisfy almost any book and most media request generated by the individualistic interests of students working on independent projects. The Summit system, which currently includes 35 academic libraries from Oregon and Washington, delivers resources within two or three days. Students also use many highly specialized materials from many more periodicals databases which have expanded the number of journal subscriptions Evergreen holds eight to nine times over the self-study period largely due the Cooperative Library Project (CLP), a state-funded resource sharing project among the four-year Washington State baccalaureates. Consortial purchases have reduced per-title costs dramatically and have strengthened areas of the curriculum not necessarily the focus of a core liberal arts collection. For example, psychology, education and business were heavily emphasized in the most recent round of shared purchasing by CLP. Finally, ILLiad, the on-line interlibrary loan system, brings journal articles to the mailboxes and email accounts of students within a few days (or even hours). There are almost no discernible limits to accessing published information for any researcher except those who need to present within 24 hours. Effective campus networks supported by Computing and Communications technical support staff make all this work possible. College-wide steps which have made efficient resource sharing and online information possible have included implementing the Banner student records system and establishing email as the official communications medium for students.
Availability of Information Resource Facilities (Standard 5.C.1)
The Edutech TESC Information Environment Review specifically considered networking, telecommunications and other information technology relevant to accessibility. The campus network was lauded as "solid and reliable." The network itself is described technically in Area 1 of the report. Expansion of wireless access from 75% to the entire campus was recommended; this work is proceeding and has the budgetary support to continue into the future. Most classrooms have been networked with display capability, spreading library and information technology access to large portions of the curriculum. The Edutech report also recommended establishing at least one dedicated teleconferencing space for general use, which is planned within the Center for Creative and Applied Media (CCAM). According to Eductech, "student access to computers at Evergreen does not seem to be a problem."
The Information Technology Wing
LIR Facilities and Services Visibly Interconnect
With the generic library as a foundation and the interdisciplinary curriculum as the context, merged collections and services build upon an alternative past. Library and information resources thus collaborate actively across academic and administrative departmental boundaries. The major remodel, implementing a newly consolidated Information Technology Wing, substantially strengthened opportunities for connecting services, facilities and staff. One central, broad entrance now provides access to the Library, the Computer Center, Media Loan and the stairs to Electronic Media, Photo Services and Computing and Communications.
More Teaching and Study Spaces
The ideal of collaborative learning shaped the remodel. Shared study spaces predominate, whether open area study tables, grouped lounge furniture, pod-shaped arrangements in labs or small group study and media viewing rooms. Wireless access allows informal group work around personal or library-owned laptops. Additional laboratory spaces provide easier scheduling for program work and more computers for individuals when classes do not use the labs. Limited quiet study areas provide an alternative for the solitary scholar, at the same time that small group work is facilitated and encouraged. Overall, the Information Technology Wing has shed barren hallways and utilitarian desks in favor of lounge areas and comfortable study spaces. Overstuffed couches and chairs, large tables, task lighting, and more room for collections all contribute to the spirit of conviviality that informs the work of shared inquiry.
Hospitable Spaces and Blended Access
Art exhibitions invite patrons into lounge and study areas and help define the library as a public space. The new basement lounge, affectionately dubbed the Library Underground, hosts frequent campus gatherings and public readings, although flooding (a new issue since the remodel) disrupted the area several times in 2006/7. Groups from across campus meet, study and teach in library spaces, which are open to all and where food and drink have always been allowed. The Sound and Image Library (SAIL) media collections are prominently located in the reference area, where SAIL staff work closely with the reference librarians. The newly established Assisted Technology Lab conjoins SAIL and has become a vital meeting place for students to work and show their art and media productions. Again, SAIL and reference staff provide service and technical support for ATL patrons. As the physical reference collection continues to shrink, reference, SAIL, the ATL, and Circulation will continue forming a more blended and prominent shared public presence.
More General Access Lab Facilities
Rapid developments in networked information technology have blurred between general and specialized technology labs. The main computer center includes many specialized scientific software packages such as ArcGIS and Mathematica, while common graphic manipulation software, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, appear in the CAL. Similarly, the Computer Center supports high-level statistics applications such as R as well as digital music editing. The library computers provide basic Office applications and general web access in addition to library-specific searches, but specific library computers also provide GIS, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, assistive/adaptive technology, and scanning applications while SAIL provides multiple stations for basic media dubbing, transfer and editing. Switching to a single user domain and sign-on mean simpler, more consistent access to networked resources across campus. The Digital Imaging and Multimedia facilities provide applications for advanced media production, but are open to all students. Some specialty labs have self-contained resources, such as large format printers or applications requiring more sophisticated hardware. However, the primary distinction among labs is the level of expertise and specialized knowledge of the staff. Students benefit when they know that the specialized character of a lab means there will be more skilled assistance as well.
Cooperative Agreements (Standard 5.C.2)
Despite greatly expanded information access through Summit and shared purchasing agreements, the library continues strong support for the core collection. Over time, Summit circulation data will provide specific reports on areas of the collection where students and faculty consistently or repeatedly demonstrate the need for more depth. Additionally, the Orbis Cascade consortium is working on shared collection development guidelines to help design complementary collections.