- 1 Analysis & Assessment of Teaching & Instructional Programs
- 1.1 How many students are taught?
- 1.2 Which Students?
- 1.3 Information Technology Literacy
- 2 Information Collections and Services
- 2.1 Description of Information Collections & Services
- 2.1.1 Overall Planning for Collections & Services
- 188.8.131.52 Collection Development
- 184.108.40.206 Support for Freely Chosen Intensive Media Production
- 220.127.116.11 Service Desks and Facilities
- 18.104.22.168 The Information Technology Wing
- 22.214.171.124 More General Access Lab Facilities
- 126.96.36.199 Planning Across LIR
- 2.1.1 Overall Planning for Collections & Services
- 2.2 Analysis & Assessment of Information Services and Collections
- 2.3 Future Aspirations and Challenges for Collections and Services
- 2.1 Description of Information Collections & Services
- 3 Conclusion: The Generic Library Has Come to Fruition
- 4 Standards
- 5 Supporting Documentation
Analysis & Assessment of Teaching & Instructional Programs
The strong focus on teaching throughout library and information resources suggests the following questions: 1) In a college without requirements, does information technology instruction reach enough students to assure that the vast majority of graduates develop their skills broadly in support of their inquiries? 2) Which students are taught? Do students receive their information technology instruction in an array of disciplinary and developmentally varied situations or is it happening only in pockets of the curriculum? 3) Is it working? Are students acquiring cross-curricular information technology and media literacy?
How many students are taught?
Within recent years about 75% of the total FTE attends program-based library instruction workshops annually. [Exhibit: workshop statistics]. In media services, from 2000 to 2007, a total of more than 1500 workshops were offered to approximately 156 programs. The number of media workshops given and students reached in 2005 and 2006 were each more than double the numbers provided in 2000. Workshops have increased along with new technologies, especially in Media Loan and in the new Multimedia and DIS labs.
Academic Computing instructors provide academic program-based training sessions and workshops throughout the academic year.
|Computer Applications Lab||50/1368||50/1248||52/1344|
Up until 2007, Academic Computing offered 30 to 40 general computer skills workshops per year in the Computer Center, attended by approximately 350 students. Professional staff focused these workshops on general technical skill building, independent of academic programs. Fewer students were attending these workshops over time, presumably because more students consider themselves technically literate. In response to waning attendance, Academic Computing redesigned the workshops as student-centered support sessions to which students bring their questions or projects. This student-centered structure should more effectively meet the specific demands of students. Computing will evaluate the success of this reinvented structure.
[This section needs rewrite based on 2006/7 EPRs] The number of teaching contacts shows that library and information resources staff teach a large number of students, but not which students. In end-of-program reviews from 2001-2006, The Office of Institutional Research asked faculty, “Did your students use technology to present work, conduct research (including library research), or solve problems? If yes, How?” Not surprisingly, faculty answered that library/internet research skills were the most commonly used, followed by some form of presentation technology. EPR Technology Summary 2006
The supplemental material in Information Technology Literacy as reported in End of Program Reports provides more detail about of how planning units employed and taught information technologies. To summarize, information technology appears widely but not evenly across the curriculum. Library instruction is the most common form of information technology in the curriculum. Significantly different technologies predominate in different parts of the curriculum and no standard set of applications comes into play, not even in Core programs, where even library research appears less frequently than in many parts of the curriculum. Looking at library workshop statistics, the number of workshops provided to programs in planning units correlates loosely to the presence of library research reported in programs. CTL and SI faculty report the least use of library research in their programs and have the fewest number of programs served by library workshops. Thus, the end of program reviews, correlated with workshop records, may be used as tools for identifying possible opportunities for greater collaboration. This analysis should not presume that more information technology instruction is necessary; the faculty often have logical and legitimate reasons to place their emphases elsewhere. However, assessing whether more information technology instruction or support would be welcome in some areas of the curriculum seems advisable based on this data.
Information Technology Literacy
Media/IT Literacy across the Curriculum: Where are we now?
Since its inception in the context of Holly’s generic library, Media Services has followed its mission to support media literacy and instruction across the curriculum. Over the last ten years, media services have changed dramatically as the personal computer has become the platform for entry-level media production and consumption. One measure of this change has materialized in how media staff have served programs through formal workshops since Fall of 2000. The scheduling data shows that almost 90% of formal program-based workshops serve Expressive Arts faculty. While this scheduling data does not cover equipment proficiency workshops or one-on-one instruction, it’s nevertheless clear that formal instruction by media staff focuses heavily on Expressive Arts programs, with an emphasis on advanced production applications, the exclusive provenance of expressive arts faculty. Media Services provides this advanced instruction in specialized labs, which were enhanced and expanded during the remodel. One effect of this specialization is that entry-level students have migrated to Academic Computing where the staff is more likely to instruct them in basic media skills. In fact, during Fall and Winter of 2006/07, 68% of the faculty who requested workshops in Computer Center were from planning units other than Expressive arts, and many of these workshops included media instruction (Photoshop, Imovie, Flash, etc.).
The Computer Applications Lab also shows a trend toward more broadly used applications. Although the CAL has traditionally focused on the science curriculum in ES and SI, these users have begun to share their space with those who have less specialized demands. Roughly 60%-70% of the classes in the CAL now work with statistical or numeric analysis, primarily Excel, but also including Graphical Analysis, R, and SPSS. Ninety percent of CAL users prepare presentations, most often with Powerpoint, Word, Illustrator, and Excel. Approximately 60% of the programs meeting in the CAL still use analytical tools, including (in order of usage) ArcGIS, Mathematica, and Stella, which were once the focal point of all CAL applications. Science faculty have shifted their emphasis to on-site analysis, using advanced applications in specialized scientific labs in ways that parallel the shift in Media Services toward advanced applications. Meanwhile, the CAL and the Computer Center serve increasing numbers of students who seek instruction or support for the more and more powerful personal computing applications in media production, statistical analysis and presentation media.
Critical Approaches to Media
NB: Link to concepts of reflexive thinking
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, the 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 are expected to write as well; why should they not be expected to create media as well as view 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.
Teaching Information Technology Literacy (ITL) Across the Curriculum
During the first half of the self-study period, the Legislature mandated Information Technology Literacy (ITL) as a central focus for colleges and universities in the State. The ITL movement presented nothing surprising to the Evergreen Library, which has been engaged in these ideas and goals since the founding of the college. However, the legislative mandate created interest in evaluating our work. As used in this study, the term ITL encompasses every aspect of information technology, including digitized library research, but also includes concepts found in the literatures of media literacy, visual studies, and communications (critical approaches to media).
In order to assure that students have the skills to communicate about their open inquiries, 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. When students at Evergreen learn about media and information technologies, they also are immersed in disciplinary content that promotes their ability to "access, analyze, evaluate and create messages across a variety of contexts." Not only should literate students read and write astutely, they also should access, view, critique and produce digital media and information that is clear, eloquent and complete. In this way, digital scholarship merges seamlessly with individual and formal educational goals, just as print scholarship has in the past. [Footnote Sonia Livingstone article; Wyatt's definition; Caryn's position paper from the gen ed. process Nov. 27, 2000].
Library and information resources support ITL, including media literacy, as an agenda for students across programs, disciplines and media. Library and information resources 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.
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.
Does Library Instruction Result in ITL Gains?
The Library, consistent with college-wide practices, rejects requirements and embraces students who engage in open inquiry and independent judgment and who evince the ineffable quality of critical acumen. In this context, the Library supports a fluid curriculum and responds to changes that drive the needs and expectations of an innovative teaching faculty. Because the Library shapes teaching according to individual students, a fluid curriculum, and highly diverse pedagogy, standard or standardized assessment methods do not apply. Instead, the Library commits to the intensive and never ending task of recreating learning goals, student-by-student, program-by-program. Context is everything, which obviates the role of abstract standards and measures.
On the other hand, the Library does engage in qualitative assessment—a descriptive characterization of ITL teaching and learning. As is the case throughout the faculty, library faculty write annual evaluations of themselves and their library and teaching colleagues. These evaluations consistently address instructional aspirations, successes and failures. [Exhibits: Library Faculty Evaluations]
Further, under the leadership of the Office of Institutional Research, the librarians designed a project that assessed students as they worked through real research inquiries. The study, The Activity of Information Literacy, documented the techniques and processes—and to some extent, the thinking—of several small samples of students as they collaborated intensively on research questions. The study showed that these particular students wee stronger in their grasp of content than they were in their command of library research tools for their specific inquiries. In other words, a question about history might not lead them to Historical Abstracts. They were also strong in their ability to develop their research questions and to evaluate and synthesize the results. What these results suggest is that “Faculty may want to assess their students’ abilities to obtain information and offer tutorials or refer students to the Library when deficiencies are detected.”
Beyond the immediate results, this qualitative assessment also suggested that the students benefited greatly when they collaborated. Certainly, this observation is corroborated by the gains that students make when they work together in skill building instead of in canned computer workshops outside of programs. Additionally, peer groups are widely used across the curriculum as a way to encourage students to develop research topics and individual projects. Given the results of the qualitative assessment and given the widely practiced use of peer groups, library faculty should seek ways to implement collaborative research activities when they link their instruction to programs. This model of cooperation would build on the more isolated collaborations that take place, as a matter of course, between librarians and students at the reference desk. An enlarged vision of this basic transaction—discussion, exploration, and brainstorming—will enhance the relevance and effectiveness of library teaching and workshops.
The Evergreen Student Experience Survey asks questions which elucidate what the students themselves think they learned at Evergreen. In the 2006, the ESES asked "To what extent have your Evergreen experiences contributed to your growth in ... the following computer-related fields...?" For the category 'Studying or Doing Research via the Internet or other online sources":
- 30.5% of Olympia campus students reported at least some contribution;
- 47.5% reported quite a bit or a lot, for a total of 77.5%.
- More than 84% of Tacoma students reported at least some, of which 50% reported quite a bit.
- More than 93% of reservation-based students reported at least some contribution; 86.2% reporting quite a bit or a lot.
These statistics correlate well with the end-of-program review and instructional data cited earlier. Considering just how many students seem to express self-confidence in their research skills, and as the internet provides so many increasingly powerful tools for personal research, it is heartening to see that a good majority of students recognize that they developed greater (and one hopes more scholarly) research skills as part of their education at Evergreen.
The ESES 2006 also asked about "Using the computer for artistic expression (e.g. music, other audio, still images, animation, video, etc.":
- Just over 42% reported Evergreen contributed "Some", "Quite a Bit" or "A Lot".
- Fully 36.8% said "Not at All"
- and 20.9% said "Very Little."
The ESES 2006 also surveyed use of non-artistic computer tools, asking about specific types of applications such as spreadsheets, GIS, web development, posters, or programming. In general, as was found in end of program reviews, no single type of computer application dominated. No application type was used by more than 50% of students; instead different types of applications were used by smaller subsets of the students surveyed.
Information Collections and Services
Description of Information Collections & Services
Overall Planning for Collections & Services
The academic community views the Library as a center for teaching, which means that collections and resources reflect the curriculum. In fact, all of Library services are defined by the fluidity of interdisciplinary and individual study. The Dean of Library Services strengthens the ties between Academics and Library and Media Services through meeting weekly with the Provost, Associate Vice President for Academic Budget and Planning and the Academic Dean of Budget and the weekly Academic Deans meeting. Once a month, the Director of Computing & Communications and the Manager of Academic Computing also join the Academic Deans meeting.
Collection Development Procedures & Methods
The library faculty develops collections to support the changeable and interdisciplinary curriculum without the usual structure of departmental allocations. The librarians build collections and vendor profiles on the basis of their own teaching, governance, knowledge of the teaching faculty, and affiliation with planning units. [Exhibit: list of librarian and staff dtf assignments]. The faculty at large develops the curriculum in planning units and at retreats, an ongoing process that is not subject to formal managerial or committee review. Because they participate actively in the curriculum planning process, the librarians know how to build relevant collections. This process is strengthened by faculty who rotate into the library and lavish their attention on areas of the collection related to their disciplinary expertise. Finally, librarians honor most initial requests for additions to the collection, working from the assumption that free inquiry and individual research are central to the library’s mission.
The New Power of Library Consortia and Networked Services
In the past, the Library has struggled to satisfy incidental research demands outside the boundaries defined by the evolving curriculum, especially requests for more specialized materials. Consortial services made efficient because of new technologies have changed all this. Currently, almost all book requested generated by the individualistic interests of students working on independent projects can be supplied through the SUMMIT system, which includes over 30 academic library collections from Oregon and Washington, all available within two or three days. Many specialized materials are also now supplied by periodicals databases, which have expanded eight to nine times over the self-study period. Consortial purchases have reduced per-title costs dramatically. Finally, ILLiad, the on-line interlibrary loan system, brings journal articles to the mailboxes and email accounts of students within days (or even hours) of ordering. There are almost no discernible limits to accessing published information for any researcher except those who need to present within 24 hours. Nevertheless, Orbis-Cascade, the umbrella consortium which administers SUMMIT, is exploring collaborative collection development to ensure both the depth of the shared collections and the appropriate coverage of local collections.
Support for Freely Chosen Intensive Media Production
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 checkmark for special equipment or facilities, and the academic deans who review the forms use this 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.
Service Desks and Facilities
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 all hours that the library is open to the public. From this position, librarians are prepared to teach patrons how to develop and pursue their research topics. 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 expensive digitized indexes which refer students more deeply into the discipline-based literature of their inquiries.
Government Documents, Periodicals, the Sound and Image Library (SAIL), Circulation, Media Loan, Photo Services, including Photoland (Instructional Photo), and Electronic media all have public services desks which provide access to collection and/or allow patrons to schedule lab space, reserve equipment, and ask for technical help. From anywhere on campus, faculty can phone EM for assistance in using classroom technologies. For a complete list of information desks see Library Service Points. For a complete list of major labs see Major Facilities.
The Information Technology Wing
LIR Facilities and Services Visibly Interconnect
Library and information resources networks actively across academic and administrative departmental boundaries. With the generic library as a foundation and the interdisciplinary curriculum as the context, merged collections and services build upon an alternative past. The major remodel planned and implemented during the self-study period substantially strengthened opportunities for networking services, facilities and staff. One central, broad entrance provides access to the Library, the Computer Center, Media Loan and the stairs to Electronic Media, Photo Services and Computing and Communications. A large staircase which hides this entrance from the view of individuals entering the building is being removed in the current, second phase of the library building remodel.
More Teaching and Study Spaces
The remodel was shaped by a communal commitment to teaching and interdisciplinary study. Collaborative 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 (almost ubiquitous on campus now) 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, but group work is the norm and encouraged.
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) has seriously disrupted the area. Groups from across campus meet and teach in library spaces, which are open to all. The media collections are prominently located in the reference area, where SAIL staff work closely with the reference librarians. Contiguous with SAIL is the Assisted Technology Lab, an emerging resource that has become a vital meeting place for students to work but also to 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 merge to form a more cohesive unit with a prominent public presence. Overall, the Information Technology Wing has shed barren hallways and utilitarian desks in favor of lounge areas and comfortable study spaces. Wireless connections, our collection of laptop computers, overstuffed couches and chairs, large tables, task lighting, and spacious collections all contribute to the spirit of conviviality that informs the work of shared inquiry.
More General Access Lab Facilities
With the rapid developments in networked information technology, distinctions between general and specialized technology labs have blurred. The main computer center includes many specialized scientific software packages such as ArcGIS and Mathematica, while standard 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. Additionally, Academic Computing has changed access to networked facilities to reduce distinctions for students working across lab spaces. One user domain and single sign-on mean simpler, more consistent access to networked resources across campus. The Digital Imaging and Multimedia facilities, while providing applications for advanced media production, are open to all stidents.
Some specialty labs have self-contained resources, such as large format printers and 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.
Planning Across LIR
The Information Technology Collaborative Hive (ITCH) provides the most formal mechanism for collaboration around technology across the various parts of the college. Evergreen supports three ITCH groups: Academic, Administrative, and Core. The Academic ITCH meets at least once a month and includes professional staff from each of the primary technology labs, faculty, and interested students. The Academic ITCH coordinates general academic IT initiatives, helps develop general academic computing policy, and guides strategic planning. Professional staff members in each of the primary technology areas have developed strong connections to discipline-specific slices of the curriculum, faculty and academic administration. As ITCH develops, the members will explore ways to communicate and plan in cross-disciplinary and cross-divisional programs. ITCH provides one of the necessary cross-curricular and cross-division contexts for developing information technology across administratively distinct areas.
Analysis & Assessment of Information Services and Collections
Library and Computer Center Use & Satisfaction Rates
Although library and information resources provide a wide array of services, the question still remains whether the services are effective. Surveys of popularity (frequency of use and satisfaction with use), provide some insight. Institutional Research routinely surveys alumni and students about campus resources. Over time, responses regarding the Library and Computer Center have been strikingly positive. Students reported the Library and Computer Center among the most highly used services or facilities, with high user satisfaction levels as well. Library use rates were 99% in 1998; 97% in 2002; 97% for on campus users and 94.2% for off campus students in 2004. User satisfaction rates were 75.5% somewhat or very satisfied in 1998 and 85% somewhat or very satisfied in 2002. The student experience survey (ESES) of 2006 reports that 95% of respondents use the library. Computer Center users were 94% of respondents in 1998, 96% in 2002 and 92% for on campus students and 93.4% for off campus students in 2004. In the 2006 student experience survey, 88.5% of students reported using the computer center.
Despite the radically changing information environment, the physical library has experienced only a slight reduction in use: 4% from 1998 to 2006. The Computer Center also has enjoyed heavy use over time, with some reduction in 2006 as more and more students use their own laptops on campus; the survey that year showed that 91% of students have their own computers. Satisfaction rates for the Library and Computer Center remain the highest for any services on campus.
Starting in 2006, the ESES included questions about using library resources online and found that 85.2% of respondents use online library resources. Internal records also suggest phenomenal growth in online use of library resources. In 2000, when the library subscribed to three aggregate databases (Proquest, Ebscohost and JSTOR), users conducted 80,000 searches. In 2006, with approximately 30 subscription databases, there were more than 262,677 searches. Careful review of variations of use from year to year reveals the direct impact a fluid curriculum has on database use. For example, Modern Language Association International Bibliography statistics are quite erratic; one major project in a large academic program explains a five-fold increase of use in one year. As JSTOR has developed into a more deeply and broadly multi-interdisciplinary tool, use statistics show a shift away from heavy dependence on the less scholarly aggregates. Extensive lobbying by faculty and librarians encourages this shift toward use of scholarly resources such as JSTOR.
Media Services User Surveys
ESES also surveyed students about their use of Media Services, which showed 48% use of Media Loan and 89.6% somewhat or very satisfied. This data has been supplemented by Media Services staff member, Lin Crowley, who surveyed campus members about their use of Media Services for a Masters in Public Administration project. Crowley designed her project to include use statistics and user satisfaction. Crowley’s respondents reported an average satisfaction level for each service ranging from 3.07 to 3.62 (out of 4), which indicated that those who used current services were generally fairly satisfied with each of the services that they use.
Although respondents to Crowley’s survey were predominantly active Media Services users, many respondents were uninformed about some media services. Respondents supported investment in new digital technologies, but most were unaware of new or planned digital facilities. One clear conclusion of the survey is that visibility and access could be better for some media services. For instance, suggested improvements often focussed on access, whether longer hours, more workshops or more facilities. The survey project director recommended that future follow-up surveys be conducted to compare whether the reasons people use each service change and to evaluate the satisfaction levels for each type of services by patron types. [Exhibit: Crowley. Media Service Survey]
Comparing Use Statistics With Other Libraries
In 2002, the Library entered SUMMIT, a consortium of 4-year colleges and universities across Washington and Oregon, which allows students to make on-line requests and have items mailed quickly to Evergreen. Of the five institutions in Washington which added the service at the same time, Evergreen had the fastest take-off. Evergreen patrons borrowed 9,723 during the first year, more than any other library, even though Evergreen was by far the smallest institution in the consortium at that time. At ten times Evergreen’s size, the University of Washington borrowed just under 7,000 items during that first year. It took a year for the University of Washington to surpass Evergreen, while other institutions had not done so even in 2006. Although one might assume that small collection size drives this higher demand, the fact is that Evergreen students also use their local collection at higher rates than their peers in the SUMMIT consortium.
The Evergreen community adapted quickly to SUMMIT because the library, with its strong connections to faculty and the curriculum, communicated effectively about the service, showcasing the new service in the many instructional sessions typical of any Fall quarter. Lower early use rates at other institutions may be partially the result of staff deliberately implementing the service at a more measured pace. On the other hand, the Evergreen Circulation department chose to implement SUMMIT at full force, successfully assuming the institutional impact of this significant change and assuring success.
National library statistics for 2004 provide the opportunity to compare liberal arts college use statistics with those of small masters level universities (Carnegie Class Masters I), with surprising results. The most basic level of use which is collected is gatecount: How many people entered the library? Evergreen’s average gate count per FTE was 1.8, Masters universities were at 1.4 and Liberal arts colleges averaged 2.77. At the next, more engaged level of library use, the patron checks out a book. At the third level, the patron identifies materials from libraries beyond his own and requests an interlibrary loan (ILL). These last two levels of service are confused within the SUMMIT consortium (and perhaps other nationally) because the books borrowed from another library may be counted as either circulations or interlibrary loans. Thus, these two categories of use must be combined. The comparisons speak to Evergreen library’s dynamic patronage: students borrow (via ILL and circulation) an average of 36 items, while the masters level institutions borrow only 1.55, and the liberal arts colleges nationally borrow an average of 34.
The same dramatic distinction between liberal arts colleges and universities appears in the SUMMIT consortium, which covers a full gamut of colleges and universities in Oregon and Washington. Following is a chart which ranks the top 15 of the 31 libraries in the region based upon their rates of use of SUMMIT. Evergreen places high on the list, among the most highly ranked liberal arts colleges, all well above usage rates at more comprehensive institutions.
|Library||# Items borrowed||FTE||Items/FTE|
|G. Fox U.||14,427||2,392||6.03|
|E. Ore. U.||4,620||2,306||2.00|
Looking at national data, the following table compares the averages of various commonly used Evergreen peer groups:
Evergreen students use their library in ways that reflect a strong commitment to the practices of liberal arts colleges. Colleges that significantly surpass Evergreen’s use rates often require significant student project work such as a senior thesis project. For instance, Reed College shows 120 items per student and New College of Florida, 89. Both colleges require senior theses.
Comparing IT Facilities with Other Institutions
The information technology consultant Edutech compared Evergreen’s budget for IT with peer institutions. Edutech compared Evergreen to similar schools on the basis of physical environment, enrollment numbers, education goals and aspirations, residential nature, tuition, and governance structure and determined that Evergreen devotes considerable resources to IT and is consistent with its peers in that regard. In 2005, Evergreen’s expenditure on IT—expressed as a percentage of total institutional expenditures—was 6.7%. This percentage aligns with the 6.7% reported by Computing in a 2006 survey of public four-year colleges. The average for all institutions was 6.5%.
Responsiveness to Rapid Change in the Information Environment
Among the organizations included in library and information resources, the Library is the largest and most embedded in professional traditions and may be the most invested in preexisting structures and assumptions. How well does the Library balance the competing demands of conservation, teaching, and technological adaptation and innovation? As librarians rotate into the full-time curriculum, they temporarily leave behind reference work, management, administration, and collection development. Any sustained work, such as web-page development, is interrupted by these regular absences. On the other hand, full-time teaching faculty rotate into library as neophytes who need training and who present with widely disparate skills, abilities, and ambitions. Beyond the system of rotation—with its concomitant duties-- librarians are contractually obligated to participate in college governance, curriculum planning, not to mention their own scholarly projects and sabbaticals. Further, librarians have nine-month contracts and are often absent during the summer sessions when the Library is minimally staffed. These organizational facts mean that Evergreen has no managerial class of librarians. Instead, the team of faculty librarians share management with staff. Paraprofessionals head almost all departments, including Circulation, Government Publications, Periodicals, Technical Services, and Acquisitions. Their year-round presence and regular workdays provide consistency for development of services, maintenance of collections, public service, and supervision of both classified staff and students workers. In this collaborative environment, staff often lead the way in adopting new services. The tremendous commitment by the staff grounds the Library and makes it an ideal teaching environment. The success of the Library’s flat organization can be measured by the impressive way in which the Library group has responded to institutional and profession-wide changes and challenges. Achievements/Changes lists major changes in services, faculties and collections implemented during the study period—most responding to opportunities provided by technological developments.
Future Aspirations and Challenges for Collections and Services
NB: As in the teaching section, retell strengths as bit before launching into challenges and aspirations
Continue Blending More Functions within Library and Information Resources
Library and information resources support a surprisingly diverse infrastructure of technologies and media in the curriculum. For greatest efficiency, library and information resources should considered even more coordination across boundaries to provide technology support. Students should be able to move seamlessly between different areas, such as CAL, MML, and the Computer Center. Certainly, the pathways between areas could be more clearly articulated by identifying and developing more common services, including printing, building and maintaining image sets, server filespace, and common software. By taking better advantage of the network infrastructure, students will experience less confusion, and IT staff who directly support the curriculum could dedicate more energy toward coordinating, developing and designing IT strategies with academic programs instead of maintaining redundant infrastructures.
Library and information resources need to develop a shared perspective about their public presence. One possibility for representing the blended facilities and services is a central help desk for the information technology wing. Once the central staircase is removed, the shared entrance to the wing will become a prominent architectural feature and an opportunity to reshape the community’s understanding of what the areas collectively represent. A central help desk could provide basic information about facilities, services, and staff, and it would help facilitate how efficiently patrons move between the various floors of the wing. Continued attention to the best use of the Library Underground and how to assure its connection to other floors should be part of this process; a large, flexible teaching and gathering space is developing there and appropriate equipment will be needed to support that vision. Concurrently, assuring safe conditions for the adjacent Archives and Rare Books Collections are critical.
Construction of the CCAM will begin soon. This project has distinct relevance to the changing roles of Media Services, the Library and Academic Computing within the evolving digital liberal arts. The CCAM will comprise a collection of media production studios and equipment to complement and complete existing Media Services and Academic Computing media resources and provide the primary bridge between the campus media infrastructure and networked digital resources. For a discussion of the CCAM and related curricular projects see Center for Creative and Applied Media.
The Library will continue to actively develop a new library front page and database search pages. The library is currently engaged in discussions with the college web designers about maintaining the library front page while still allowing library control of most content. The Orbis-Cascade consortium may develop a shared catalog front-page, which the library will consider as well. The reference group is testing an improved federated searching system, having found that last product unsatisfactory.
The last self-study emphasized the library audio/visual collection. Since then, one-time funds have frequently been infused, and the collection has grown significantly. SAIL staff and selectors have emphasized both new titles and replacement of older formats and worn copies. The library anticipates circulating the collection through SUMMIT, which will increase wear.
Selectors will continue recently implemented decision to purchase various formats from their funds allocated for print monographs if desired, but a stable and larger allocation for the SAIL budget will lessen the need to do so and reduce variations in expenditures, workload and processing. The Resource Selection Committee is currently reviewing materials budgets with the intention of reallocating funds according to the curricular demands for video and digitized reference resources. If these discussions result in a larger budget for SAIL, there will be more work, but also more consistency. Additionally, the staff will be more deeply involved in researching web-based media collections. This additional workload represents a challenge for SAIL.
Digital collection development should go forward in concert with the push to digitize archival collections, including photographs, video, and copies of faculty artwork. The CCAM will take the lead in this ongoing project.
Because of the SUMMIT and ILLiad systems, the collections do not need to be designed to support individual students who engage in inquiries that lie outside the collection profile. However, SUMMIT use will also allow the library to identify whether there are any consistent weaknesses in the collection that show up as subject areas driving high borrowing rates from other institutions. The data from SUMMIT should be analyzed over a three year period, due to the fluidity of the curriculum, at which point the Library will decide if such data are useful in guiding collection development.
The library will continue to take advantage of the significantly increased purchasing power created by consortial agreements for periodical and other database purchases. The library needs to keep an eye on the time and expertise necessary to keep up with the ever-increasing work of evaluating these agreements, purchases and contracts and the technical work to support electronic resources and may want to consider creating a position for managing electronic resources. A centralized specialist working on electronic resources would potentially help the selectors, by consistently researching and disseminating information about new products.
Overall, long-standing assumptions about budgets for collections must be re-evaluated. While major cuts were made to the monographic budget early in the study period and were only partially restored over time, it is not clear that simply restoring those funds and adding funds for inflation are the desirable next moves. The Resource Selection Committee will need to continue to explore more flexible responses to a rapidly changing publishing environment in order to match collection budgets to evolving research needs.
Private fundraising and access to indirect cost funds associated with grants have helped close the collection development gap in some cases, such as the SAIL budget. LIR has also begune to receive private support for equipment and facilities projects as well. More work with the Development Office of the College should be emphasized as many alumni have demonstrated willingness to support the library and information resources. [links to FOEL activities, non-state funds spent on collections]
Support for Rapidly Evolving Information Technology
While the Edutech report gave Evergreen good marks for its budgetary support of information technology, the report also recommended that “to follow current best practices, the replacement cycle should be permanently funded and the operations budgets need to be raised regularly to reflect the increase in technology-equipped classrooms, the increased number of servers and desktop computers that must be supported, and other increases in the technology base.” The college has begun to address this issue, proposing permanent line items in the next biennium for replacing the core server and desktops. This movement toward more permanent allocations for replacement and repair will help ensure that the infrastructure can support the curriculum. Although ITCH can play only an advisory role, it has participated actively in the process of establishing permanent allocations, setting priorities, and sharing resources.
The remodeled Information Technology Wing and the construction of Seminar II created dramatically more technology-equipped teaching spaces. There are now 49 media and computer-capable classrooms. Labs are equipped with computers for each student, and most classrooms now include a computer along with projection and display systems. The library plans to convert one classroom in the Library Underground to a lab, and teaching spaces on campus still without computers or display technology, such as the Arts Annex, should be equipped. At this point, library and information resources can adequately support the computer facilities distributed across campus, but that’s about it. As more spaces are computerized and enrollment creeps up toward the target of 5,000, the college will have to add additional resources—human and technological.
As media technology has changed, some faculty choose to continue teaching older analog equipment, often for good pedagogical and aesthetic reasons. This generates a daunting task for Media Loan as they stretch to maintain, house, and teach a very wide array of portable equipment. Media Loan should work with the Expressive Arts faculty and other major users to reduce the range of Media Loan equipment necessary to support the curriculum.
Conclusion: The Generic Library Has Come to Fruition
Library and information resources has been deeply influenced by the organizational habits of the college, habits of collaboration, egalitarian ideals, fluidity, face-to-face interactions, non-departmentalization, and interdisciplinary inquiry. The result is a responsive, flexible, evolving set of services and resources. Library and information resources faculty and staff work across the digital divide, regardless of where services reside administratively, in order to fuse traditional library services, information services, computing, and media. Library and information resources assess technology within the context of Evergreen’s particular curriculum and implement new applications incrementally in collaborative processes involving all three areas of service and the teaching faculty. As part of that work, library and information resources have had the distinct historical advantage of presuming that information comes in all formats and that it is not only possible but advisable to break down as many barriers as possible to access information in all its forms. In this, library and information resources are shaped by their founding vision, the generic library, an idea whose time is come.
Executive summaries plus links to the full discussion of the sub-sections of Standard 5