- 1 Standard Five: Library and Information Resources
- 2 Standard 5.A
- 2.1 Supporting the Academic Mission of the College
- 2.2 The Founding Vision of the Library: Any Medium, Any Location
- 2.3 Functions and Facilities Covered in Standard Five
- 2.4 Sufficiency of Information Resources and Services (5.A.1)
- 2.5 Sufficiency of Core Collection and Related Resources (5.A.2)
- 2.6 Education Program Drives Resources and Services (5.A.3)
- 3 Standard 5.B
- 3.1 Equipment and Materials to Support the Educational Program (Standard 5.B.1)
- 3.2 Teaching and Instruction (Standard 5.B.2)
- 3.2.1 Defining Information Technology Literacy
- 3.2.2 ITL in the Context of Holly's Generic Library
- 3.2.3 Cross-Curricular Media Instruction
- 3.2.4 Faculty Librarians and Library Teaching
- 3.2.5 Library Faculty as Service Providers
- 3.2.6 Service and Teaching
- 3.2.7 Library Faculty and Off-Campus Programs
- 3.2.8 Modes of Instruction in Media and Academic Computing
- 3.2.9 Faculty Institutes
- 3.3 Availability of Policies (Standard 5.B.3)
- 3.4 Participatory Planning (Standard 5.B.4)
- 3.5 Networks Extend Information Resources (Standard 5.B.5)
- 4 Standard 5.C
- 4.1 Availability of Information Resource Facilities (Standard 5.C.1)
- 4.2 Cooperative Agreements (Standard 5.C.2)
- 5 Standard 5D
- 5.1 Sufficiency of Staffing (Standard 5.D.1)
- 5.2 Staff Qualifications (5.D.2)
- 5.3 Professional Growth (5.D.3)
- 5.4 Organizational Structure (5.D.4)
- 5.5 Engagement in Curriculum Development (5.D.5)
- 5.6 Library and Information Resources Budgets (5.D.6)
- 6 Standard 5.E
- 6.1 Evaluating Information Services and Collections
- 6.2 Evaluation of Teaching & Instructional Programs: Information Technology Literacy
- 6.3 Participatory Planning (Standard 5.E.1)
- 6.4 Planning Linkages (Standard 5.E.2)
- 6.5 Evaluation and The Future (Standard 5.E.3)
- 7 Conclusion: Holly's Generic Library Has Come to Fruition
- 8 Standards
- 9 Supporting Documentation
Standard Five: Library and Information Resources
Standard 5.A – Purpose and Scope The primary purpose for library and information resources is to support teaching, learning, and, if applicable, research in ways consistent with, and supportive of, the institution’s mission and goals. Adequate library and information resources and services, at the appropriate level for degrees offered, are available to support the intellectual, cultural, and technical development of students enrolled in courses and programs wherever located and however delivered.
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
In 1969, 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. Display of networked and audio-visual information now brings information technology to almost any classroom on campus. Active involvement in new consortia has lead to quick access to expanded collections and information resources from around the region. Academic programs and students located away from the Olympia campus have access to rich, academically sound journal holdings. A wide selection of digitized media applications and advanced media labs provide access to media production. Increasingly seamless access to media, computing and traditional information resources benefit all students. 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. Occasional references to Computing and Communications will address technology infrastructure when relevant to instructional and academic support functions.
The information resources offered and supported by the Library, Academic Computing and the CAL represent facilities and functions commonly found in libraries and computer centers elsewhere in academia. The Media Services section of the Library requires some explanation, as its role and location in the institution are unique. Media Services provides not only the usual audio-visual support for instruction, but also extensive collections and facilities in support of media production by students across the curriculum. Media production labs, a large circulating collection of portable media equipment, and extensive instruction represent activities, facilities and functions which will not be found within the library at most institutions. Some Media Arts, Communications or Education Departments might provide some such services to students of their curriculum, but not the Library, and certainly not for general use. In the context of an interdisciplinary college, and in the light of the original ideal of the generic library, these services are provided through the Library in order to assure cross-curricular access and opportunity for students from anywhere in the curriculum, whether those students are studying media or simply wish to communicate academic content using media beyond print.
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)
5.A.2 The institution’s core collection and related information resources are sufficient to support the curriculum.
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)
5.A.3 Information resources and services are determined by the nature of the institution’s educational programs and the locations where programs are offered.
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. Meanwhile, a deeply experienced staff with substantial managerial responsibilities manages day-to-day library services while also implementing services in response to the new opportunities which advancing information technology affords. 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).
Standard 5.B – Information Resources and Services Information resources and services are sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, and currency to support the institution’s curricular offerings.
Equipment and Materials to Support the Educational Program (Standard 5.B.1)
5.B.1 Equipment and materials are selected, acquired, organized, and maintained to support the educational program.
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)
5.B.2 Library and information resources and services contribute to developing the ability of students, faculty, and staff to use the resources independently and effectively.
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 Planning and Evaluation 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.
In depth, extended library-related teaching within programs and service to off-campus and evening and weekend programs can be a challenge in the context of a reduced core of library faculty. During the self-study period, one faculty line was cut during budget reductions, and this causes significant stress on the quality and quantity of instruction the area is able to provide.
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 do not 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)
5.B.3 Policies, regulations, and procedures for systematic development and management of information resources, in all formats, are documented, updated, and made available to the institution’s constituents.
The web provides a venue for all policies, regulations and procedures for all information resources and services.
Participatory Planning (Standard 5.B.4)
5.B.4 Opportunities are provided for faculty, staff, and students to participate in the planning and development of the library and information resources and services.
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)
5.B.5 Computing and communications services are used to extend the boundaries in obtaining information and data from other sources, including regional, national, and international networks.
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.
Standard 5.C – Facilities and Access The institution provides adequate facilities for library and information resources, equipment, and personnel. These resources, including collections, are readily available for use by the institution’s students, faculty, and staff on the primary campus and where required off-campus.
Availability of Information Resource Facilities (Standard 5.C.1)
5.C.1 Library and information resources are readily accessible to all students and faculty. These resources and services are sufficient in quality, level, breadth, quantity, and currency to meet the requirements of the educational program.
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. This changes the presumptions of the faculty and students and greatly increases the frequency with which social software, digitized presentations and other multi-media information technology is incorporated in programs. 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. See Consultant Pre-Remodel Report for an assessment of facility requirements produced before the project. For further detail, extensive documents describing the project are available in the documents room.
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 conviviality that informs 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)
5.C.2 In cases of cooperative arrangements with other library and information resources, formal documented agreements are established. These cooperative relationships and externally provided information sources complement rather than substitute for the institution’s own adequate and accessible core collection and services.
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.
Standard 5.D – Personnel and Management Personnel are adequate in number and in areas of expertise to provide services in the development and use of library and information resources.
Sufficiency of Staffing (Standard 5.D.1)
5.D.1 The institution employs a sufficient number of library and information resources staff to provide assistance to users of the library and to students at other learning resources sites.
The chart below suggests that library and information resources staffing is similar to that of comparable public institutions, falling between the averages of peer public liberal arts colleges (COPLAC) and the larger regional universities in the state (WA State Public in the table below). Note that Evergreen and other public college library staffing averages are significantly below the staffing for groups made up largely of private ivies: DEEP (Documenting Effective Educational Practices); CTCL (Colleges That Change Lives) and CIEL (Consortium of Innovative Environments for Learning).
(N.B. The staff count for Evergreen has been halved in recognition that approximately 50% of Library and Media Services staffing is devoted to Media Services production, instruction and equipment check-out. At other institutions, these services, if they are offered at all, reside in academic departments such as Media Arts or Education.)
The Edutech Information Environment Review discusses staffing in Area 3. The report shows staffing when compared to similar institutions in terms of size, mission and culture, to be average.
Because library use at Evergreen compares favorably to more heavily staffed private liberal arts colleges and because all areas sustain a substantial instructional role, there are areas of strain. The rapid expansion of technology-driven services and collections also creates stresses, despite reallocation of staff as media and technologies shift. Following are the primary areas of concern:
- Support for rapidly expanded classroom technology, an additional demand on top of general institutional growth
- Staffing for greater focus on curriculum planning and engagement with faculty in Academic Computing
- Staffing to support expanding electronic library resource collections (ordering, contracts, management, evaluation, etc.)
- Weakened presence of faculty librarians due to the loss of one line in budget cuts during the self study period
Staff Qualifications (5.D.2)
5.D.2 Library and information resources staff include qualified professional and technical support staff, with required specific competencies, whose responsibilities are clearly defined.
Most library faculty carry both subject and library masters credentials in order to support their teaching as well as their role as professional librarians.
As if the case with librarians, many media staff and instructors also carry additional graduate training. Graduate degrees noted by staff other than librarians include three MPAs, two MFAs, an MA in Art History, an MEd and EdS, an MSE (Technical Engineering), an MS in Chemistry, and an MS in Computer Information Systems. The library faculty, who's role requires substantial attention to teaching and governance outside of the Library, must depend upon Library staff as managers of major services and functions within the Library. Highly experienced staff with significant levels of responsibility keep the library not just open, but anticipating and embracing change and new opportunities for service.
See Modes of Instruction in Media and Academic Computing for a discussion of media instructors as artists and teaching faculty.
In the realm of technical support, the Edutech report recommended assigning "staff responsibilities more specifically." More specific responsibilities and positions have been implemented in Technical Support Services. In the smaller units which provide distributed service and instruction such as the CAL, Academic Computing and Media Services, this stricter delineation of support functions is not as clearly appropriate. Instead, it is often valuable for staff to be able to work on all or most aspects of the instruction or service required, in direct communication with the student, staff or faculty who needs help. For example, the liaison system in Academic Computing assumes that in most cases a faculty member will receive all aspects of support from one liaison, or that liaison will coordinate the support and instruction required.
All staff and faculty have engaged new skills as the information technology evolves. Multiple reclassifications have assured that staff job descriptions and pay scales match new expectations for technological expertise. Staff have also shifted the location of their work partially or in its entirety as budget cuts and new programs such as Summit and Illiad have changed where the greatest stresses occur. Increased emphasis on technology in many positions have lead to reclassifications and increases in salaries for some staff, resulting in compression of salaries for some managers. A campus-wide study of exempt salaries is expected to address this issue.
Professional Growth (5.D.3)
5.D.3 The institution provides opportunities for professional growth for library and information resources professional staff.
The library faculty are fully funded for professional activities through the central faculty professional development funds and policies as well as through faculty institutes.
The remaining library and media services staff may request up to $500 annually from a pool of $2500. The Library has requested additional funding to bring the maximum benefit up to $750 in order to be consistent with the rest of Academics, but this funding has not been granted thus far. Non-state funds from the Friends of the Library have been allocated for retreats and other staff meetings in order to compensate for some of this differential access to professional development funds.
Computing and Communications allocates in excess of $40,000 per year to support attendance of technical staff at technical conferences and trainings. These trainings provide an opportunity for staff to expand their skills with current technology; increase their knowledge of new and advancing technology; and connect with peers from other institutions and experts in specific technologies. These training opportunities are critical to the team’s ability to support teaching and learning and to provide management of the college’s administrative systems. See CC Training Spreadsheet.
Organizational Structure (5.D.4)
5.D.4 Library and information resources and services are organized to support the accomplishment of institutional mission and goals. Organizational arrangements recognize the need for service linkage among complementary resource bases (e.g., libraries, computing facilities, instructional media and telecommunication centers).
The fundamental organizing principle of library and information resources at Evergreen is that an interdisciplinary curriculum demands integrated services. Beyond that, the founding vision aspired to provide all media, in any location. Contemporary networked technology and the expectations of students now create a climate in which barriers between different informations can and must be dissolved. For all these reasons, blended resources, facilities and services predominate throughout Standard 5.
Today, media applications, once physically limited to Media Services, are located, maintained, taught and used throughout the facilities administered by Academic Computing and, to a degree, the Library. Similarly, library resources, once physically limited to the library building, are found anywhere within reach of the web. Public computers, once found only in the Computer Center, are everywhere, as are privately owned laptops. These shifts have accelerated over the past ten years and have changed the instructional roles of the areas and their relationship to the curriculum. Undoubtedly, library and information resources will continue to distribute their budgets, facilities and staff to continue expanding access to information technology in academic programs and for individual students.
As technologies have changed, so have the relationships among the Library, Media Services, and Computing, which now share in the communal project of interconnecting, teaching and supporting our information and technological resources. At this juncture, there seems little point in redesigning the administrative structures that oversee these areas because new relationships and responsibilities have evolved organically, based on need, demand, and interest and will continue to do so. In order to make sure that these effective working relationships continue to develop, reinforcing connections such as joint staffing, deliberately planning together, and continuing involvement across the areas when hiring for new staff and particularly administrators must be emphasized.
The Edutech TESC Information Environment Review suggested that the existing distributed structures were valuable, but recommended greatly enhancing the role and formal responsibilies of the ITCH in order to assure better planning in consonance with the mission of the college. See 5.E for fuller discussion of this recommendation. Edutech did not capture the centrality of the teaching role in major portions of the information resources environment at Evergreen. It is teaching and its development which assures the most important connections between the academic mission of the college, the educational program and IT services of all kinds. While the Library and Media Services collaborate, as a matter of course, with Academic Computing, the real challenge remains: How to more thoroughly engage the teaching faculty across the curriculum in defining the role of information technology in the academic careers of our students.
Engagement in Curriculum Development (5.D.5)
5.D.5 The institution consults library and information resources staff in curriculum development.
Library and Information Resources Budgets (5.D.6)
5.D.6 The institution provides sufficient financial support for library and information resources and services, and for their maintenance and security.
Similar to staffing levels noted above, the library is well-funded compared to other regional public baccalaureates in the state (WA State Public in the table below)and peer public liberal arts libraries nationally (COPLAC in the table below). This comparatively rich funding reflects a historical recognition of the demands of free inquiry and independent research and the centrality of library research in a liberal arts education. Both funding and use rates closely match those of the private liberal arts libraries which predominate the DEEP (Documenting Effective Educational Practices), CTCL (Colleges That Change Lives) and CIEL (Consortium of Innovative Environments for Learning) peer groups. Thus the general funding level for the Evergreen Library compares closely to that of institutions with similar missions, services and roles within their institutions. For further discussion of the role of libraries in liberal arts colleges see Comparing Use Statistics With Other Libraries (5.E). On the other hand, the Library budget reported below includes Media Services (approximately 50% of library staffing falls into this category). Most libraries do not include any of the functions of provides by Media Services at Evergreen. Instead, these functions, including media instruction, media production facilities, media production to support college activities and portable media production equipment check-out, if offered at all, would be part of an academic department such as Education or Media Arts. If Media Services costs and services were not considered, then budgets are close to those of other public institutions, while use statistics are comparable to private liberal arts institutions.
|WA State Public||11,415||15||$373|
As budget cuts have reduced both staffing and collections, diversified revenue sources have become a high priority for Library Administration. Generous biennial infusions from the central Academic Budget have withered since earlier study periods. Indirect funds from activity grants to the faculty, major gifts from donors, book sales, and fines for lost or destroyed books have all increased to make up important non-state sources for collection development. The development of facilities and programming have been supported through major donors with the Library Dean and the campus fundraisers focusing significant attention on these efforts.
The Edutech TESC Information Environment Review discusses budgets in Area 4 and compares 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%. Generally, IT is funded comparably to institutions with similar missions and culture. The report recommended that budget processes should be addressed which take into account the heavy demands upon replacement, operation and maintenance as IT becomes ubiquitous in the classroom as well as labs.
Standard 5.E – Planning and Evaluation
Library and information resources planning activities support teaching and learning functions by facilitating the research and scholarship of students and faculty. Related evaluation processes regularly assess the quality, accessibility, and use of libraries and other information resource repositories and their services to determine the level of effectiveness in support of the educational program.
Evaluating Information Services and Collections
Assessments of Evergreen's library and information resources confirm support for the academic mission of the college as a public liberal arts college which expects a substantial number of students to engage in self-selected independent inquiry. Utilization patterns among Evergreen students correlate closely to the intensive use found among library arts colleges as opposed to lower use rates found among more comprehensive institutions.
Comparing Use Statistics With Other Libraries
In 2002, Washington's four-year public baccalaureate institutions implemented the Cascade resource sharing consortium. This start-up provided an amazing new service and also an opportunity to assess how rapidly a major new service might be implemented. 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. Although ten times bigger than Evergreen, the University of Washington borrowed just under 7,000 items during that first year. The quick acceptance of Cascade testified to the efficient connection between the library, library instruction and the teaching faculty and curriculum at large.
Cascade became Orbis/Cascade as the Washington and Oregon academic consortia merged. The new on-line resource sharing service, entitled Summit, provides ongoing comparative statistics. To continue comparison within the original members of Cascade, in 2006, Evergreen borrowed 4.52 per FTE; almost 4 times the next heaviest user at 1.15 items borrowed per student. Although one might assume that small collection size drives this higher demand, the fact is that the Evergreen collection circulates at a high rate per student as well, according to federal IPEDS data.
IPEDS data for 2006 also provide the opportunity to compare use statistics of liberal arts colleges with Evergreen and with small masters level universities (Carnegie Class Masters I), where strong distinctions appear again. When both circulation and interlibrary loan are counted, Evergreen circulates 31 items per FTE, liberal arts colleges national average 24 items per FTE and the Masters I institutions circulate 8.34 per FTE.
The same dramatic distinction between liberal arts colleges and comprehensive institutions appears in the Summit consortium, which covers a full gamut of colleges and universities in Oregon and Washington. Following is a table which lists the heaviest users from the member libraries, based upon their rates of use per FTE in 2006. 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|
(Source: | Summit Borrowing Statistics FY06)
Thus it is clear that, as of 2006, Evergreen library utilization mirrors the practices of liberal arts colleges. High use rates also seem to reflect an academic emphasis on major student projects. For instance, Reed College, which requires a senior thesis, circulates or borrows 120 items per student. On the other hand, looking ahead, academic library use patterns are in a period of dramatic change. In 2007, the University of Washington implemented WorldCat Local which provides immediate click-though prompts, leading the user from local catalog to Summit to some journal databases, periodical holdings and interlibrary loan if appropriate. Summit use at the University of Washington doubled since implementation and interlibrary loan has also increased steeply. A large increase in borrowing at the University of Washington drives lending rates throughout the Summit system, but even more important, it suggests that discovery tools will dramatically increase usage without change in the library instructional program or academic practices. The Orbis/Cascade consortium will be implementing WorldCat as the shared Summit catalog soon and many libraries in the consortium will undoubtedly implement WorldCatLocal as their local library catalog as well.
Library and Computer Center Use & Satisfaction Rates
The comparative data above demonstrates that library and information resources are comparatively well-utilized. While high rates of use suggest something about effectiveness, surveys of popularity (frequency of use and satisfaction with use), provide further affirmation. Institutional Research routinely surveys alumni and students about campus resources. A summary of campus resource utilization (See Alumni Surveys 2002-2006 - Campus Resource Utilization) shows that over the six year period, the Library and the computing facilities have been the top two most used campus facilities, trading off for first place. Alumni who were somewhat or very satisfied with the services have reported in at between 87% and 92% over the period surveyed.
Starting in 2006, the Evergreen Student Experience Survey (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 journal databases (Proquest, Ebscohost and JSTOR), users conducted 80,000 searches. In 2007, among approximately 30 subscription databases, there were well over 250,000 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. Use statistics for periodicals and databases drive selection and instruction planning. When use statistics are low for a database seen by the library faculty as critical to a discipline or of particularly high academic value, then library faculty focus instruction on that database whenever appropriate.
Media Services User Surveys
The Alumni Survey added Media Services to its survey of campus resource utilization starting in 2004. Since then, Media Services has been listed as the fifth post utilized resource. Alumni reported being somewhat or very satisfied at a rate of 89% and 90% in the two years of survey.
The Evergreen Student Experience Survey (ESES) of 2006 asked students about their use of Media Services, which showed 48% use of Media Loan and 89.6% somewhat or very satisfied. A survey designed and implemented by staff member Lin Crowley supplemented this data. 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 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 services. 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. See TESC Media Services Assessment Project
Evaluation of Teaching & Instructional Programs: Information Technology Literacy
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, including media literacy?
How many students are taught?
Within recent years about 3,000 students attend program-based library instruction workshops annually. These statistics exclude most cases of repeated contacts with the same student and thus represent very broad coverage of the student body. (Workshop stats need to be uploaded).
From 2000 to 2007, Media Services offered a total of more than 1500 workshops to approximately 156 academic programs. This number does not include the thousands of quick proficiencies also provided by this area. The number of formal 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.
Most instruction provided by the Academic Computing and CAL serves specific academic programs. These sessions are represented in the following table:
|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 annually. 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 come to college with strong technical skills and with specialized self-determined needs for support. 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. All areas of library, media and computing find the strongest teaching and the greatest demand for instruction occurs in conjunction with programs.
The number of teaching contacts shows that library and information resources staff reach a large number of academic programs, but not which programs. End-of-program surveys conducted from 2001-2006 by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment 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 at 50%, followed by some form of presentation technology. Ninty percent of programs reported some substantial use of information technology. (See Summary of Information Technology Literacy Emphasis in Programs)
In 2006/07, questions were revised to more accurately identify programs where there was intentional focus on teaching ITL: "Did your program include activities to improve information technology literacy?" With this more restrictive language, 70% of programs reported including ITL. (See End-of-program Review Results for 2006-07 - Information Technology Literacy by Planning Unit)
Further, in 2006/07, a follow-up question asked specifically which kind of technology was taught. Significantly different technologies predominate in different parts of the curriculum. No standard set of applications comes into play, although as of 2006/07 presentation technologies (at 42% of all programs) have increased by 70% over their use in the 2001-2006 reports and now begin to approach library and internet research in their prevalence at 50%. Online communication applications were reported by 32% of programs, an increase of 19% over the 2001 to 2006 data.
Reservation-Based programs reported library and internet research at the highest rate, at 100% of programs, although this work was weakly connected to library instruction and therefore it is unclear whether academic library-supplied resources were used. At the other end of the spectrum, Culture/Text/Language was lowest with 21% reporting library or internet searching. The remainder of planning units ranged between 43% and 50% library/internet use, with Core at the low end with 43%.
The substantial move toward presentation media and online communication in programs drives increases in multi-media applications. Presentation technology and online communication applications encourage the use of still and moving images, sound clips, graphs and charts. They mix these media with traditional print communication written by students or linked from web resources. While these media and print applications involve basic, commonly used applications of information technology, they easily migrate toward more advanced media production. The increasing presence of multi-media information technology in Evergreen's learning communities drives further demand upon Media Services and upon Academic Computing, along with increased overlap of their teaching and service roles.
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, both used more broadly across the curriculum, 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 works in collaboration with media staff to provide instruction on entry-level media production applications. 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.).
Just as in the Computer Center, 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.
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. 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 standardized measures.
On the other hand, the Library does engage in qualitative assessment, the descriptive characterization of ITL teaching and learning. As is the case throughout the faculty (see Standard 2.B.3, Engagement and Reflection), library faculty write annual evaluations of themselves and their library and teaching colleagues. They also engage in five-year reviews in which a panel of teaching colleagues discusses their work. These evaluations consistently address instructional aspirations, successes and failures. See Reflections on Library Instruction.
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 even the thinking of several small samples of students as they collaborated intensively on research questions. The study showed that these particular students were 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.
Student Assessment of their ITL Learning
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...?" Responses generally matched fairly well with the perspectives found in the End of Program surveys. 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.
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 think that they developed their 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 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.
Participatory Planning (Standard 5.E.1)
5.E.1 The institution has a planning process that involves users, library and information resource staff, faculty, and administrators.
Overall Planning for Collections & Services
The fluidity of interdisciplinary and individual study define Library services. 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.
Within the Edutech TESC Information Environment Review, Area 5 discussed planning and governance in the Evergreen information environment. The review was somewhat critical of the lack of coordination in support, planning and governance of IT across campus and advocated for a stronger role for ITCH, an organization which links library, media and computing managers and instructors. However, the report did not emphasize how the teaching function and role in Academic Computing, CAL and Media Services creates strong collaboration in all service and instruction design. The interconnection of the instructional role with the planning and support functions drives the efficacy of all the services in these areas.
Further, placing library and information resources within the larger ethos of the college, any major policy discussions or long-term planning processes invoke the participatory college-wide DTF structure. See Participatory Decision-Making Culture (Standard 1 Section 2.3) and Standard 6. The College budget process and schedule drives most mid-term library planning. The College budget process is described in Standard 7 Section 7.A.3
Additional opportunities for community contributions to planning include faculty who rotate into the Library who focus on collection development and other planning projects. An annual Reference Services Group retreat establishes the year's work before classes start in the fall. Faculty development reviews, also known as five-year reviews and faculty institutes provide opportunities for conversations across campus about a range of teaching, learning and service questions as they impact information services. The library internship program provided a reading seminar for several years within which library faculty, staff and interns could discuss changing information technology and its cultural meaning. Finally, the librarians often engage in faculty reading seminars, frequently focused on library issues, where shared thinking about the future of libraries evolves.
Loose Structures and 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. Further, full-time teaching faculty rotate into the 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. Librarians have nine-month contracts and several are 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 describes major changes in services, faculties and collections implemented during the study period. Most respond to opportunities provided by technological developments and external engagement in consortia. The consortia relieve any single library from much of the burden of research and develop into new technologies, an overwhelming burden for a comparatively small library such as Evergreen.
Planning Linkages (Standard 5.E.2)
5.E.2 The institution, in its planning, recognizes the need for management and technical linkages among information resource bases (e.g., libraries, instructional computing, media production and distribution centers, and telecommunications networks).
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.
ITCH created a strategic plan in conjunction with the campus-wide Strategic Planning process in 2007. Strategic Direction number 7 addresses technology. The statement is notable for the breadth of its concerns, with aspirations addressing media, library and computing technology:
7. Use technology to enhance teaching and learning and administrative support at Evergreen. Evergreen will intentionally foster secure, sustainable, flexible, easy-to-use, and accessible information technologies (IT) that support and enhance our teaching and learning philosophies and the administrative needs of the institution. Evergreen’s continuing commitment to technology and media literacies as critical components of a liberal arts education has led us to re-envision our Television Studio into a Center for New Media [now entitled the Center for Creative and Applied Media (CCAM)] that will provide cross curricular and extra curricular support for computer mediated production, performance, interactivity, teleconferencing, live broadcasts, digital image storage, processing, re-broadcasting and format conversion for all areas of the college. Accuracy and quality of information will improve and strong support will make technology and a broad range of information services available to on-and off-campus users. Security requirements of networks, software, hardware and data will be met while ensuring appropriate user access, including control of access to confidential information and the need for academic exploration. Classroom spaces will be technologically current and functional for meeting curricular needs.
The complete Strategic Plan Wiki provides more detail.
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 could develop a shared perspective about their public presence. One possibility for representing blended facilities and services would be a central help desk for the information technology wing. The shared entrance to the wing has 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.
Evaluation and The Future (Standard 5.E.3)
5.E.3 The institution regularly and systematically evaluates the quality, adequacy, and utilization of its library and information resources and services, including those provided through cooperative arrangements, and at all locations where courses, programs, or degrees are offered. The institution uses the results of the evaluations to improve the effectiveness of these resources.
As part of an institution constantly engaged in processes of narrative evaluation and other forms of assessment, library and information resources engage in and are the subject of extensive assessment both within library and information resources and externally through Institutional Research and Assessment surveys and studies. In addition to formal annual processes such as budget building and annual library faculty retreats, the results of these assessments feed into the development of ongoing teaching and services through constant face-to-face interactions among faculty, administrators, staff and students which inform all operations. Institutional Research and Assessment, as cited throughout this report, provides annual surveys about library and information resources, several of which are broken down by campus.
Collections and Access
The web presence of the Library will, of course, continue to evolve. The Library continues work on a new library front page and database search pages including moving care and feeding of a newly designed library front page over to the college-wide web team. A new federated search is being implemented. Meanwhile, the Orbis-Cascade consortium is migrating to WorldCat, which the library will consider for local use as well. A local catalog designed on the principle of web discovery tools can be expected to generate significant changes in library use. In this context, changes in staffing may be required to support increases in use of services such as Summit and Illiad.
The continued expansion of audio/visual media collections represents a critical part of the vision of the generic library. To that end, one-time funds have frequently been infused into a small base budget for film and sound recordings, 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. See SAIL Acquisition Statistics. Selectors will continue a recent change of policy allowing the purchase of any medium from their funds allocated for print monographs, but a stable and larger allocation for the SAIL budget would 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 core collections do not need to support individual students who engage in inquiries that lie outside the collection profile, based upon the core curriculum. 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 required 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 other non-state funds have helped close collection development gap in some cases, such as the SAIL budget. Library and information resources overall have begun 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.
Support for Rapidly Evolving Information Technology
While the Edutech TESC Information Environment Review 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 staff and funding for maintenance.
As media technology has changed, some faculty choose to continue teaching older analog equipment, often for good pedagogical and aesthetic reasons. In the context of doubling instruction loads, this breadth of technologies generates a daunting challenge 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.
The reduced number of library faculty has resulted in less ability to provide library instruction deeply and broadly to the entire curriculum. Further, reference desk service has changed as the Internet creates patrons who access our resources from remote locations. Most immediately, virtual patrons do not benefit from the teaching that takes place at the reference desk, although the transactions that do occur at reference tend to be more substantive. As traffic at the physical reference desk has diminished, faculty who rotate into the library have more limited opportunities to learn about library resources through interactions with patrons. These trends should inform the reference group as they consider how to proceed in allocating team responsibilities with or without an increase in the number of library faculty.
The reference group should evaluate service to areas of the curriculum that report or demonstrate less involvement in the various forms of information technology instruction (as reflected in end of program reports)and consider whether more or different instructional support would be appropriate, feasible or desirable.
Library instruction will evolve in the context of catalogs which imitate web discovery tools. It is entirely likely that patrons will frequently discover services which have, until now, had to be pointed out to them. For the near future, however, finding and using the most effective, appropriate journal databases still requires instruction or intervention on the part of librarians or faculty. Evaluation of library instruction based upon comparative use statistics will probably be less valuable than in this past study period, as academic library finding tools will vary greatly for some time to come, creating widely disparate use statistics. Thus close attention to database use trends and their correlation to the implementation of new finding tools will be important in the near future.
The science librarian who does intensive, embedded instruction, works with students as they write bibliographies, which become the basis for evaluating the effectiveness of student research. Some of the other librarians evaluate bibliographies as well. This approach could be more broadly applied to programs across the curriculum, where students are required to research competently and to represent their work clearly in bibliographies, abstracts, research papers, essays and stories. Faculty librarians may want to explore evaluating research results more commonly as they develop their ties with programs and faculty in all disciplines. As librarians become more involved in each stage of research, including writing or production, they should be able to provide more consistent support to students. Of course, this more intensive work with individual programs must be restricted according to the time and energy of the small library faculty team. Variations in the academic year cycle, which show significantly lighter workshop demands in winter, as compared to fall quarter, suggest one strategy for extending this service. This may also be an area to which rotating faculty can contribute.
Academic Computing and the Library Faculty should explore connections with the Quantitative and Writing Centers. The many overlapping values and concerns of these areas seem obvious. In fact, the barriers that persist seem to reflect different philosophies of service—specifically, of public service—rather than intractably divergent views of teaching and learning. For instance, students do a great deal of the teaching in the writing center, whereas faculty librarians consider teaching to be the center of their work. Yet everyone agrees that student-centered instruction is one of the best modes of learning.
Cross-Curricular Information Technology Literacy
As discussed above, library and information resources and the teaching faculty assure that information technology infuses the curriculum. On the other hand, the faculty has not embraced any particular set of information technology skills as fundamental to the liberal arts undergraduate at Evergreen. Instead, faculty choose and adapt information and media technologies according to the pedagogical and disciplinary requirements of their chosen inquiry. There is little work across the curriculum about critical approaches to media or basic definitions of college level technical literacy for the liberal arts. In the immediate future, library and information resources should invite the teaching faculty into a discussion about whether the campus has any broad consensus about ITL, including critical approaches. Long ago, the college committed to writing across the curriculum and allocated significant institutional resources to encourage that work—without proscriptive limits or standards. A wider discussion about ITL could produce a similar vision and institutional support. In the long run, such a vision will shape our understanding of digital scholarship in the liberal arts.
The expansion of entry-level media technology instruction raises questions about the staffing assumptions in Academic Computing. If critical approaches to information technology are to be addressed and if cross-curricular information technology literacy is a priority for the contemporary liberal arts, then instructional staffing based on historical models of canned skills workshops may be insufficient. Academic Computing should continue current efforts to recruit instructional staff who have the expertise to work intensively in program planning and curriculum development as well as on technical support for those activities. The numbers of such instructional IT staffing may also need to be evaluated, in response to these new and expanding demands for work within the curriculum.
Conclusion: Holly's Generic Library Has Come to Fruition
Library and information resources have been deeply influenced by the organizational habits of the college, habits of collaboration, egalitarian ideals, fluidity, face-to-face interactions, non-departmentalization, reflexive learning, and independent 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 media, 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 has come.