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 how to reason and communicate about freely chosen inquiries whose outcomes remain to be discovered or created (Smith, Standard 2)—in short, as they learn the skills of research, information literacy and media production. Library and information resources must balance the open-ended demands of free inquiry against the need for stability, security and efficiency in systems and services. This balance constitutes the focus of how we evaluate our role in undergraduate education. All areas of library and information resources are shaped by the primary mission of teaching and of providing state-of-the-art facilities for programs and individual students. Historically, the Library has been well funded in recognition of the demands of open-ended inquiry and independent study [insert data on large percentage of students who do ILCs]. In fact, the high level of funding represents the strong collaboration among library and media staff, faculty, and administration, all of whom work in concert to develop the library as a center for teaching and learning.
Creating the Generic Library
When the founding Dean of Library Services, James Holly, wrote his “Position Paper No. 1,” he assumed that the library would be generic, “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.’” What Holly envisioned motivated many aspects of library, media and computer services but proved in many ways untenable over time because the college community expressed traditional longings for a bounded space. The generic library also proved partially impractical due to technical and budgetary constraints. However, technology and community values have caught up with Holly’s founding vision. Today, laptops and networked data are ubiquitous, and most students expect to access information resources remotely. The library and information services have responded creatively and flexibly to these changes in information technology. Most significantly, a $22 million remodel connected previously disparate areas and created a more cohesive information technology wing, providing one major entrance for the Library, Media Services, the Computer Center and the Computing and Communications offices. Thus, in evaluating library and information resources, the chapter considers 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, or Academic Computing.
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. Comparisons of basic per/FTE library funding place TESC well above average public liberal arts colleges and Washington State four-year funding ($734 versus $417 and $372). On other hand, TESC is funded less well than the average private liberal arts comparison groups ($734 versus $805 for CIEL; $853 CTCL; DEEP $790). For comparison, heavily used liberal arts libraries such as Reed show per student funding at $2,608 per student.
LIR is generally well-funded in recognition of the emphasis of independent learning in a fluid curriculum.
5.A.2 The institution’s core collection and related information resources are sufficient to support the curriculum.
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.
This is the strongest characteristic of LIR developed with intensive connection to the curriculum.
Typical of strong connections to the curriculum, off-campus programs are served through intensive face-to-face instruction and enhanced on-line access.