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.
- 1 Availability of Information Resource Facilities
- 2 Cooperative Agreements
Availability of Information Resource Facilities
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 Information Technology Wing
LIR Facilities and Services Visibly Interconnect
Library and information resources networks actively across academic and administrative departmental boundaries. With the generic library as a foundation and the interdisciplinary curriculum as the context, merged collections and services build upon an alternative past. The major remodel planned and implemented during the self-study period substantially strengthened opportunities for networking services, facilities and staff. One central, broad entrance provides access to the Library, the Computer Center, Media Loan and the stairs to Electronic Media, Photo Services and Computing and Communications. A large staircase which hides this entrance from the view of individuals entering the building is being removed in the current, second phase of the library building remodel.
More Teaching and Study Spaces
The remodel was shaped by a communal commitment to teaching and interdisciplinary study. Collaborative study spaces predominate, whether open area study tables, grouped lounge furniture, pod-shaped arrangements in labs or small group study and media viewing rooms. Wireless access (almost ubiquitous on campus now) allows informal group work around personal or library-owned laptops. Additional laboratory spaces provide easier scheduling for program work and more computers for individuals when classes do not use the labs. Limited quiet study areas provide an alternative for the solitary scholar, but group work is the norm and encouraged.
Hospitable Spaces and Blended Access
Art exhibitions invite patrons into lounge and study areas and help define the library as a public space. The new basement lounge, affectionately dubbed the Library Underground, hosts frequent campus gatherings and public readings, although flooding (a new issue since the remodel) has seriously disrupted the area. Groups from across campus meet and teach in library spaces, which are open to all. The media collections are prominently located in the reference area, where SAIL staff work closely with the reference librarians. Contiguous with SAIL is the Assisted Technology Lab, an emerging resource that has become a vital meeting place for students to work but also to show their art and media productions. Again, SAIL and reference staff provide service and technical support for ATL patrons. As the physical reference collection continues to shrink, reference, SAIL, the ATL, and circulation will merge to form a more cohesive unit with a prominent public presence. Overall, the Information Technology Wing has shed barren hallways and utilitarian desks in favor of lounge areas and comfortable study spaces. Wireless connections, our collection of laptop computers, overstuffed couches and chairs, large tables, task lighting, and spacious collections all contribute to the spirit of conviviality that informs the work of shared inquiry.
More General Access Lab Facilities
With the rapid developments in networked information technology, distinctions between general and specialized technology labs have blurred. The main computer center includes many specialized scientific software packages such as ArcGIS and Mathematica, while standard graphic manipulation software, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, appear in the CAL. Similarly, the Computer Center supports high-level statistics applications such as R as well as digital music editing. The library computers provide basic Office applications and general web access in addition to library-specific searches, but specific library computers also provide GIS, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, assistive/adaptive technology and scanning applications. Additionally, Academic Computing has changed access to networked facilities to reduce distinctions for students working across lab spaces. One user domain and single sign-on mean simpler, more consistent access to networked resources across campus. The Digital Imaging and Multimedia facilities, while providing applications for advanced media production, are open to all stidents.
Some specialty labs have self-contained resources, such as large format printers and applications requiring more sophisticated hardware. However, the primary distinction among labs is the level of expertise and specialized knowledge of the staff. Students benefit when they know that the specialized character of a lab means there will be more skilled assistance as well.
Service Desks and Facilities
Over time, the faculty librarians have transformed the reference desk into a teaching space, which goes well beyond traditional service models. For this reason, there is generally a librarian at the desk during 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.
Public Service Desks at Government Documents, Periodicals, the Sound and Image Library (SAIL), Circulation, Media Loan, Photo Services, including Photoland (Instructional Photo), and Electronic media provide access to collection and/or allow patrons to schedule lab space, reserve equipment, and ask for technical help. From anywhere on campus, faculty can phone EM for assistance in using classroom technologies. For a complete list of information desks see Library Service Points. For a complete list of major labs see Major Facilities.
Meanwhile, virtual access to rapidly expanding collection provides substantially improved service to off-campus programs.
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 huge improvements in access through Summit and shared purchasing agreements, learning and information resources have not stepped back from support for the core collection. Summit will eventually provide specific data regarding collection use insufficiently supported by our existing collection, while the Orbis Cascade consortium is also working on shared collection development guidelines to help design complementary collections.