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 (Standard 5.C.1)
- 2 Cooperative Agreements (Standard 5.C.2)
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 accessiblity. The campus network was lauded as "solid and reliable," and the network itself is described technically in Area 1 of the report. Expansion of wireless access from 75% to the entire campus is recommended; this work is proceeding and has the budgetary support to continue into the future. The large number of classrooms now networked with display capability provide library and information technology access to large portions of the curriculum. The Edutech report also recommended establishing at least one dedicated teleconferencing space for general use, which is planned within the Center for Creative and Applied Media (CCAM). According to Eductech, "student access to computers at Evergreen does not seem to be a problem."
The Information Technology Wing
LIR Facilities and Services Visibly Interconnect
Library and information resources collaborate 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 connecting services, facilities and staff. One central, broad entrance now provides access to the Library, the Computer Center, Media Loan and the stairs to Electronic Media, Photo Services and Computing and Communications.
More Teaching and Study Spaces
The 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 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 small group work is facilitated 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)disrupted the area several times in 2006/7. Groups from across campus meet and teach in library spaces, which are open to all. The Sound and Image Library (SAIL) 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 access, circulating laptops, 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 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 and SAIL are provides multiple stations for basic media dubbing, transfer and editing. 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 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.
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 huge improvements in access through Summit and shared purchasing agreements, the library has not stepped back from support for the core collection. Over time, Summit circulation data will provide specific reports on areas of the collection which are consistently too shallow to support the work of the students and faculty. Additionally, Orbis Cascade consortium is also working on shared collection development guidelines to help design complementary collections.