Week in Review – 14 March 2014

Library Survey Comments: Staffing and General Comments

In addition to the questions asked on the recent survey of faculty regarding library services, those taking the survey were invited to make any general comments. Those responses have been sorted out into different categories, grouped together with similar comments, and we have prepared responses where appropriate. This week is a look at comments that relate to library staffing and general/miscellaneous thoughts. Comments are listed by bullets and responses are in green italic text.

  • The staff are wonderful. I wish that they wore nametags so that I express my appreciation more personally.

Nearly all our staff should be wearing name tags, and with the new security changes our CACs as well!

  • Train library staff a bit better in ILL and other cross-library lending programs. They’re not bad, but could be a bit better.
  • Need to employ research librarians that actually know how to do research and locate things. I asked for a journal ranking a little while ago and this person had no idea what I was asking.

We have an ongoing program of training for staff. While we strive to know as much as we can about everything (since that what libraries do), we know we can always continue to build and broaden our skills. We will make sure that staff continue to be aware of our cross-library lending programs. We are also working to integrate networks like ConnectNY directly into Scout so that finding and acquiring those resources will be even easier to do.

  • We need to have librarians in the library! A library in an institution of higher education should not have a staff of people without degrees in library science.

Approximately half of USMA Library staff have a master’s degree in library science, which is a higher ratio than many other academic libraries. That said, we do not believe that a graduate degree in library science is a prerequisite to delivering outstanding library service and we have a team of dedicated and talented librarians and library technicians who support every service we provide to our users. We could not do the work we do without any of our team members. We’re sure all our academic departments have non-Ph.D. staff that provide critical support to the curriculum and our teaching daily. We do too.

  • Admittedly anecdotal, nonetheless: My spouse was treated rudely by a staff member when she attempted to pick up her already applied for library card. It was almost as if the staff member wanted to make it difficult for her to obtain the card. I don’t know a name and don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but broadly addressing behavior standards may be in order.

We regularly reinforce the requirement for good service with all staff.

  • Improve visibility/engagement of library staff with the junior (rotating) faculty so that all instructors are aware of the awesome resources available.

An excellent suggestion that we agree with wholeheartedly. We are working to better integrate our liaisons into their academic departments and have been recently considering some new ways to get to know new faculty. Suggestions on how to do this are always welcome.

Miscellaneous/General Comments

  • A limit on articles that can be checked out is very unsuitable for literature searches.

We’re not sure what limits you may be running into, so please let a reference librarian know what issues you may be having so we can address.

  • Develop a more robust funding line through AOG to augment regular funding.

Agreed. We do have some gift funds now, although they are very targeted to support collecting materials (usually just print books) in a specific subject. It is a priority for us to build more unrestricted gift funds to support the overall program and to provide some alternate funding sources. The Library was not included as a target funding priority for the current campaign, which limits how much we can pursue this right now.

  • The library staff is probably the BEST I’ve ever been around during 1 bachelor’s degree and 2 master’s degrees. Just phenomenal work by Chris Barth and staff.
  • The staff is very helpful and willing to help.
  • The facilities are excellent and so is the staff. Honestly, no suggestions as I find the library services are wonderful.
  • I have no suggestions at this time.
  • I am very impressed with the facilities here. I have used research libraries at 1 other teaching college and 2 tier 1 research colleges other than WP in the last decade and this is the best. The reason my students and I don’t utilize the library is that I teach classes that aren’t research intensive and my research is being hindered my career distractions right now.
  • The library is exceptional. I don’t have a research intensive course so my cadets don’t use it often.
  • Collaboration space (sharing of information) and access to digital collections on-line are the two most important services provided at the library for my engineering students.
  • Keep up the great work. I have had great success with electronic and physical sources for my research. It has helped me stay active doing research in the field of structural stability.
  • The library has a great and helpful staff!!
  • Keep up the good work!
  • The collection seems very small for an institution of this size, but being part of the New York sharing system helps. Getting books from sister libraries is fast and efficient. I would love to have a digital microfilm reader/printer available at all times.
  • The library staff are great and Chris Barth’s leadership and vision are impressive. Most problems are not the fault of the library. They are the fault of the funding process.
  • I have no meaningful input. I’ve used the library too few times to generalize with confidence. The times I have used the library, the staff was excellent, I found the texts I needed, the web-resources I needed, and have no deficiencies to note!
  • I have only used the library on rare occasion but the staff has always been very helpful. I do not have any suggestions at this time.
  • Thank you for all the hard work and effort that goes into our library!
  • Not as applicable to students taking modern physics, most additional resources can be found in physics library.
  • Part of the issue is that this is an undergraduate academy and not an advanced degree granting Research University – so perhaps judging against that metric is unfair. The electronic holdings are sufficient to fill the gap in physical holdings for undergraduate projects. Part of the issue is that there is relatively little time for Cadets to research topics. Scholarly research is usually last minute with Cadets reporting what is easily accessible. To an extent, I cannot blame them; they are here to become 2nd Lieutenants and not to become students of an academic discipline. Their career and vocation is the Army and not Civil and Mechanical Engineering or some other discipline. The Cadets admit that they are here to survive the experience and graduate, to do so the requirement is to pass. There is no real incentive to excel because they have a secure job when they leave and can opt for a graduate school additional service requirement and worry about graduate admissions in 6 to 8 years. In fact, being a ‘goat’ is somewhat of an honor.
  • Keep up the good work!
  • I have never received anything but outstanding support from the Library.
  • My field of research is quite narrow, so I would not expect our library to have tremendous holdings in my area. I use ConnectNY and ILL a lot (especially the former) and they serve my needs very well!
  • Library is great overall.
  • Having electronic access to journal articles at our desks is AMAZING and would be very much appreciated. Having excellent search engines to find material is also appreciated.
  • Personnel have always been wonderful.
  • If I was a student, I’d use the library all the time.
  • LIBRARIANS: While our hours are too limited and the collection could be larger, the library staff is phenomenal, and after using several academic libraries and DOD archives, probably the best with whom I have worked. They are knowledgeable and go out of their way to integrate with the academic departments in order to assist cadets on specific course material. (Mike Arden and Laura Mosher are excellent examples here.) Maintain, promote, and reward this relationship.
  • The ILL process is great – I’ve ordered a number of books and they come in really quickly. Overall the staff is always really helpful and friendly.

Week in Review on Hiatus

The next Week in Review will be published 28 March.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
Fri 14 Mar 2014 Plebe Parent Weekend Week in Review 0600-1630
Sat 15 Mar 2014  Plebe Parent Weekend Plebe Parent Weekend 0800-1000
Sun 16 Mar 2014 Spring Leave CLOSED
Mon 17 Mar 2014  Spring Leave 0700-1630
Tue 18 Mar 2014  Spring Leave 0700-1630
Wed 19 Mar 2014  Spring Leave 0700-1630
Thu 20 Mar 2014  Spring Leave 0700-1630
Fri 21 Mar 2014 Spring Leave 0700-1630

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

10FEB-16FEB 17FEB-23FEB 24FEB-2MAR 3MAR-9MAR
Access Services
Items Charged Out 1,216 669 921 983
Gate Count 3,666 3,623 5,844 5,620
ILL Article Requests 22 28 49 48
ILL Book Requests 31 27 19 27
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 1 0 1
Significant Events Hosted 2 3 2 2
Events/Meetings Attended 17 15 20 26
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 101 37 82 85
Library Instruction Sessions 3 0 1 1
Cadets Attending Sessions 42 0 13 9
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 61 206 155 110
Items Added – Digital 3,829 429 0 0
Items Added – GovDocs 106 194 146 34
Items Added – Other 26 0 0 2
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 47 161 235 88
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 21 31 49 47
Research Visits < 1 hour 8 4 10 8
Research Visits < 1 day 6 5 3 3
Research Visits > 1 day 0 1 0 0
Instruction Sessions 5 2 0 0
Cadets Taught 96 36 0 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 4,870 3,179 4,447 4,893
LibGuides Visits 759 397 561 621
Digital Collections Visits 270 276 277 294
Facebook Visits 30 14 17 16
Public Printer Prints 4,172 3,167 7,849 7,865
Public Printer Copies 257 303 632 441
Public Printer Scans 11 34 197 44

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “The internet promised to feed our minds with knowledge. What have we learned? That our minds need more than that.” – The problem with too much information – Dougald Hine – Aeon
  • “Whether they work at a big research university, a small four-year college, or something in between, academic-library directors share a “resounding dedication” to teaching information literacy to undergraduates. Beyond that, the priorities they set for their libraries depend on the size and nature of their institutions and how many (or few) resources they have to work with.” – What Matters to Academic-Library Directors? Information Literacy – Wired Campus – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Practice is great! But practice alone won’t make you Yo Yo Ma.” – Scientists Debunk The Myth That 10,000 Hours Of Practice Makes You An Expert
  • “Academic libraries have been at the leading edge of technologically driven change for many years. Library services, from what I can see, have had to change at a faster rate than other academic services. Where teaching has changed mostly at the margins (so far), academic libraries have had to pivot from a regime of information scarcity (the card catalog, subscriptions, collections, etc.) to one of information abundance (Google). From purchasing journals to licensing databases. From housing books to providing collaborative work spaces. Has any part of the modern university changed more in the past 20 years than the library?” – Why the Academic Library Should Lead Higher Ed Change | Inside Higher Ed
  • “Today, the San Francisco-based literary startup Plympton launched an online fiction service called Rooster. It’s sold by subscription. It’s priced by the month. And it automatically delivers regular content to your iPhone or iPad. In other words, it’s a book service that looks a lot like a magazine service. And it’s just the latest example of how books are being packaged like magazines. With Rooster, readers pay $5 per month in exchange for a stream of bite-sized chunks of fiction. Each chunk takes just 15 minutes or so to read, and over the course of a month, they add up to two books. The service builds on the success of Plympton’s Daily Lit, which emails you classic literature in five-minute installments.” – The Future of Books Looks a Lot Like Netflix | Wired Business | Wired.com
  • “The Wikipedian in Residence will, according to the job announcement, help to “expand coverage on Wikipedia of topics relevant to Houghton collections.” He or she will add sources for existing Wikipedia pages and create new pages “on notable topics.” The person will also “provide appropriate formatting and metadata (and OCR cleanup in the case of texts) to upload public domain content to Wikimedia and Wikisource, and facilitate the use of such materials by other Wikipedia users.” – Harvard’s Looking for a ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ – Megan Garber – The Atlantic
  • “If you asked people in 1989 what they needed to make their life better, it was unlikely that they would have said that a decentralized network of information nodes that are linked using hypertext.” – If you asked people in 1989… | chris dixon’s blog
  • “According to the official narrative, monitoring metadata is no big deal. But two Stanford University researchers wanted to see how “sensitive” metadata actually was. So they enlisted hundreds of volunteers to install an app called “MetaPhone” on their Androids to pick up that metadata over several months. What they found shocked them. “Participants had calls with Alcoholics Anonymous, gun stores, sexually transmitted disease clinics, strip clubs, and much more.” – The NSA Can Learn All Your Secrets From Your Phone Metadata
  • “A key theme in these survey findings is that many people see acquiring information as a highly social process in which trusted helpers matter,” Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and a main author of the report said. “One of the main resources that people tap when they have questions is the networks of expertise. Even some of the most self-sufficient information consumers in our sample find that libraries and librarians can be part of their networks when they have problems to solve or decisions to make.” – PBS Newshour: Turns out the most engaged library users also biggest tech users

Excerpted from Infoneer Pulse, a digital commonplace book curated by Christopher Barth.