WAAL 2008: Where are we? Academic librarianship in Wisco

Posted by Lisa Strand on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 in WLA Blog Archive

Panelists:

  • Kim LaPlante, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
  • Mary Rieder, UW Colleges
  • Ed Van Gemert, UW-Madison
  • Pat Wilkinson, UW-Oshkosh
  • Pete Gilbert, Lawrence University
  • Moderator: Gretchen Revie, Lawrence University

Role of library in higher education today

  • Kim:
  • WI Tech Coll system served 400,000 students last year
  • NWTC 43,000+ students, 6,000 FTE
  • Education: what you want, how you want it, where you want it
  • #1 teaching IL skills - find, evaluate, use - librarian is most important resource in the library
  • #2 gather materials - not so much in-house, but provide access; currency (ex: nursing or computer tech within past few years); get copyright permission to put online; video streaming online; cover many counties so has to be widely available
  • #3 fostering innovation; disseminate to admin and faculty re: trends, directions to take, grants
  • Mary:
  • Similar to Tech Coll, with multiple campuses/libraries (13) across state; 50 library staff (~3/library, not all FT)
  • Lots to do, little staff time to do it
  • Large and growing online student population (1,100 now)
  • Undergrad support vs. faculty research
  • Started online document delivery, use SCLS and UB forfor ILL
  • Non-traditional students doing research from work - needed proxy server
  • Online library support has been done from one campus, but will need to hire more
  • Templates for course Library Course Pages - citation guides, databases, catalog, ILL, websites - faculty can customize if want
  • Coursecasting - podcasting audio of lectures, campus activities (ex: poetry readings), access can be restricted to students
  • IL - wide range of students; life-long skills
  • Copyright education for instructors
  • Pete:
  • Googled phrase "role of library in higher education" - found article from 1982, Australian perspective
  • Dependent upon educational objectives of institution
  • WAICU - 19 private schools - Marquette to Nashoda Seminary - most 1000-2000 students - overall 57,000 students; 1/4 4-year students in state - more diversity and non-traditional students (25+ years old)
  • Independent schools: Personal connections, innovate with faculty, mission-driven, about teaching and learning primarily for undergrads, individualized learning, undergrads doing research with faculty
  • Pat:
  • Utilitarian definition of academic librarian
  • Means by which HE gets certain amount of scholarly information to students and faculty
  • 11 comprehensive colleges within UW System (2,500 to 10,000 students)
  • Academic libraries no longer have a near monopoly - once operated in information-scarce environment; now information-rich
  • Grappling with having to demonstrate our effectiveness now that libraries didn't need to 30 years ago
  • Admins contact me and ask about # of books in library to put in reports - that doesn't tell anyone anything
  • Ed:
  • We'll hear more about similarities than dissimilarities today
  • We have an incredible wealth of educational opportunities in this state - marvel at how and why that came about
  • Over 45 libraries on the UW-Madison campus [well...]
  • UW-Madison started 2 years after statehood, library collections go back further than that
  • Sister states benefit from multiple research universities
  • Wisconsin Idea - Charles Van Hise 1904 - boundaries of university extend beyond boundaries of the state
  • My grandfather's time: extension staff, lumbering - natural resources, Now: information technology
  • Support for big science, and digital arts and humanities
  • Important for quality of life in Wisconsin
  • People think "grad students and faculty research" but it's also undergrad education
  • Less about internal focus, than external - how library serves needs of campus, city, state
  • Article in Chronicle from Monday - UW-Madison difficulty retaining faculty and staff, scary article
Changes made in past 3-5 years to accomplish mission in HE? Considering?

  • Kim:
  • IL - more guides, online tours, virtual ref, more lab staff, hired coordinator for 3 campuses, customized guides for 3 programs, video streaming
  • for students who are used to doing their own Myspace and Facebook pages
  • Increasing tools at regional centers so anywhere in district students can get what they need
  • Cataloging learning objects alongside books, journals, etc.
  • Using Delicious account to bring students to recommended sites
  • Library blog with RSS feed
  • In Facebook - not alot of fans, but we are there - incorporate resources within so if seen, they can use
  • Innovation - joined a lot of committees, not just to market library, but to help out as researcher about new technology, trends; More integrated with curriculum dev process
  • College-wide online discussion with reading lists, instructors discuss articles posted by librarians
  • Want to increase team teaching of librarians and faculty
  • Want to make our interfaces more user-friendly; nextgen wants easy, nontrad want intuitive; Voyager 7 this year
  • Instructor development role - want to help train re: libraries, work with existing faculty, being added to search teams, so can market library before they're hired because so busy when they start
  • Mary:
  • Tried some of those things
  • Wisco virtual ref consortium - dropped out - staff small, hard to cover shifts - started to get questions about resources we didn't have
  • Tried chat and IM ref, our students tend to like email because you can get to it on own time
  • New strategic plan - assessment is big - survey a few years ago re: user feedback on Voyager catalog, and lots of changes were made, more streamlined; more campus surveys; 1st LibQual only 118 respondents (not as many as hoped) - will put into report for Library Council
  • Budget cuts - created our own licensed resource purchasing cooperative; more collaborative purchase decisions
  • Some students want to talk, others to be quiet - customizing spaces
  • Online social networking hasn't really gone big with us
  • Some of our libraries have LibraryThing and Google Books lists
  • May become a baccalaureate granting institution, and will need to support this
  • Want to tell faculty what we have, so they can tell students what we have
  • Want to digitize non-copyrighted materials
  • Want to look at internal and external funding sources
  • Pete:
  • Wayne Wiegand was my advisor in grad school - key phrase was "the library in the life of the user, as opposed to the user in the life of the library" - to achieve ubiquity, we try to customize our resources/services for users
  • Signs and business cards: "Ask us"
  • We're also spending a lot of time asking them - formal through SurveyMonkey, and informal through flipchart in library with question: "What one change would you like to see in the physical building?" that users write on
  • We ask ourselves "So what?" - what if we just stopped doing this? what would happen? because we have to stop something if we start something new.
  • IL causes increased reference statistics - make appointments for reference conferences, allows us to prepare more than drop-in desk questions
  • Going to where the students are, virtually - Moodle course management system on campus (free version of D2L, Blackboard) - created a library module to search catalog, will add federated searching, will be doing Delicious and RSS; working with faculty to use PURLs to link to articles
  • Librarians and art faculty talking about digital image provision to studio students - work on things as people ask for them
  • Senior experience - every department has to have a culminating experience; opportunity to integrate library across curriculum
  • Building new campus center - "living room" - library is like that right now; what will new role of library be? Remote services? Domino effect on other buildings - incorporate learning commons into library?
  • Pat:
  • Sharper, more public focus on faculty research
  • TOC service
  • Desktop document delivery - Promised to faculty that we'd get anything they wanted as fast as we could - $10,000/year - BadgerCat helpful as discovery tool, some UW funding
  • Less cumbersome for students - added MS Office suite, wireless, laptop checkout, allow people to do things from homepage
  • Tried minor physical improvements - quiet study, group study, new archives area (work with classes doing research)
  • More fun, fewer rules, no fines for overdues, murder mystery/IL, coffee/cookies during finals, custom-printed mousepads
  • Not only tried to handle cuts well, but have tried to improve services - got through to admin, they were happier with us
  • Not buried under IT in identity
  • Stress one-system, one-library - role of UW-Madison as flagship very important, elsewhere that doesn't happen
  • Reducing footprint of materials, to make room for information commons
  • Conscious transition to digital resources
  • Integrate with CMS
  • Increased funding, strengthening cooperative collection development
  • Ed:
  • Started 1971 as student assistant in library
  • Recent strategic planning exercise - not so important what directions and outcomes were - process on large campus (300 FTE) was interesting and informative - wouldn't hesitate to do again
  • Strategic partnerships - with faculty, students, other system institutions on digital collections, highlight work by faculty, with Google - transformative work for libraries
  • We can do big things, and we can change the world, that's part of our role - will continue to be
  • Library space is a physical asset; over 1 million square feet at UW-Madison; reduction of print, want to repurpose, also landgrab on campus; how partner with faculty, centers, etc. or it will be taken from us
  • Have lost 5 million dollars in journal collections from budget cuts; ILL/document delivery has done a great job
  • Lorcan Dempsey - critical of libraries not "in the flow"
  • NIH requirement of uploading publications to PubMed Central - libraries have taken central role, partnered with research admin
  • Culture of Sharing workshop last weekend - 50 students, starting Students for Free Culture org on campus - told it was the 1st such symposium in U.S.
  • Building collections based on buildings and people not appropriate; need to support multidisciplinarity
  • Librarians designed learning outcomes for learning objects - instructors bring images, skeletons, etc. - how help them place into CMS, provide ubiquity

What skills and abilities help librarians thrive?

  • Kim:
  • Instruction skills with enthusiasm - they just have to share!
  • Someone with imagination who has ideas they want to try
  • Mary:
  • Need IT skills because we're not that well supported, do our own web design
  • Multi-tasking - reference in person, circulation, email reference, committee work
  • Marketing resources, services, what we can do for faculty/admin/community
  • Networking with community - Campus Reads, library boards, helps at budget time
  • Ed:
  • Social intelligence - build into position descriptions - work as team, partnerships with limited resources and time regardless of subject expertise
  • Pat:
  • Ability to work in ambiguous situations, take a risk, take initiative; 30 years ago, libraries were run top-down
  • Business communication skills - we like academia, and we need to focus our communication on what people need to know, not what we want to show them
  • Pete:
  • Creativity - thinking energy - I have 9 pages of brainstorming from staff about better serving campus
  • Responsivity - reference "house calls"
  • Connectivity - knowing people by name, who's doing what
[Image: http://www.mywcpa.org/colleges_universities.php]
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