February 17, 2016
A new working group has been created to assist with assessment of our library learning spaces. Thank you! to David Burns for agreeing to lead this group.
As the group creates recommendations, completes assessments, etc., this information will be made available to library personnel. I very much appreciate library leadership and the formation of this integrated Central Libraries and Electronic Library working group. Beth Farwell
Learning Spaces Working Group
The Teaching and Learning Spaces Working Group (TLSWG) is charged with assessing current learning spaces and creating a vision for future library learning spaces aligned with the libraries’ mission. The TLSWG will prepare regular reports with recommendations to the Central Libraries/Electronic Library Leadership Group.
Initial projects include assessment of current formal learning spaces (issues currently include lack of appropriate classroom instruction spaces, and balancing library use vs. semester-long use by other academic departments).
David Burns (leader, liaison to Leadership Group)
*others will be brought in as appropriate depending on the project focus
June 20, 2015
Resource mentioned in departmental meetings last week
Last week I mentioned a map of the research life cycle produced by the University of Tennessee Libraries (based on early work from the University of Central Florida). We plan to do a similar mapping exercise as one of our strategic goals for the year. One version of the U TN map is here. One version from UCF is available here.
June 12, 2015
Dr. Pepper Hour and Campus Connections, Summer 2015, Moody Memorial Library
This week we started to welcome the Fall 2015 class to campus, with Dr. Pepper Hour and Campus Connections in Moody Library’s Allbritton Foyer and Goodpasture Concourse. Incoming students and their families took a break from the heat and learned about life on the Baylor campus. The mini staplers at the Libraries’ table were a big hit!
Carol and Sinai work the crowd, Dr. Pepper Hour and Campus Connections, Summer 2015, Moody Memorial Library
I’d like to say a big “Thank you!” to all of the volunteers who have offered to work at our table this month! This event helps incoming students see the Baylor Libraries as a welcoming place. I even had a report from a faculty member I know (understatement) that one of her incoming freshman was so excited about the event that she asked where she could sign up to become a student employee!
A recent Master’s graduate student sent a very nice note to the Libraries. She said, in part, “I just wanted to thank you all for making this library such a warm, inviting, and studious place to come. I never dreaded coming here, even though I was not in the mood to study. I loved the different places that are offered here to study, with the variety of settings, noise, and privacy.” The writer concluded her remarks by stating: “I wanted to finally express my gratitude to the very kind librarians who have helped me over the course of the past 2 years.”
The note also included compliments for the brown leather chairs in the Moody-Jones corridor. In fact, a number of people have had positive things to say about the chairs. They were moved there temporarily to make room for orientation in the foyer. However, the chairs have been so popular that we are looking into possibly keeping some their permanently.
Strategic planning meetings
We’ve had some productive meetings with each department in the Central Libraries this week. We discussed the draft list of FY 2016 action items, and the Libraries overall strategic planning process. Thank you to all who were able to attend and who participated in the discussion.
As promised, here is a link to last year’s institutional effectiveness report.
Harry Ransom Center trip #2
On Monday, a second group of library faculty and staff traveled to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. We were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Center in the morning, and a docent-led tour of the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland exhibit in the afternoon. We are grateful to the good folks at the Ransom Center for providing a wonderful, educational visit. “Thanks” to Bruce, Christina, Stephen, Carl, and Chason for driving on these excursions!
June 5, 2015
In an effort to provide better communication of things happening in the Central Libraries, I’ve decided to post weekly updates. They probably won’t all be as long as this one — it’s been a busy week! We will see how this works, and I would welcome any feedback.
- Of course, the first thing that comes to mind this week is the loss of our colleague, Dennis. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and co-workers during this difficult time. Many colleagues attended a wonderful celebration of Dennis’ life this morning.
- The Allbritton Foyer and Good Pasture Concourse have been transformed for Summer Orientation 2015. Once again we will welcome incoming students and their families for Dr Pepper Hour and nearly 40 Campus Connections resource tables. The Libraries will have two tables – one for University Libraries, and one for searching the Libraries’ digital collections. Orientation begins Monday, 8 June.
A new feature of Orientation this year will be information on the new “First in Line” program for first-generation college students. Meetings for FIL families will take place immediately after Campus Connections in the Garden Level lobby.
- Happy New (Fiscal) Year! Monday marked the start of FY 2016. With the start of the new fiscal year comes a new budget. I’m pleased to report that the library materials budget received a 5% increase. This annual increase is key to maintaining our ability as a research library to support the mission of the university, as the rate of inflation for scholarly resources far outpaces the rate of general inflation. We are grateful that the University administration understands and sustains the collections budget in this way.
- The Central Libraries leadership met on Tuesday for a mini-retreat to discuss our strategic plan for FY 2016. After making some tweaks to an early spring draft, we have scheduled meetings with each department over the next week or so to talk about the plan. During our retreat we also started talking about the draft report we received from our consultant, Rick Anderson. We look forward to sharing the report with the Delivery Services team once we complete our review, have our wrap-up conversation with Rick, and receive the final report. We plan to meet with the Delivery Services team to talk about the final report later in the summer (mid- to late-July).
- Late Night Quiet Pilot for Fall 2015
The last Lariat of the semester had an editorial which was critical of the amount of 24-hour study space on campus. It mentioned the Central Libraries’ spaces, but forgot Prichard. We did submit a response, which the Lariat put online, but it was not printed as there were no more print issues for the year.
The Libraries want to be responsive to student feedback. There were two primary complaints in the editorial. The first was the lack of quiet, more private study spaces after 1 a.m. The other had to do with availability of software programs that are only available in departmental labs, which typically close early. David Burns is looking into the latter issue. The Central Libraries are working to address the former.
One thing I’ve done is review the exit counts between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. This provides a good approximation of the number of people in the building at 1 a.m. Most nights, we have plenty of seating to accommodate the number of people here at 1 a.m. I also noticed that there is quite an exodus between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., so I also looked at the 3 a.m. – 7 a.m. exit totals, an approximation for the number of people in the building at 3 a.m.
Occupancy Estimates (Spring 2015)
|1 a.m. avg.
|1 a.m. max.*
|3 a.m. avg.
|3 a.m. max.
* Excluding those nights when the entire library was open until 3 a.m.
What these numbers show is that we always have plenty of seating at 3 a.m. with our current arrangements. We usually have plenty of seating at 1 a.m. An unresolved question, however, is whether we have sufficient quiet study space, particularly from 1 a.m. – 3 a.m. Within our current 24-hour space, the only space that is quiet is Prichard, which is silent study space. At 1 a.m. we move students from quiet spaces on the second floor of Jones and the second and third floor of Moody into the 24-hour space, with Prichard as the only quiet option, and one that is more restrictive than the spaces they are moving from.
We don’t need more 24-hour space. We might need a little additional space from 1 a.m. – 3 a.m.
Therefore, this fall we will provide a late night quiet area as a pilot service. The side of Crouch Library with the service point provides over 100 seats, with an effective quiet study capacity of about 50 – 60. We will use this area as our “quiet” study area from 1 a.m. – 3 a.m. We plan to utilize social media and signage to alert students to the availability of this new area, and would use signage to inform students of the change in how the space is used after 1 a.m. We would staff area this with student workers from Sarah Freeland’s team. We wouldn’t provide services at the desk, but would provide continuous monitoring, with additional periodic sweeps by the security personnel. The cost for this change would be minimal, as we will only need to make minor physical modifications to the space and would only need to add about 10 hours/week of student staffing. This pilot would allow us to assess demand for the space and see whether we would need more or less space in the future.
I would like to express thanks to Sha Towers, Sarah Freeland, Clayton Crenshaw, and Jamie Duerksen for their collaboration on this project.
October 1, 2014
I wanted to share two important strategy documents with all Central Libraries personnel. First is a recently-completed assessment document. This document outlines our key desired outcomes for last fiscal year (June 2013-May 2014), assessments we have completed related to those outcomes, and steps we have taken to improve.
The second document is snapshot view of our key goals for this fiscal year, connecting those goals to both Pro Futuris and to the University Libraries objectives. We have made significant progress on some of these goals (the Incubator, for example), other items are in process (such as implementation of GIST), and others still need to get rolling (like the discussion across the University Libraries about researcher IDs).
Please take a look at these two documents, and let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.
March 19, 2014
Last April we met to talk about the future of the Central Libraries. We also talked about the context of our work in higher education and at Baylor. I announced the leadership for the new organization and the charge for each new department. Today I would like to provide an update on the progress we have made so far, provide a quick overview of some physical changes happening in the Central Libraries right now, and then provide a few remarks on the direction we are headed as an organization.
Progress on strategic goals
- Training of cataloging staff and implementation of RDA
- Significant contributions to Summon/OneSearch implementation
- Finalization of internal organizational structure
- Received ITS security review approval of Get It System Toolkit (GIST) ILLiad add-on
- Hired Kara Scott Long to fill the Metadata and Catalog Librarian position
- Integrated service point staffing and improved training
- Development of the first annual Library Symposium
- Very well received graduate student reception, with “speed geeking” as a highlight
- Liaison librarian implementation of numerous new avenues of outreach to assigned academic units
Scholarly Resources and Facilities
- Development of new web pages highlighting the Central Libraries’ special collections
- New procedures developed for use of the the special collections
- Broadened staff responsibilities creating backup for key functions
- Ran the Ithaka S+R Local Faculty Survey with one of the highest response rates among participating institutions, and have begun to analyze the data
- Created baseline data for time required for firm orders
Facility Changes Under Way
Last week work began to replace the “cage” door near the Dottie Riley Conference Room. The purpose is two-fold – to remove an aesthetic eyesore, and to improve security for staff work areas. The new workspaces in the former computer lab provided temporary quarters for some ITS personnel this past summer, and now are home to numerous Electronic Library personnel. As these spaces do not lock and the cage door is in our 24-hour study area, the cage door provides inadequate security. The new door will have a card reader that automatically locks the door at the end of the day. It will also match the window and door frames of the Riley suite, thus improving the appearance of the area. The cost of this project is coming from the dean’s excellence fund.
The recently formed “Delivery Services” area, also on the Garden Level of Moody, will get a face lift soon. The goals of this project are to improve the flexibility of the space by removing the fixed “pony walls” (low-height dividers that set artificial and immovable boundaries) and to refresh the appearance of the space. This project will allow for better space utilization, and will facilitate bringing the entire Delivery Services team together in one space. We are moving toward a very tight integration of the team as we implement the GIST ILLiad add-on as soon as this summer. As to the timing and speed of this project, I need only point out that we had a one-time opportunity to take care of this work. We found out in mid-December that we received a reimbursement from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for ILL lending to public libraries. We have received this check in the past, but in light of the severe cuts to the TSLAC budget did not expect to receive any money this year. In most past years this check was just turned in to the University’s general account. Last year we asked for permission to use the reimbursement to replace the Library’s aging van and to add some much needed shelving. This year we asked for authorization to use the funds for the refresh of the Delivery Services space. The estimate for the work was reasonable, but exceeded the funds received from the state. The balance of the project is coming from cost savings and deferred purchases from our FY2014 budget and from Moody’s FY2014 repair and maintenance budget. This money goes away at the end of May, hence the need to move quickly on this project. Some savings from how we are managing the project will likely mean we get some funds back. If we can complete the project quickly enough we will be able to use the returned funds for needed equipment. I can’t state clearly enough that this was a unique opportunity to spend money on staff (non-public) space.
We are also moving the three staff members in Liaison Services currently housed in Moody 104 (the big suite shared with ILL) to the Liaison Services suite on the first floor of Jones. This will bring together the entire Liaison Services staff. At the same time, Linda Mangum is moving to Delivery Services, and the government documents processing work will be absorbed into the Delivery Services workflow, where it is a more natural fit in terms of the type of work performed.
The benefit of the Delivery Services renovation and the moves is that Moody 104 will be vacant by this summer. We plan to use this space as a “sandbox” to try out some ideas for a “research commons” or “digital scholarship center.” We are engaging in conversations with a variety of potential stakeholders now. We expect to make only minor changes to the space, focusing more on the services offered. There will be more information on this initiative as it develops. If you have ideas, please share them with me (Jeff) or your director.
Finally, we are expecting to install a new “people counter” system for the Central Libraries very soon. The current system is providing very inconsistent (= worthless) data. The new system will be much more accurate, and will add the ability to count Moody foyer visitors.
Where We Are Headed
Finally, I want to talk about overall direction and changes you can expect as we move forward.
We are here to help Baylor students get an excellent education, and to support the teaching and research of our faculty. I know you all care about this work, and are committed to making Baylor a great place to learn and a great place to work. Baylor is striving to keep a Baylor education affordable. To that end, the University intends to rely less and less on tuition increases, and is expecting “judicious stewardship” from all of us. As I said last year, we must expect to work within our current budget. New positions are going to be very difficult to come by. Yet if we want to remain relevant, we must move into new ventures. If we are to be the research library for this research university, we must invest in services of the future. That means we cannot be unreservedly tied to services of the past. We have successfully re-purposed many positions on the public services (now Liaison Services) side of the house over the past decade. As I stated last year, the time has come for us to streamline and find efficiencies on the Delivery Services side. GIST will be one tool to help us, but what we really need is for everyone to ask “Is there a better way to do this? Do we still need to do this at all?” We don’t need small changes – we need big, bold changes. I believe these ideas can come from all of us. Please, share your ideas with your unit leaders, with your directors, with me. Together we can find ways to make all of our work more meaningful, and to re-purpose resources, including our personnel budget, to create the library of the future.
September 19, 2013
I am very pleased to announce the following appointments and changes made in Delivery Services.
Cameron Talley has assumed the newly created Library Fulfillment Systems Specialist position. In this role he will serve as our front-line tech support for modules, equipment, and systems used by the department. He will be heavily involved, in collaboration with David Taylor’s team, in the upkeep and maintenance of the ILLiad system, BSCAN ILL software and associated scanning equipment, and the BearCat Circ module. He will also be involved in future development projects related to the GWLA BorrowItNow pilot and our GIST implementation. By taking on this role, Cameron also ensures that someone other than me is familiar with the systems we use and can trouble-shoot problems or work with vendor tech support teams to resolve operational issues.
You may recall during our spring 2013 meeting that a major organizational change made in the Central Libraries was the integration of the Acquisitions and Interlibrary Loan units into a single team. We did this not only to streamline our “get it” workflows but also to position us to improve our selection and decision-making processes when patrons identify resources they need that are not already owned by Baylor. At the time, no unit leader was designated, but we have now resolved that question.
Janet Jasek is the new Acquire & Deliver Unit Leader. She will manage and oversee our efforts to acquire materials for Baylor patrons through purchase and/or interlibrary loan and oversee the library document delivery program. All staff in the former Acquisitions and ILL units are now in the A&D Unit. Janet will serve as the primary contact for questions related to the status of orders and materials requests placed through OsoFast, suggest a purchase, GOBI, and approval plan streams.
Andrea Turner will be responsible for all financial and accounting operations in the department as our Library Materials Budget Officer. She supervises Alice Linkous, who continues in her role as our departmental bookkeeper. Andrea will be the key contact for questions related to vendor and fund codes and budget allocations. She will work very closely with Ramona and Beth to ensure that the collection development business rules they define are accurately reflected and implemented by Janet’s team.
May 21, 2013
As I wrote Friday, we recently submitted a list of some of our major accomplishments for FY2013. We’ve also just completed a similar report of goals for FY2014. Library Cabinet members had an assignment to submit 3 – 5 top goals for their respective libraries. These goals for the Central Libraries were developed collaboratively between Beth, Ken, Sha, and me. I’ve attached a copy of what I submitted, Central Libraries FY2014 Pro Futuris Top 5 goals, which lists the goals and how they line up with both Pro Futuris and the University Libraries strategic plan.
May 17, 2013
Recently Dean Orr asked members of the Library Cabinet to submit a list of 3 – 5 big accomplishments supporting Pro Futuris goals from the fiscal year that ends this month. We’ve accomplished a tremendous amount in the Central Libraries this year, so whittling it down to just five items was very difficult. I worked with our CL leadership to arrive at the list.
- Completed a full roll-out of the new Research Paper Planner
- Created Liaison Services Department
- Developed partnerships to bring students into the Central Libraries.
- Completed and opened Lev’s Gathering Place as study space and “storefront” for Black Gospel Digital Restoration Project
- Developed programming around the “Muslim Journeys” bookshelf grant received by the Baylor Libraries
You can see how these accomplishments line up with Pro Futuris and our University Libraries’ strategic plan in the full spreadsheet view of accomplishments: Central Libraries FY2013 Pro Futuris Top 5.
May 15, 2013
We want to bring everyone up to date on work happening on our reorganization. We really appreciate the spirit of cooperation and the enthusiasm we’ve seen!
1) Beth, Ken, Sha, and I have been meeting frequently to coordinate and work through details of the reorganization. We have also been working to identify top priorities for each group as part of the University Libraries’ strategic planning process. I’ll have more on that in another blog post.
2) One of the top priorities right now is the hand-off of responsibilities for Moody service points to the Liaison Services department. We are in the process of determining the division of responsibilities. Training is underway. We will make a firm switch on responsibilities on 4 June (start of Summer I). Of course, after that date those who have been responsible in the old Access Services unit will still be on-call to answer questions that come up. The difference will be that those questions will be routed through the Service Point Coordinators (John Robinson and Sarah Freeland).
3) Changes in reporting lines for those student workers who are moving to a new department will take effect on 19 May. Delores has also been working with Human Resources and Budget to establish a process for updating reporting lines and related administrative details for faculty and staff. The normal process (a BearQuest entry for each change) would have been extremely cumbersome. Fortunately they have arrived at a solution, and we plan to have these changes go into effect on 26 May.
What does this mean? On a practical level it means that time card approvers (and their proxies) will change, effective with the the pay periods starting on these dates. Time off requests will need to go to new supervisors. Responsibility for managing ScheduleSource schedules (where applicable) will move to new supervisors. I’m sure there are other changes that will need to happen. Please bring any questions to your director.
4) I know there have been a number of questions (and much speculation) about office moves. We have not decided on any specific moves. Undoubtedly there will be some, but, because of the long moratorium on moves this summer, I don’t expect any moves to take place before the fall semester.
If you have any questions or concerns about the changes, please talk to your department’s director. We all need to communicate frequently and patiently with each other during this transition. I know we all will be gracious and kind to one another as we make changes in routines and find the holes in our transition plans.
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