Monday, January 25, 2010

Discussion group 7: campus roles

Campus Roles - Where does the library fit in on campus?
Recorded by Susan Mikkelsen and Ann Frenkel

What is your first order of business?

Library space, services and collections are integral part of every UC Campus. As librarians we understand that we are critical to the academic success of students and faculty. But we don’t always do a very good job at self-promotion or educating our campus communities about the value of our services. We need to find new ways to communicate to others on our campuses about what librarians have to offer, and make library spaces and services an indispensible component of research and study on every UC campus.

DISCUSSION POINTS (Note: There was not consensus in the group on all points)

Library Spaces
As collections move to the online environment, library spaces must be repurposed to meet the needs of the learning community. The creation of the Information Commons is a growing trend in academic libraries that has developed in response to the need for a more user-centered approach to resources and services. The Information Commons supports and enhances student learning and research by providing state of the art technology and resources in an academic environment that promotes collaborative work. The new Teaching & Learning Center at UCSF is a tailored version of an Information Commons that includes a simulation and clinical skills education center, technology-enhanced active-learning classrooms and computing labs. Other possible models for future Information Commons include creating spaces for students to play with and receive instruction with technology (video-editing, presentation software, poster production, etc).

Information literacy skills need to be integrated into the academic curriculum. A for-credit library course would be desirable in some ways, but this is unlikely to be accepted by the University as librarians do not have faculty status. A better approach may be to work with academic departments to get information literacy objectives written into course outcomes. Although librarians across campuses have been fairly successful in collaborating with individual faculty members, faculty and librarian turnover make these partnerships tenuous. Programmatic collaboration provides a more stable platform for continuity in library instruction. Librarians need to advocate with department chairs and other key stakeholders to get information literacy standards integrated into course curriculums.

Academic Senate
If librarians want a voice in the in the academic senate, they will need to fight for faculty status.

Campus Consultants
Librarians need to be willing to act as research consultants for other units on campus. This means that we may have to say yes when asked to be involved in some projects that we previously would not have accepted. Ann Frenkel (AUL - UCR) gave two examples from her campus. (1)An academic committee at UCR asked for librarian assistance using ISI for impact factor/citation analysis. Their librarians wrote searches for citation information in response to this request. (2)The photography museum approached the library with a request to catalog images and place them in the library collection. Though this request was not feasible, Ann saw this as a great opportunity. Opportunities like these exist on all campuses, particularly with the Office of Research (impact factor questions can lead to opportunities to inform about other research metrics) and the Office of Development (research on potential donors).

Talking Points for the Library
Librarians need to be equipped with talking points about the library to effectively communicate with faculty and other key stakeholders about libraries services/resources/initiatives.

Publish outside the Library Literature
Publishing outside the library literature and attending conferences in other disciplines has the potential to make library services more visible to campus stakeholders. For example, Josephine Tan UCSF librarian recently published an article in an academic medical journal with several UCSF faculty members.* We are aware that some social science librarians have also published outside of the library literature, but these efforts need to be encouraged and expanded.

Communicate the Message “Use It or Lose It”
We need to send the message that library resources are costly to acquire and maintain. None of the resources that students and faculty use on a routine basis would be available without librarian expertise. Instruction librarians should deliver this message during instruction sessions to help raise awareness of all the behind-the-scenes work done by librarians. As an additional awareness raising event, the group proposed a “day without resources” when access to library resources would be completely turned off. Along with restricted access, users would receive a message about the cost of the resources.

*Chen HC, Tan JPG, O’Sullivan P, Boscardin C, Li A, Muller J. Impact of an Information Retrieval and Management Curriculum on Medical Student Citations. Acad Med 2009 84 (10 Supp): S38-S41.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was at an interviews once, where I asked the hiring committee what their sense of an "information commons" was. The response was, "We're not sure. What's yours?"

This is one of those rich terms that has been bruited around but is a little vague and more often than not, unrealized. Does anyone have an Information Commons out there?

At Davis we're working on one that we are calling Re:Search Start. It is a sign-up service where students sign up for consultations for their research papers up to a half hour at a time with the instruction staff. We're trying to find a location that will located this service in a group study area, equipped with computers that will evolve into an Information Commons.

So far, the limiting factor is location. The only place available is a room on the underground lower level that is away from the major library traffic. Individuals who find us like the service, but for now we are relying on word-of-mouth advertising.