Monday, July 13, 2009

Quiet Summer? Not Likely.

Some people think that Library Services shuts down for the Summer, but little do they realize that it is one of the busier times of the year for staff. Over the Summer time, we are actively engaged in preparing for the upcoming Fall and Winter semesters. We are preparing for new technologies and upgrading existing ones. Some of the projects that we have on the go include:
  • ENCORE – This new search tool will allow patrons to search the online catalogue for books and audiovisual materials as well as our most popular databases for periodical articles. The Encore interface also allows registered patrons to tag, rate, and comment on materials found in the library. A patron can build a custom collection of materials using the tagging system.
  • INTERLIBRARY LOAN SERVICES’ POST-TO-WEB – This is a great new service that we want to roll out for our patrons that take advantage of our Interlibrary Loan Services. Our testing has proven to be popular and successful with our test clients. What is it though? In the past you would have to come into the library to pickup periodical articles that you ordered, but now you can get the articles delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. Once you receive the article, you can print or save the article. The services is easier and faster for you, and good for the environment since it is now paper free. You will still have to come into the library to collect any audiovisual, book, or alternative mediums.
  • OFFICE RENOVATIONS – With new staff and changing demands for space, the Vera Bracken Library will undergo some minor renovations. Though most patrons will not see them, a new office is being built and the audiovisual storage area is being expanded. Unprocessed materials (books and audiovisuals that need to be paid for, catalogued, and prepped for circulation) will now be stored in the library’s Work Room. It might look like we are building a staff lounge with our own private book collection, but our Work Room does serve a utilitarian purpose.
  • WEB SITE REDESIGN – As part of the overall college Web site redesign, the library is examining its homepage and trying to determine how we can best maximize the access to our key online services – resource location and in-person/online assistance. Though we love our current site, we will had to change sometime to integrate new search and assistance tools that will make things easier in the long run.
  • PRINTING ENHANCED FOR STUDENTS – We will be getting a new student printer with more features such as faster/greater printing and paper capacity, photocopying, and scanning options. Our previous printer printed 600,000+ pages in less than two years – more than every other printer in the college put together! This seriously pushed the machine to its limits. The new machine promises to be bigger and faster, so hopefully no more stalls in the printing queue caused by large file sizes.
  • NEW TECHNOLOGIES – We are working towards expanding our multimedia services available to students with the acquisition of a more multimedia friendly computer – quite possibly a Mac. Additionally, we are exploring the addition of more laptops to our current pool of available machines – potentially being able to lend them to students for use on campus. Finally, we continue to explore and can hopefully acquire some assistive technologies to enhance services for those individuals that face auditory and visual related issues, and learning related issues. We continue to consult and work with groups such as the Deaf and Blind Support Specialist (DBSS) on campus to enhance these services.
  • APA & MLA HANDOUTS – This year both academic citation methods underwent an overhaul. We are rapidly working to update our handouts and presentations for the Fall semester. It does take a considerable amount of time to distill the essential information from the new volumes, edit, and enhance our existing handouts because of the rigid demands and precision that is required of academic writing.
So, yes, we are very busy preparing for the upcoming semesters. All this effort is made to provide our patronage with the best possible resources and services available. We take a great deal of pride in our achievement and efforts and we hope it shows. Cheers!

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