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UNK Welcomes NCA

North Central Self Study
Chapter 5: Criterion Three

The institution is accomplishing its education and other purposes.

Calvin T. Ryan Library

The library contributes to the institution's effectiveness through its services and collections, both traditional and virtual, and by means of campus and inter-institutional cooperation. Since the last accreditation, the University has both completed the transition from a state college to a university and has absorbed and incorporated significant technological change. The Library has responded to these changes:


Formal library instruction for new freshmen has been in place throughout this reporting period. Such instruction includes an introduction to research and study using the Library's web-based catalog and indexes as well as an orientation to the physical facility. As of 2001-2002 the Library has implemented modified freshman instruction consistent with the First Year Program. Liaison librarians conduct advanced instruction in their subject areas beyond the freshman level; these sessions are generally hands-on and incorporate discipline-specific resource location and evaluation skills. Librarians also offer orientations to high school students; even at this level, young people are taught to use the Library's website.

Other Library Services

Reference service continues to be offered in-house to anyone seeking help. However, its reach has extended to support library users off-site. In addition to a toll-free telephone number for UNK students enrolled in Distance Education courses, the Library offers e-mail contact with all librarians. This is especially helpful to faculty and students with discipline-based questions since they can directly contact the librarian with responsibility for their discipline. Library users can also use a virtual "Ask a Librarian" form, available at:

Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery (ILL/DD) provides access to materials not owned by the Ryan library. Increasing use of electronic communication through the new ILLIAD software permits faster service for users.

Information Technology Support

Ryan Library is integral to the information technology infrastructure the University provides to its campus community. The Library provides 46 networked pc's in the two computer laboratories on-site. In addition, it gives access to its digital collections and to the World Wide Web through 33 additional workstations, all networked to printers, throughout the building. The Library Information System (LIS), named ROSI ( has been in place since 1992 and uses Innovative Interfaces Inc. software. It has automated Library processes and is kept current. LIS also provides the web-based online public access catalog which includes features such as linking to internet resources and full-text journal databases and linking to UNK's in-state sister libraries without re-keying searches. LIS also provides access to electronic databases and remote access to restricted databases.

Access Services/Circulation

This department keeps the Library open 92.5 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters, and 82 hours per week during the summer months. Since automation has made it easier to monitor the library patron database for currency and completeness, the library is able to track overdue material and consequently improve recovery. Increasing online access has also reduced materials circulation, the use of hard copy in the building, visits to the building, and the use of reserved materials checkout.



The Library has 6 monographic collections: Circulating Books, Reference, Curriculum/NonBook including Juvenile Books, the Special Collection, the Archive, and Government Documents. The first five collections mentioned include more than 245,780 volumes representing more than 202,550 titles. Data for Government Documents are provided below. Nearly all are classified and shelved by subject according to the Library of Congress classification system. These collections support not only instruction and the programmatic strengths of the university, but also student writing, broader student needs for current and general interest material, and recreational reading.

Other Collections

The Library also has collections that are not primarily monographic in nature. These are the NonBook portion of the Curriculum/NonBook Collection, the Periodicals collection, and the Digital Library.

Administrative Issues


Funding has not been adequate to provide the collection needed to both support the range and level of programs offered by UNK and address the journal price increases of 8-11% per year compounded. The journals collection has been reduced twice: in 1996 expenses were trimmed by 19% and in 2003 by more than 25%. Journal subscriptions have decreased from 1,850 titles in 1993 to 1,552 in 2003. External reviewers for academic program reviews frequently comment on collection inadequacy, as did the faculty in the library survey. The use of the student fee to build a virtual journal collection is the only mitigating factor in this.


All University of Nebraska Libraries face the same issues. Until the State and the University address these problems, libraries must continue to cooperate through collection sharing. At the same time, libraries must pursue and promote new forms of information delivery.


All library collections and services are housed in the Calvin T. Ryan Library. The library portion of this structure now totals 84,000 A.S.F. The building is at capacity for shelving space and reader seats. A weeding project of the circulating books and the journals is a first step at attempting to address the shelving need. Since users have taken advantage of virtual resources, seating capacity appears adequate at this time.


In the current reporting period the Calvin T. Ryan Library has experienced significant change. It has experienced an expansion in both the virtual collections and services it offers the UNK community. The other core service that has grown is library instruction. The Library is able to reach most new freshmen, many area high schools, and as many discipline-specific requests as arise.

Library print collections have grown, but have not kept pace with material available or with needs expressed. Although the building is now at capacity and collection pruning is taking place in both the circulating books and journals collections, slow growth of the print collections has kept the development of a shelving space problem from becoming unmanageable. The library staff complement has decreased slightly due to the labor-saving impact of technological change. However, the Library needs more information technology expertise in its staff.

The Library building should be assessed for changing needs. A current needs statement should be developed for the expansion and retrofitting of the current building for consideration in the facilities portion of the campus strategic planning effort.


This is a summary of the recommendations presented throughout the Library Self-Study (available in the Resource Room).

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