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:
- By building a collection better suited to a research active faculty
- By adjusting its services to meet changing needs of both students and faculty
- By creating virtual collections and services that are accessible to faculty and students whether on the campus or not
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: http://www.unk.edu/acad/library/ref/refform.htm.
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 (http://rosi.unk.edu) 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.
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.
- Circulating Books: the collection has over 208,000 volumes. It is the most heavily used collection; consequently it was inventoried in 2001 and is being pruned as of 2002. Circulating books support the programmatic strengths of the university, undergraduate writing and student needs for current and general reading material.
- Reference: the collection has approximately 15,000 items and is maintained by members of the Reference Department. It supports the Library's information provision function.
- Curriculum/NonBook, Juvenile Books: The Curriculum collection supports programs in undergraduate and graduate teacher education. It includes the Regional Instructional Materials Review Center, which, since 1994 offers UNK students and faculty and P-12 educators in the UNK service area the opportunity to review and evaluate the latest instructional resources available.
- UNK Special Collection: The Special Collection of 2,600 items is fully catalogued and is available on open stacks for use in the building. It includes works by Nebraska authors, and materials about Nebraska and Western American history
- UNK Archive: The Archive consists of about 2,000 catalogued items and a further 120,000 uncatalogued items. It is a restricted access collection specializing in the historical and scholarly record of UNK.
- Government Documents: The Library was designated a federal depository in 1962 and a Nebraska depository in 1978. The federal documents collection on June 30, 2002 contained 266,500 paper and microfiche items and 198,400 microfiche pieces. The Nebraska documents collection contained 15,400 items.
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.
- NonBook: this collection includes various media format with content that supports the curriculum. VHS videocassettes, audiotapes, DVDs, CD-ROMs, art prints and slide sets are among the formats provided. The collection includes more than 76,000 items.
- Periodicals: the Library currently subscribes to 1,552 print periodicals (not including 71 gift titles). The collection is a mixture of scholarly, professional/trade, and general information publications, with an emphasis on scholarly titles. Back issues of 1,590 titles are maintained. In 1995 the collection was cut by $60,000 due to price increases and another $140,000 cut is necessary for fiscal year 2003-2004.
- Digital Library: the losses to the periodical collection are offset by ROSI, the digital library. In ROSI the OPAC links to 5,500 electronic resources. There are 61 periodical indexing/abstracting databases with approximately 11,000 titles. There are online reference and government document collections. ROSI also includes a few CD-ROM resources available from a dedicated workstation at the Reference Desk.
- Staff: The FY 2003 library complement of nine professional librarians, the director, sixteen support staff, one managerial professional and 6.49 FTE student hours has been generally consistent over time and is adequate to workload. In FY 2002-2003 there was a reduction of one support staff position because of budget cuts. All staff members are covered by university personnel policies, and all librarians have faculty status (which was granted with the entry into the University system).
- Funding - Operations and Materials: The Library receives a general fund allocation for operations and materials. The Director of the Library prepares and implements an allocation plan with the advice of library faculty and the Faculty Senate Library Committee. The library materials budget has been supplemented by direct support from student fees. In 1996 the students, of their own volition, voted a 25 cent student credit hour library support fee. An increase to $1.00 was approved in 1999 and the fee was increased to $2.00/credit hour in 2003. These funds are used exclusively for collection improvement, and are spent almost entirely on digital resources.
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).
- Instruction Assessment: The library needs to work with the rest of the university in determining how best to assess the information literacy of students.
- Reference Support: The support needed for stronger virtual reference service and collections is not always available. More technology support for reference should be implemented as soon as funding permits.
- Information Technology Support: To improve its information infrastructure, in the near-term the Library needs to: 1) hire a full-time computer technician, so that it is not as dependent on Information Technology Services for installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting; and 2) provide training to staff on software packages, such as Blackboard, so that they can better serve students.
- Library Information System: The library needs to maintain funding of the system through the student technology money.
- Curriculum/Nonbook Collections: The library needs to meet other major recommendations of the Guidelines for Curriculum Materials Centers, especially those for collection development and publicity. It also needs to incorporate resources and services of the Curriculum area into programs in the College of Education.
- Regional Instructional Materials Review Center: Ryan library needs to seek ways to publicize RIMRC to educators and appropriate UNK students and faculty. It should seek funding sources for resources that cannot be acquired free-of-charge from publishers.
- Archive and Special Collection: The Library must preserve The Antelope (student newspaper) by microfilming or digitizing. The alcove housing the Special Collection should be enclosed, providing additional security for this often irreplaceable material. It should establish policies for donations, bibliographic control, and access/usage. While working to implement UNK's existing Records Management Program, the Library's Disaster Planning librarian should work to incorporate Archive and Special Collections in the Plan.
- Funding - Operations and Materials: All University of Nebraska Libraries are facing similar funding issues. Until the State and the University can begin to address the broader higher education funding issues, the libraries must continue to cooperate in collection sharing efforts and the library must continue to promote and support new forms of information delivery.
- Building: 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.
- Cooperation and Participation: The library needs to explore creating a core electronic collection (periodicals and monographs) for the University system.
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