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Compass Newsletter Masthead
   Volume IV, Issue 1
September 2007   

Fourth LVJ Summer Institute 2007

The LVJ Summer Institute 2007, a forum for librarians from LaSalle University, Villanova University and St. Joseph’s University, met on July 25 in Falvey Memorial Library. The day featured the following programs:

“User-Focused Services: Are We Really Listening?”
Keynote speaker, Cathy Wilt, the Executive Director of PALINET presented the results of OCLC’s The 2003 Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition. The study revealed three paramount characteristics of young library users: self-sufficiency, satisfaction and seamlessness. In a word, they want interactivity. According to a 2005 OCLC report, Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources, students regularly use libraries for educational purposes, but they also believe that libraries should serve a number of roles beyond that of housing books.

Other parts of this survey dealt with students’ awareness of information resources, where they started searches, how they evaluated information sources (with search engines receiving a higher user satisfaction ranking than librarians), their knowledge of available sources and their positive and negative associations of libraries. The surveys showed that college students value libraries more than any other age group.

One-Stop Shopping @ Your Library
The second session, a panel discussion, was presented by members of Falvey Memorial Library’s Access and User Services, Information Specialists and Research Assistance teams who discussed the library's first floor transformations from 2004 through 2007. Panel members were Donna Chadderton, Luisa Cywinski, Mimi DiLenge, Teresa Edge, Jackie Mirabile and Barbara Quintiliano. The first phase was the conversion from traditional to tiered reference service, beginning in 2004.

The second phase, consolidation of user services at a single service desk, began in fall 2006, reflecting the newly organized Access and User Assistance team. Teresa described the evolution of the Information Desk, staffed by library information specialists (LIS). She noted that while LIS staff members enjoyed their new role, the physical layout and matrix organization presented challenges as well as successes.

Luisa discussed the Service Environment Study carried out under the direction of the University’s Office of Planning, Training and Institutional Research (OPTIR). Jackie spoke about the research assistance librarians’ reactions to their new service location near the Information Desk, noting that they “felt displaced” at first. Inadequate signage and insufficient working space added to the inconvenience. However, the relocation also led to new service opportunities, as students began scheduling more consultations with research librarians. Donna Chadderton and Mimi DiLenge told of their experiences training for the LIS position.

Evelyn Minnick, John Baky and Cathy Wilt

“When Librarians Get Spacey”  or “Library as Place.” 
Evelyn Minnick, director of Drexel Library, St. Joseph’s University; John Baky, director, Connelly Library, La Salle University; and Darren Poley, Outreach librarian, Falvey Memorial Library, led the panel discussion. Evelyn reported that their university had done two feasibility studies for library expansion before surveying students to learn of their needs. In the survey, students described their preferences for library study space and noise level and were also queried about their preferred study and work styles. The survey also asked what the library could do to help students be more productive or study longer. As a result of the survey, the library is planning to become the Library Learning Commons, with a single service desk, gallery, Crossroads Café, roving technical assistants, an extended hours area, and flexible furniture configurations.

John Baky said that their library was completed in 1988 with an open floor plan. They are now planning for a café. He raised the question of discrepancies between what users say in library surveys and how they really use the library.

Darren spoke about “Space and Outreach.” Beginning with definitions of the terms space and outreach by both Capt. James T. Kirk and the Oxford English Dictionary, he explained that libraries must “reach out with [their] space” as a type of public relations, “reach out within [their] space” to meet community needs and “reach out in [their] space,” acknowledging that a library’s staff is its “greatest intellectual asset.”

Library 2.0: A Research Discovery Portal
Andrew Nagy and Chris Barr, members of Falvey’s Technology and Development team, indicated that their goal is to create “a complete and all inclusive library web site to offer the one-stop shop that users want,” one that will enable users to search the catalog, article databases and the digital library more easily and through a single interface. This ease of searching will “create brand awareness,” something that is of increasing importance to libraries today.

After discussing open source and commercial options for building a template for the public catalog, Andrew and Chris selected Apache Solr and gave it the VuFind brand. Users searching books and other materials in VuFind will have access to biographical information on authors from Wikipedia and reviews from Amazon. They will also be able to add “folksonomy” tags, personal comments and interactive features.

The Summer Institutes were established to provide professional development programs for librarians from the three member universities.

Contributed by Alice Bampton, Barbara Quintiliano and Judy Olsen; photograph by Natalie Tomasco