This has been a busy and productive year for the library. Among the major activities for this year has been the physical handling of the entire book collection to remove the old check-out cards. This was necessitated by the inclusion of patron names and id numbers on the cards. The cards were removed and destroyed during a three-week period in May.
Additional activities include an upgrade to the Voyager system. This involved an extensive beta test with Endeavor, the vendor, and the Auburn University Library. Changes were made to the Voyager software based on bugs that we were able to find, and the new software has been successfully implemented.
During the fall of 2004, the library conducted focus groups with undergraduate and graduate students. The sessions were conducted by Southeast Research, Inc., and were designed to give the library additional feedback on services. Among the major recommendations received was that the library upgrade the seating area on floors 3-6, increase group study rooms, and work to improve the book collection in Education. In response, the Library has reupholstered the seating on floors 3-6, added more comfortable seating, and has initiated a weeding project to remove outdated materials from the collection.
A Planning Committee was established to develop a five year plan for the Library. Chaired by Lucy Farrow, the Committee has developed a draft and is in the final phases of clean-up. It is anticipated that the plan will be submitted to the University Library Committee this fall for review.
Public Services include the units of Reference, Government Documents, Interlibrary Loan, Access Services, Library Instruction and Archives and Special Collections.
The number of reference transactions recorded increased by 96% over the previous year. Some 26,755 transactions were recorded. These transactions ranged from answering reference questions to giving directional information.
In Interlibrary Loan, our borrowing from other libraries increased by 15%, while our lending to other libraries decreased by 13.7%. In spite of this decrease, AUM still remains a net lender of library materials. The staff in Interlibrary Loan has worked with the Automations staff to implement online access to borrowed articles. With the implementation of the Ariel 3.4 system, the library now receives requested articles electronically. These articles are stored on a server and the borrower is provided with a password to access the article. In short, we are now able to provide desktop access to requested articles for the faculty and staff. Difficulties in being able to communicate with students have limited the application of the technology so far, but we hope to make improvements.
Regarding overall circulation of library materials, there has been a slight decrease (3%) in the number of materials physically checked out. A potential reason for this may be seen, however, in the increase in the number of books available electronically. At present, some 50,000 titles are available electronically, either through EBSCO eBook Collection or through the history book project of the American Council of Learned Societies.
Faculty, staff and students have been active in using the universal borrowing (UB) service offered through Access Services. UB allows users to search the catalogs of the libraries at Auburn University, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Jacksonville State to locate and request items directly from those libraries. During the 2004-2005 year, AUM users requested 908 titles from the above libraries. Users at those libraries in turn requested 151 books from AUM.
One particularly important statistic reflecting our users is the increase we’ve had during the past year of users in grades K-12. Our use statistics show a 59% increase in users from these categories.
While usage is important, it is critical to recognize that the library now provides access and services 24/7. As a result, an increasing number of our users are those who do not physically come in to the library. During July, we implemented a new counter for the library’s web server. Data from this server indicates that during the month of July, some 4,106 users visited the library’s webpage during hours the library was not open. For the entire month, more than 17,000 users visited the library website.
The increased presence of the library’s holdings on the web has also affected service in areas such as Government Documents. The depository library system is currently in a state of flux, and more government documents are appearing in an electronic format, available as web sites. As a consequence, the physical usage of both the documents and the legal collection saw decreases in usage of 25% and 37% respectively.
The Archives and Special Collections unit of the Library has provided great service to the university in coordinating the records management program for university records. During 2004-2005, some 297 cubic feet of records were scheduled for destruction and disposed of. At an average of $5.25 per square foot for storage costs, the potential savings to the university was approximately $1,560.
The Archives and Special Collections unit also added a collection of materials from the “Summer Seminar for the Arts,” a literary event held in Montgomery from 1960 until 1983. Coordinated by Jack Mooney, the collection contains works of poetry, broadsides, and correspondence from poets such as Conrad Aiken, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Alan Ginsburg, and Richard Eberhart. A finding aid to the collection will be posted on the Special Collections web site when processing is complete.
Library instruction had a banner year, thanks to the energy of Barbara Hightower, Library Instruction Coordinator. The number of instruction sessions increased by 15% over 2003-204, and the number of students taught increased by 13%. Over 2,200 students received instruction in how to use the library and its databases.
Additionally, the librarians created 21 research guides keyed to specific course assignments in education, English, history, information systems, justice and public safety, psychology, sociology, and the masters in Liberal Arts program. The guides provide students with more direct assistance as they work on their assignments.
During the year, 6,217 titles were ordered, a decrease of 3.6% from last year. Gifts received were down 17% to 2,884 titles. Overall, some 7,303 new titles were added to the collection, up 9.5% from last year. The total library book collection is 334,956. The library’s serial collection consists of 2,245 journal subscriptions, plus 115 electronic databases.
Following a meeting with the Faculty Senate Library Committee last fall, the Library initiated a program whereby monies would be transferred from the Library’s book budget to the serials budget to cover a 3 year subscription to new serials titles, upon the request of the faculty departments. As a result, 25 journal subscriptions were added.
The department head, Colleen Valente, has been investigating costs for a clean-up of the authority files in the catalog, and a retrospective conversion project to add tables of content to the records of titles we hold. Depending upon pricing costs, a determination will be made for which of these options will be the most beneficial for the patron and most cost-effective for the library.
The library has added new resources that will support graduate and interdisciplinary level research for the faculty and students. Among the recent editions have been the Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker collections of 18 th century imprints (an electronic database of early American publications), SocIndexFullText (a database with full-text articles for Sociology), CQ Researcher, appropriate to Political Science and Public Administration, and SAGE Education database, with full-text for SAGE education journals.
The library is investigating the possibility of adding the US Congressional Serials Set in the coming year. This will provide researchers with significant opportunities to use primary source materials that, until now, have been hard to get access to.
The inclusion of tables of content for acquired works, mentioned above, will improve the searching power of the catalog and will prove beneficial for the students.
The library served as a beta test site for the newest release of software for Voyager. The beta testing has been finished and the final release version will be distributed shortly.
The library has undertaken a usability test of its website and will be conducting a survey this fall to get input on any additional changes needed to the web site. Sever counter software has been loaded which will provide the library with data on hourly access of the library web pages.
During the coming year, the automation staff will work with the acquisitions staff to implement EDI ordering for acquisitions and will work with Access Services to re-implement the e-mailing of circulation notices to users.
1. Undertake the LibQual+ Survey on user satisfaction of library services and see an improvement on scores from 2003 survey data.
2. Implement EDI to facilitate the book ordering and receiving process, i.e., to be able to get materials delivered and on the shelf faster.
3. Initiate a reconversion project to add tables of contents to past book records, and to ensure that records for new items added come with tables of content. This will make keyword searching a more powerful tool for our users.
4. Complete weeding projects for sciences and social science areas, remove out of date and/or badly damaged materials.
5. Create one additional group study room within the library.
6. Create a wireless classroom with laptop computers to provide the library with an additional instruction area.