October 23, 2009

High Marks for Alloway Library

The Globe and Mail's annual University Report Card was released today and once again TWU is at the top of the class.

Alloway Library received high satisfaction marks from the TWU students surveyed. In fact, our users gave us an A for Satisfaction with Library Staff placing us among the top ten out of some 60 institutions across Canada and the only BC library to receive that mark.

We received an A- for Overall Library Satisfaction which puts us in the top tier among BC libraries and ahead of two major lower mainland institutions. The high mark also sets us above the cross-Canada average among our peers in the "Very Small Schools" category.

We are also proud to be among the top BC libraries for providing satisfactory study space. Even when we are in the middle tier, with an A- for online resources or a B for holdings, we find ourselves in good company with our colleagues at UBC, SFU and UNBC among others.

Compared to previous years' Report Card, Alloway Library improved in 4 categories and held onto our high marks in the other two.

Alloway Library's 2009 Report Card
Satisfaction with Library Staff A
Overall Library Satisfaction A-
Satisfaction with the availability of study space A-
Satisfaction with Online Library Resources A-
Satisfaction with Library Hours of Operation B
Satisfaction with Total Library Holdings B
We are grateful for the positive support from our users and look forward to meeting the high expectations set for us.

October 22, 2009

Two more Companions thanks to TWU Grad Students

Alloway Library now has 127 titles in the Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, Religion and Culture series of e-books thanks to generous funding from the TWU Graduate Student Association.

Two new titles have recently been catalogued and can be accessed via the Library's catalogue.
(TWU login may be required to view the contents of these items.)

October 21, 2009

Prime Minister " just a curious researcher"

Someone in the Prime Minister's Office clearly "gets it" about libraries. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at the Toronto Public Library to hand out a $3M cheque for renovations to the main branch reference library and he recalled his own experiences in the library:
...And a special thank-you to Toronto’s chief librarian, Jane Pyper, and all the staff here at the Toronto Reference Library for hosting us this morning. I have spent many an hour here, both for work and relaxation, and it is wonderful to be back.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Toronto Chief Librarian Jane Pyper at the announcement of $3 million for renovations to the Toronto Reference Library. InsideToronto photo by David Nickle

Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, digital technology is transforming how we access and use information. The vessels that have traditionally preserved knowledge are changing. Yet, the importance of our libraries as physical places where people gather to learn hasn’t diminished ...The statistics are clear, in the digital age, our libraries aren’t just surviving, they are thriving!

On any given day, scores of visitors as varied as academics, students, new Canadians, retirees, or just curious researchers like myself, can be found searching the stacks and browsing the digital collections

Much has changed, however, since I first came to this library as a student in 1977. For one thing, Toronto’s population has grown...What’s more, changes in technology have transformed how we use our libraries. To meet these challenges an ambitious revitalization effort is needed. Or as any librarian here might put it, renovations to the Reference Library are…long overdue!
Read the complete speech

October 20, 2009

New Oxford References Online

Alloway Library's latest update to Oxford Reference Online has a wealth of new content, including four new titles, expanding our breadth and depth of coverage to include:
(TWU Log-in may be required)
We also have three new Oxford Reference Online editions packed to the brim with trustworthy and fascinating information, including the latest and most up-to-date incarnations of the world-renowned and highly respected Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and The Oxford Companion to English Literature. The third new edition is are A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (formerly A Dictionary of Twentieth Century Art)

October 16, 2009

Some things don't last

Ivor Tossell writes about the demise of GeoCities in the Globe and Mail recently. Here are a few of his thoughts about the limitations of storing data on the web:
Lately, there's been so much discussion about the permanence of information – especially the embarrassing kind – that we have overlooked the fact that it can also disappear. At a time when we're throwing all kinds of data and memories onto free websites, the unplugging of GeoCities is a blunt reminder that the future can bring unwelcome surprises.

If it sounds improbable that everything you've piled into Facebook might evaporate in just 10 years, then consider: One of the biggest websites of the late 1990s is about to get deleted. At the end of October, Yahoo will pull the plug on GeoCities, the service that more than 1 million people used to set up web pages. On Oct. 27, the whole thing will simply cease to exist.

It bring to light some truths about data that are easily overlooked. Websites are like buildings: you can't just abandon them indefinitely and expect them to keep working. For one thing, that electronic storage isn't free. Storing files requires media that degrade and computers that fail and power that needs paying for.

Read the full article

Libraries have a long record of storing data on sheets of paper in large buildings and sharing that data with users. Their enduring service to scholarship relies on the support of the communities they serve.

October 15, 2009

What are you doing for Canadian Library Support Staff Day?

Circle October 16, on your calendar; it's Canadian Library Support Staff Day!

In proclaiming the day, Canadian Library Association President, John Teskey says, "Let’s celebrate our colleagues’ important contributions to academic libraries!"

Some of the 30 individuals who form Alloway Library's support staff

"All great libraries depend on their support staff, working both behind the scenes and at the forefront to help libraries grow and serve their users. In our changing environment we need to ensure that we celebrate the skill of our support staff. Support staff are critical to any library’s success. October is Canadian Library Month and Friday, October 16, 2009 will be recognized as Canadian Library Support Staff Day. The purpose of the day is to show deep appreciation and recognition for the work of Library Technicians, Library Assistants, Library Clerks and all other support staff members who perform daily miracles in our Canadian public, private, government, academic and corporate libraries."

Hallmark has not yet unveiled a line of greeting cards to mark the day.

October 10, 2009

Antique, Rare and Collectible Book Sale at Alloway Library

Until Sunday October 18, Alloway Library presents a unique collection of some 100 antique, rare and collectible titles for sale that will appeal to both the discerning collector as well as the budget-minded bibliophile.

Nearly half of the 100 titles are priced under $10 including many finely illustrated volumes dating as early as 1839. The oldest item, A compleat collection of farewell sermons, preached by Mr. Calamy, et al. dates to 1663 and is priced at $1000. Also in that price range are each of the two volumes from John Theophilus Desaguliers’ A Course Of Experimental Philosophy, published in 1745.

  • All prices are firm.
  • The sale ends October 18, 2009.
  • Items not sold will be consigned to Better World Books.
  • All proceeds support Alloway Library

October 09, 2009

You probably won't catch H1N1 from a library book

TWU Campus Doctor, Derek Hitchman, passed on this information from the Public Health Agency of Canada in response to concerns raised by Alloway Library Staff.

Q. How long does the H1N1 Flu virus live outside of the body?

A. The virus can live outside the body on hard surfaces, such as stainless steel and plastic, for 24-48 hours and on soft surfaces, such as cloth, paper, and tissues for less than 8-12 hours; however, it can only infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on hard surfaces, and for up to a few minutes after being deposited on soft surfaces.

October 08, 2009

October is Canadian Library Month

This month, libraries across the country celebrate Canadian Library Month. This year’s theme of Your Library: Your World supports the important role that libraries play in our lives.

There are approximately 23,000 librarians and library clerks working in over 22,000 libraries in Canada. Libraries are key partners in supporting literacy and are leaders in providing access to information to all users regardless of age, gender, race, religion, social status, language or location.

College and university libraries are vital to learners, faculty and researchers. Academic library professionals provide expert reference assistance at point of need, whether in-person, through online chat or other electronic means and work cooperatively with faculty to assist students in developing the information literacy skills critical to success.
  • Over 6,500 academic library employees in Canada contribute to the overall vitality of college and university education in Canada.
  • Universities perform more than 1/3 of all research in Canada with the support of extensive library collections of 120 million items to meet research needs.
Libraries are centres for life-long learning and directly impact the lives of Canadians each and every day. They are information and community centres where people learn, engage, discover and connect. Libraries are where students learn critical thinking and literacy skills, businesses research the marketplace, readers pick up the latest bestsellers, and children are supported in their love of reading.

Now more than ever, libraries are helping people find their way in a large and increasingly
complex world by connecting them with employment resources, providing them with access to
an affordable means of entertainment, and assisting them in acquiring skills that will allow them
to compete in the current economy.

Need research help? AskAway!

Need help? AskAway!
AskAway is designed to help college and university students in British Columbia with their research for term papers, assignments and other academic projects. Library staff are available to chat in real-time and help you
  • find library and online resources on your topic
  • answer questions about your library
  • suggest research strategies
It's easy to use, simply start here and AskAway!

AskAway hours of service:
Sunday - Thursday 10 am - 9pm
Friday & Saturday 11 am - 5 pm
Closed Statutory holidays and after Dec11th.

October 06, 2009

We're back to normal!

Dear Alloway Library Patron,

As you may know, we recently experienced a hard drive failure that affected our catalogue and circulation functions for several days. We recognize that this affected library users greatly and apologize for the inconvenience this caused. We are grateful for the patience and understanding of our patrons and thankful for the tireless efforts of TWU IT support staff and our own library team to restore all services.

We want you to know that we have carefully reviewed and updated our circulation records to include over 3000 items borrowed or returned during our system-down time as well as processed all renewal requests received by email, telephone or in-person.. We also made adjustments to ensure that no overdue fines are assessed for the any of the days when our online renewal services were unavailable. As well, we have waived the fines on all overdue items returned during the system-down period.

We invite you to log into “My Account” at webpac.twu.ca to review your current record and advise us of any discrepancies.

We look forward to assisting you with your research needs in the coming weeks.

G-G celebrates Canadian Library Month

Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaƫlle Jean

There is nothing quite as stimulating as a book to delve into the fascinating world of history, knowledge or fiction. As we celebrate Canadian Library Month, let us give ourselves over to this wonderful adventure.

Libraries open the door to new books and old favourites; they keep us informed with the most up-to-date resources. They are places of encounters and cultural exchange; places of learning that offer leading edge technology to meet the needs of members and the demands of the time. Accessible to all citizens, these bastions of knowledge play an essential role in our society. Veritable treasure troves, libraries bring us happiness and the means with which to thrive.

I warmly...wish each and every one of you many long, enchanting hours spent with a good book.

October 05, 2009

Flu facts from reliable sources

Here's your chance to be informed about the flu, before you feel too sick to do anything about it. EBSCO has launched a free evidence-based influenza information portal.

Due to Pandemic H1N1 Influenza (formerly known as Swine Flu) and concerns about the 2009/2010 flu season, the EBSCO Publishing Medical and Nursing editors of DynaMed™, Nursing Reference Center™ (NRC) and Patient Education Reference Center™ (PERC) have made key influenza information from these resources freely available to Alloway Library and health care providers worldwide.

The resource includes information for clinicians and nurses as well as patient information in English, Arabic and Chinese and 14 other languages.

The For Patients section includes the latest information on Pandemic H1N1 and Seasonal Influenza. These patient topics take advantage of the same evidence-based methodology and literature surveillance process as the topics written for healthcare providers. The resources are written specifically for patients, their families, co-workers, parents and teachers—anyone interested in learning more about the various strains of the flu or what to do it they or someone they know is diagnosed.

The patient education information provides non-medical professionals with current, easy to understand articles about Pandemic H1N1 and Seasonal Flu. The information may also be used by physicians and nurses as patient handouts.

The EBSCO editorial teams will continue to monitor information and update these resources as needed throughout the upcoming flu season.

October 03, 2009

Nearly 400 e-books added to the catalogue.

Alloway Library added 397 new NetLibrary eBooks to the catalogue in September. The collection of titles was purchased with funds from ACTS through the Christian Library Consortia and cover a very broad range of religious studies topics. Publication dates for these works range from 2003 - 2009 and they come from major academic presses. In some cases Alloway Library now has paper and electronic formats of the same title.

To give an idea of the content here are a few of the titles with links to the catalogue. (To view the eBooks TWU login may be required.)
For a complete list of all 397 titles email me.

October 02, 2009

Media functions added to workstations

Does listening to music help you work better?

TWU students using any of 14 of Alloway Library's public workstations can now access the media player options on the computers. TWU Information Technology staff have enabled the playback of audio and video discs. Users will need to use headphones, available from the Reserve counter, or bring their own earbuds or headsets.

Alloway Library policy states that workstations are for academic uses only, so don't bring popcorn and make sure that you have a solid academic rationale for watching "He' just not that into you" in the library.

October 01, 2009

It was 40 years ago...

... happy birthday dear Internet...!

Depending on how the birth of an all-pervasive technolgy is determined, it was either September 2, 1969 ,when two computers at UCLA were networked, or October 29, when the first email between the two computers was sent. According to an ABC news story, "The message was supposed to be "login" but computer scientist Leonard Kleinrock was only able to type "lo" before the system crashed."

Will Google Books "get it right"?

Last week we summarized some of Geoffrey Nunberg concerns about Google Books' shortcomings. His key point is that Google failed to realize the value of the information about the publication itself: the date, author and subject matter classification (the metadata.) To the casual Googler or reader, this metadata is of little concern it's enough to quickly look up in a book to find out when a event occurred, or simply type into Google "kennedy assassination dallas" But serious researchers always consider their sources. Libraries facilitate that work by making the metadata accessible in their catalogues and by providing authoritative sources in books and other online resources.

In his conclusion, Nunberg, a linguist, and professor at the School of Information at the university of California at Berkeley draws attention to the way libraries and the Internet complete one another and why he remains optimistic about Google Books.
a lot of the initial problems are due to Google's slightly clueless fumbling as it tried master a domain that turned out to be a lot more complex than the company first realized. It's clear that Google designed the system without giving much thought to the need for reliable metadata. In fact, Google's great achievement as a Web search engine was to demonstrate how easy it could be to locate useful information without attending to metadata ... But books aren't simply vehicles for communicating information, and managing a vast library collection requires different skills, approaches, and data than those that enabled Google to dominate Web searching.
Whether or not the needs of scholars are a priority, the company doesn't want Google's book search to become a running scholarly joke...If recent history teaches us anything, it's that Google is a very quick study.
(Geoffrey Nunberg. The Chronicle of Higher Education; Aug 31, 2009)