October 29, 2010

All Fall Down

You might enjoy this video from Arizona's Bookman's Entertainment Exchange.

Just don't try that here!
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October 27, 2010

Some trends indicated by our report card

This marks the fifth year that Trinity Western University has been included in the Globe and Mail's annual University Report ratings and, although the evaluation categories have varied from year to year, it is nevertheless possible to perceive some trends. One of the encouraging overall trends is that in spite of the fiscal challenges we have faced in recent years Alloway Library continues to enjoy the approval of our users.

Overall, satisfaction with the library has improved. Although our grade slipped from A- to B+ this year (perhaps because Satisfaction with Library Staff was dropped from the 2010 evaluation) nevertheless our GPA for the last two years is higher than for the first two years.

Our users also indicate a higher level of satisfaction with Library hours giving us a B+ after 4 years of B's and B-'s. Since the core operating hours haven't changed in five years it may be that more online services make library hours less relevant - or user's expectations have changed.

Satisfaction with Availability of Books/Articles/Periodicals remains a steady B over the past five years. This year the Report refined the results by field of study and, in this category, Education and Human Kinetics students differed from Arts, Sciences and Business majors by giving a slightly higher satisfaction grade of B+.

Finally, our letter grade for Availability of Study Space remains unchanged at A- putting us ahead of other libraries in the province and in our size category. Since the survey was conducted in the spring, we have made further improvements to library study spaces by opening up new study zones, adding more computer workstations and electrical outlets for laptops and improving access to small group study rooms.

Last year Alloway Library ranked among the top 10 libraries across Canada for Satisfaction with Library Staff. This year however the service component was not surveyed. Nevertheless, over the past year, and in the face of drastic budget cuts, Alloway Library staff worked hard to improve on our already great service by revising policies to benefit our users and including customer service training for all student assistants.

October 26, 2010

Globe and Mail Report Released.

The Globe and Mail's 2010 Canadian University Report came out this week and Alloway Library received another good report from our users who gave us a B+ for overall satisfaction with the library. The letter grade puts us in the same (or better) overall satisfaction rank as the other 7 BC institutions surveyed for the report. Of 59 university libraries across Canada, we sit in the middle tier with 25 other large and small institutions.

The B+ tells us that TWU students are as satisfied with Alloway Library as students at UBC or SFU are with their own respective institutions’ libraries. In an article accompanying the results Alex Usher notes that:

“overall, Canadian undergrads are a pretty happy bunch.” Even “where big schools should have an advantage, for example in libraries…students at smaller schools tend to report higher levels of satisfaction than students from big schools.” That “can sometimes seem a bit unfair” he continues, “shouldn’t those millions of extra volumes and millions of dollars worth of extra electronic resources count for something?—and cast doubts on the usefulness of surveying students. But in fact, (the results) are telling us something important about the undergraduate experience. In this case, it’s that for undergrads, libraries are (more than anything else) places for quiet and/or collaborative study. Once you take that into account, the putative advantage held by big schools disappears…”
Usher is wrong when he says that libraries are primarily study halls. Alloway Library users continue to borrow and use vast quantities of library resources, from our shelves and online; undergrads account for nearly half of all items circulated this year and our professional staff provide over 50 hours of in-person and online assistance each week.

Yet, if study space is a key satisfaction indicator then Alloway Library excels. Our users put us ahead of every other BC institution that was surveyed by giving us an A- for Availability of Study Space. (That mark also puts us above the average for all schools in our size category.)

The report card dropped 3 of six satisfaction indicators this year including Service Provided by Staff. Previous reports show that this is a category in which Alloway Library excels. Aside from the A- in Availability of Study Space, Alloway Library users gave us a B for Availability of Books/Articles/Periodicals and B+ for Library Hours of Operation.

October 25, 2010

The Wevers' Gift

John William Wevers (1919-2010) was an eminent linguist and scholar. An undisputed master of Septuagint Studies, he produced the critical edition of the whole Greek Pentateuch for the Gottingen Septuaginta Unternehmen, and made significant contributions to Classical Hebrew scholarship and Old Testament Studies. For 50 years Septuagint Studies at the University of Toronto flourished under his direction.

Rob Hiebert checks out the Wevers display at Alloway Library
When UT closed the department, Professor Wevers worked with TWU professor Rob Hiebert to donate his personal library of over 3000 volumes, including many rare works, to TWU. It is, as Wevers said, "without doubt a unique collection in all of Canada." A former student of Wevers, Hiebert is the director of TWU's Septuagint Institute, the only research center of its kind in North America.

Currently on display at Alloway Library are works by and from John Wevers which are invaluble to the researcher's study of ancient texts
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October 22, 2010

JSTOR Plant Science here for a year

Alloway Library is pleased to announce that our users now have access to JSTOR Plant Science. JSTOR has offered a free trial of this databases through to the end of 2011 and, although the library generally resists trial-offer databases, the value of the resource and extended trial period make it a worthwhile opportunity for TWU researchers.

JSTOR Plant Science is an online environment that brings together content, tools, and people interested in plant science. It provides access to foundational content vital to plant science – plant type specimens, taxonomic structures, scientific literature, and related materials, making them widely accessible to the plant science community as well as to researchers in other fields and to the public. It also provides an easy to use interface with powerful functionality. It is useful for those researching, teaching or studying botany, biology, ecology, environmental and conservation studies.

A significant portion of the content available on JSTOR Plant Science has been contributed through an effort known as the Global Plants Initiative (GPI). GPI is an international undertaking by leading herbaria to digitize and make available plant type specimens and other holdings used by botanists and others working in plant science every day. Partners include more than 147 institutions in 52 countries.

Most of the information found on JSTOR Plant Science is visual and contextual; the interface is visual. You can navigate through the map or by any of the Resource Types we have in the collections.

Faceted Browse/Search
You may enter searches directly from the homepage, and use the new faceted browse and search feature to easily add and remove facets in categories such as "Resource Type" and "Geography." The selections are applied automatically and the relevant results are immediately viewable.

Social Community
To the right of each page on JSTOR Plant Science you will see social media options,Facebook logoImage via Wikipedia including Facebook Comments, sharing options, and more. This is all intended to provide an environment that not only showcases the work of the Global Plants Initiative network, but also promotes interaction with the content for researchers, students, and teachers.

Visit JSTOR Plant Science and give it a try or ask a librarian for further assistance

October 21, 2010

CDs at your library

A collection of nearly 1100 CDs is just one of the many ways that Alloway Library serves the TWU community. With an emphasis on classical music, you’re sure to find your favourite composer’s work represented, but you may be surprised to find a few jazz, rock and country classics included in the collection too. Anyone with a valid TWU ID card can borrow sound recordings. Visit the catalogue (try a keyword search with sound recording as part of your keywords) or browse the collection on the upper level of the library.

Your Library: Your world

October 14, 2010

Study rooms in your library

Study rooms are just one of the many ways that Alloway Library serves the TWU community. Every day, people use the library’s ten study rooms for small group meetings or as a place of quiet retreat to focus on their studies. Anyone with a valid TWU ID card can reserve a room in advance, or simply come to the Reserve Counter to check out a key.

Your library: your world

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October 13, 2010

Ask for EBSCO fix

Those of you who search EBSCO databases on a regular basis have probably realized that it is not possible to sort article citations within a folder by publication date. Many researchers find this is a serious shortcoming for an otherwise excellent interface.

Shannon Long, the librarian at Vancouver Coastal Health Library Services has launched a campaign to convince the programmers at EBSCO that a fix must be made. She has been told by her EBSCO liaison that suggested changes to the interface will be considered if there is a high demand. And so, she is calling on EBSCO users to send the message that researchers need to be able to sort the contents of folders by publication date. Send an email to support@ebscohost.com if you want to see this change made.

October 12, 2010

Demonstrating the value of the academic library.

From Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report:
Academic libraries have long enjoyed their status as the “heart of the university.” However, in recent decades, higher education environments have changed. University librarians no longer can rely on their stakeholders’ belief in their importance. Rather, they must demonstrate their value.

Traditional measures of internal library processes such as input and output measures, external perceptions of quality, and satisfaction with library services may not have significant meaning to audiences outside the library. Those measures are of great utility to librarians who seek to manage library services and resources, but they may not resonate with institutional leaders as well as outcomes-based approaches.

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is calling their members to work together to affirm and demonstrate the value of libraries within an institutional context by outlining a “Research Agenda” for articulating academic library value. The goal is to help librarians understand, and answer the question, “How does the library advance the missions of the institution?”

ACRL is helping libraries answer that question by highlighting areas for further research. For example:

According to the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (2006), libraries are an important consideration when students select a university or college, and, as a result, academic libraries can help institutional admissions boost enrollment. Specifically, the library ranked second in terms of facilities important in the selection decision process; only facilities for students’ majors ranked higher. Libraries were ranked ahead of technology facilities, the student union center, and even recreational facilities.It is clear that libraries can help their institutions attract the best possible prospective students, as well as matriculate the best possible admitted students, in a variety of ways depending on the institution type, size, profile, etc.

Libraries can play a more prominent role in reaching key prospective student groups and communicating the ways in which librarians can help students attain academic success.

Libraries support students’ ability to do well in internships, secure job placements, earn salaries, gain acceptance to graduate/professional schools, and obtain marketable skills. Although it may be difficult to make direct and clear connections between academic libraries and students’ educational and professional futures, these outcomes are of critical importance to institutions and their stakeholders. Consequently, librarians can investigate the linkages between academic libraries and student job success, and— if no linkages currently exist—librarians can form them.
For example, many institutions place emphasis on students’ job placements immediately after college and most invite employers to campus to interview students. Librarians can help students prepare for these interviews by sharing resources, such as company profiles, market analyses,etc., with career resources units on campus and with students directly.

Other aspects of the value equation to explore include:

Track library influences on increased student achievement.
Libraries support student achievement in the form of GPA and professional/educational test scores. In order to demonstrate this impact, librarians can investigate correlations between student library interactions and their GPA well as conduct test item audits of major professional/educational tests to determine correlations between library services or resources and specific test items.

Track and increase library contributions to faculty research productivity.
Librarians contribute to faculty research productivity in a number of ways. To some degree, librarians have investigated the impact of library resources on faculty productivity, but librarians can explore the linkages between library services and faculty research productivity. How do librarians serve faculty who are preparing publications, presentations, or patent applications? How do librarians help faculty prepare their tenure and promotion packages?

Continue to investigate library impact on faculty grant proposals and funding, a means of generating institutional income. Librarians contribute to faculty grant proposals in a number of ways. Recent studies have documented the contribution of library resources to citations in grant applications In addition, academic librarians can investigate other ways in which libraries contribute to the preparation of grant proposals, both funded and unfunded.

Demonstrate and improve library support of faculty teaching.
Librarians contribute to faculty teaching in a variety of ways. Librarians provide guest lectures, online tutorials, and LibGuides. They integrate library resources into course materials on a massive scale. They collaborate with faculty on curriculum and assessment design. They also provide resources that cover the scholarship of teaching and learning; some libraries also partner in campuswide teaching and learning support centers. Librarians clearly support teaching; now librarians can also collect the data and communicate the value of that support.

Record library contributions to overall institutional reputation and prestige.
Academic libraries can augment their institution’s reputation and prestige in four ways. First, they can help department chairs to recruit faculty or retain them. Traditionally, libraries contribute to faculty recruitment by building collections that support faculty activities. In the future, librarians have opportunities to be more proactive in this area, by actively engaging in dialogue with “star” faculty recruits prior to their hiring. Second, strong libraries, especially those that win awards or other distinctions, may also impact their institutional rank by bringing attention to the institution and therefore potentially influencing the peer assessments that make up a large portion of well-known ranking entities. Third, library special collections can bring significant prestige to their institutions. Finally, library services and resources support institutional engagement in service to their communities locally, nationally, and globally, thus contributing to their institution’s reputation and prestige through service.

Documenting the evidence we have for the impact of academic libraries on student, faculty, and institutional success will enable library leaders to respond proactively to calls for accountability and return on investment.

Read the full text from the Association of College and Research Libraries

October 08, 2010

What an earthquake can do to a library

Some photos from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand show what can happen when a 7.1 magnitude tremor shakes a library.

What the photos can only imply are the ways that library users are impacted by such an event.
While classes continue, the University of Canterbury's Library 'Restart" page tells patrons that:
  • A month after the September 4 event, they are still recovering and access to some parts of the collection are restricted. In fact, whole floors (and subject areas) are inaccessible.
  • It may take up to 4 days to retrieve a desired item
  • The library will place an inter-library loan request for unretrievable items.
  • Access to computer workstations and study areas is also limited.
  • Staff are reassigned from regular task to recovery duties.
  • Library suppliers are providing free access to a wealth of databases and ebooks during the recovery period.
  • (Read more from the library's blog)
Alloway Library has a Disaster Preparedness Team which has made preparations and plans to deal with emergency situations. The team reviews conditions within the library on a regular basis. Seismic anchoring of all our shelves may prevent scenes like the one below.
More photos from NZHerald here

October 05, 2010

Print subscriptions redesigned

Due to the campus-wide redesign process Alloway Library has cancelled print subscriptions to 62 journals in order to meet the constraints of our budget. The good news is that the majority, 40 titles, are available through the library's online subscriptions. But even so, a few titles have a 12 month embargo which means there is a delay between when an article appears in print and when a TWU researcher can read in online. Three subscriptions are being extended for one more year thanks to subsidies from concerned departments on campus. Another 18current titles will no longer be available in any format.

Here's a list of titles affected:

Print subscription ends, but online access continues:
  • Abbotsford news
  • Adbusters
  • American theatre
  • ARTS
  • Asia journal of theology
  • Asian development review
  • Canadian literature
  • Canadian manager
  • Christian scholars' review
  • Computers in libraries
  • Contagion
  • Education Canada
  • Education digest
  • Entrepreneur
  • Evangelical Baptist
  • Health Instructor
  • Library resources & technical services
  • Macworld
  • Native studies review
  • Near Eastern archaeology
  • Newfoundland and Labrador studies
  • PC magazine
  • Phi Delta Kappan
  • Presbyterion
  • Psychology today
  • Religious studies review
  • Research in nursing & health
  • Restoration quarterly
  • Review of human factor studies
  • Studies in religion
  • Theological education
  • Theology today
  • Touchstone : a journal of mere Christianity
  • Westminster theological journal
  • Zygon

Online access , but with a 12 month embargo
  • American economic review
  • Critical studies in media communications
  • Journal of heredity
  • Journal of media and religion
  • Journal of pentecostal theology
  • Wildlife afield (6 month embargo)

One year extension of print subscription funded by other departments
  • Cell (thanks to Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences)
  • Quill & quire Science (thanks to Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences)
  • TESOL Quarterly (thanks to MA TESOL program)

Print subscription cancelled, no online access
  • American mathematical monthly
  • Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
  • Canadian money saver
  • Christian legal journal
  • Christian research journal
  • College mathematics journal
  • Creation Research Society quarterly
  • Greater good
  • Indian life
  • Inside the Vatican
  • Journal of faculty development
  • Journal of music therapy
  • Journal of staff development
  • Psychological reports
  • Public historian
  • Studying teacher education
  • Times literary supplement
  • World

October 01, 2010

Celebrate Your Library: Your World

This October, Alloway Library joins libraries across the country to celebrate Canadian Library Month. This year’s theme of Your Library: Your World: Opening Doors to the Future emphasizes the ability of libraries to introduce new ideas, new stories, and new ways into the world around us through both traditional and emerging technologies.

Census data tells us that there are approximately 23,000 librarians and library clerks working in over 22,000 libraries in Canada. Here at Alloway Library a team of 40 regular staff and student assistants work together to provide outstanding service to the TWU community.

Libraries are an entry into the world of knowledge: from the freshman all the way through to our alumni and community borrowers, Alloway Library supports and encourages life-long learning. Our doors are open to all for 83 hours each week and our online portals never close.

We are TWU's information and community centre where people learn, engage, discover and connect. Every day we directly impact the lives of our users through our meeting rooms, services and resources. Alloway Library is where students learn critical thinking and literacy skills; it's here where faculty expand their knowledge in the pursuit of wisdom. Your minister might have prepared a sermon here!

Alloway Library is vital to learners, faculty and researchers. Our library professionals provide expert reference assistance at point of need, whether in-person, on the phone or online chat and they work cooperatively with faculty to assist students in developing the information literacy skills critical to success.

Through our consortia partnerships with academic libraries across Canada, Alloway Library contributes to the overall vitality of college and university education around the globe, supporting researchers with access to library collections of over 120 million items to meet research needs.

This month, celebrate Your Library: Your World!