Meet our almost two dozen student workers! You will have seen some of them at the Circulation Desk where they assist with checking out materials to you during most of the hours that the library is open. Our student workers also shelve our newspapers, books, periodicals, recordings, and other library materials, they provide assistance with equipment such as the public workstations, the public laser printer, and the microfilm readers, they help process new books, new issues of periodicals, and interlibrary loan requests, and they know when to direct you to a librarian or other library staff member for more in-depth research directions. Student workers are a crucial part of the library staff!
In-class research instruction is provided by our librarians to all 33 CWRR sections as part of the course requirements, and they also teach other classes by special arrangement. The first couple of months of each semester are especially busy for Susan Avery and Jen Masciadrelli with this work, as they juggle their own schedules around CWRR faculty schedules and technology classroom availability.
We are continuously updating and adding to the library's web site. A recent new page provides links to information about Decatur and its environs, including statistics. Sue Hemp, one of our part-time librarians, provided most of the statistics links. We would welcome any other good ideas for that page!
Self-initiated interlibrary loans through the new state-wide ILLINET Online is has been in place for several weeks now, and you have already placed well over 100 successful book requests that way. Before we changed over to the new system, the proportion of self-initiated interlibrary loan book requests through the online catalog had reached as much as 75% of your in-state requests; and although it is not much more than 50% now, we expect that once you get fully used to the new system, this percentage will climb again. (Note that it is the local portion of the catalog that is called MILLINET.)
The September 20, 2002 Chronicle of Higher Education front page features a picture of deteriorating books in library stacks to introduce "Crumbling foundations: a special report." Articles include "Intellectual Infrastructure Erodes: Budget cuts for libraries, university presses, journals, and culture combine to threaten the infrastructure on which professors and students depend", and "Gaps In the Stacks: To close a budget shortfall, the library at Appalachian State University is canceling hundreds of journal subscriptions and buying many fewer books." (I will post online links to the full articles as soon as these are available.)
These articles are sobering reading, especially since it is all too familiar... Perhaps it is reassuring to know that we are not alone in our struggles to keep up with price inflation on academic research materials (and I note that this has nothing to do with format: electronic resources are if anything even more expensive). Also it is true that through our consortial arrangements in Illinois, we are able to manage better than many to continue serving our students' needs. However, the overall concern remains true for Staley Library as well as for the libraries discussed in the articles.
HINT OF THE MONTH:
When using periodicals databases for specific subjects, remember that Academic Search Elite is an excellent all-purpose database that can be useful for almost any subject. This database also provides the full text for articles from nearly 1,250 journals covering the social sciences, humanities, general science, multi-cultural studies, and education.
Remember that we now have five wireless laptops that you can check out for use in the library if you have a Millikin affiliation. Unlike our research workstations, the laptops have productivity software (word processing etc.) along with access to resources on the campus network including any files on your personal h: drive.
Additionally, if you have your own laptop with a wireless card and the Novell NetWare client software, ask at the Circulation Desk how you need to set it up to work with the library's wireless network.
In a more frivolous vein, we now have both a drink machine and a snack machine! Both are at the bottom of the stairs to the downstairs classrooms. Prices are the same as in other campus machines, although you will have to use real money, not card swiping. If you're careful with it, you can drink the soda, juice or water in the library except next to any computers. However, we still discourage eating in the library because we want to avoid attracting insects and rodents.
Earlier issues of this newsletter can be found here.