Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Library News- Spring 2003

 (You're wondering perhaps about the Peeps at the top of this page? A hint: Millikin Faculty "Peep" Show 2003. Stay tuned!)

This spring we have been able to pursue filling two vacant library positions. One of those positions we have just filled after a careful search, and that is the day associate at the Circulation Desk.

 Kelly Binkley, a Decatur native, comes to us having already worked at the library at Richland College, so she has a good idea of what we are about as an academic service and resource. Her first day at the Circulation Desk will be April 7, and her regular schedule will be days from Tuesday through Saturday. She will share the desk responsibility with Gavena Dahlman who covers the evening shifts. (Ben Gardner will be able to resume staffing the Research Desk when librarians are not available.)

We are very pleased to welcome Kelly to the Staley Library staff!

We are also in the process of selecting another librarian, someone who will be a much needed library faculty member to work with our extensive instruction and reference program in addition to supervising our Access Services (the Circulation Desk). As with the applicants for the Circulation Associate, we have had an outstanding pool of candidates for this position; and it has not been easy to narrow that pool down to three candidates to bring on campus for all-day interviews. (Though we should all have such positive "problems"!)  We have scheduled those interviews for April 3, 8 and 14; and I will let the campus know via email the time of day when the candidates will do their sample instruction sessions.

Last month we formally recognized a couple of our very best student workers, as we have done from time to time for number of years now. We select the honorees based on their exceptional contributions to the library's, and therefore the University's, mission, "exceptional" meaning beyond our usual high expectations of a library student assistant.  Ben Alvey and Debbie Myers both certainly fit these criteria. As it happens, both also worked in the library this past summer, a bonus for the library.

Ben Alvey has responsibilities both with Interlibrary Loans and at the Circulation Desk. Although Ben often works independently, especially with Interlibrary Loans, we know that at all times he performs quickly, efficiently, effectively, accurately, and dependably.  

When at the Circulation Desk, Ben knows what needs to be done, and he gets it done without the more usual necessity of prodding from supervisors. At the same time, he always finds the time to cheerfully help anyone who comes to the desk.

This past summer Ben worked on several big projects alone. For one thing, he reorganized the entire first floor periodicals section in a way that was typical of his approach: we explained what the result needed to be, and then he decided how to accomplish that result, even finishing the project in less time than we had expected. 

Ben graduates this spring, and we will very much miss him!

Debbie Myers works at the Circulation Desk, often during early morning shifts when she helps prepare the area for the day's work. She is consistently and knowledgably helpful to the library's patrons and goes out of her way to help students with their questions.

Debbie's special responsibility is watering and ministering to the library's many plants, living things that enhance the overall library  environment. Those plants are thriving now as rarely before!

This past summer Debbie worked very effectively on our major project of weeding the business collection of outdated materials, leading to significant improvement in that section of the library's resources.

Debbie is always cheerful and kind, and her positive attitude is exemplary as well as an example to us all.

Debbie will be working for us again this coming summer, along with Brad Leach, another of our current student workers.

The library recently received
a generous gift of almost 300 musical recordings from Dr. T. W. Samuels, including a number of complete boxed operas. These recordings have added significantly to our holdings in both opera and vocal music. (Dr. Samuels has also endowed the university with the T.W. Samuels lecture series, named in honor of his father.)

Every year the library reports its statistics to a variety of organizations, including locally, regionally and nationally. Two major such surveys are the annual Academic Libraries Statistics Questionnaire (administered through the Association of College and Research Libraries, or ACRL) and the bi-annual Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

Last year, we were one of about 1,600 libraries participating in the ACRL survey, the results of which are used by "library administrators ... to access comprehensive and timely data about college and research libraries at institutions of higher learning throughout North America." The IPEDS survey "is a system of surveys designed to collect data from all primary providers of postsecondary education."

I have just completed this year's IPEDS numbers, some of which you may find interesting. (The ACRL survey takes place in April.)

Our total collection now has passed 200,000 items, with the reported count being 210,258 volumes. While this represents some actual growth since the 198,525 I reported two years ago, it also represents our ongoing efforts to make sure that every single intellectual resource we own is represented in our official records. We only added 651 new titles in 2001/02, and some of those were gifts. On the other hand, we added 1,742 volumes, a number that includes the annual volumes of our periodicals subscriptions.

Our interlibrary loan traffic continues to grow, if gently, to a total number of 7,962 items lent and borrowed for academic year 2001/02 compared to 7,507 two years earlier. We still lend to other institutions slightly more than we borrow for our own users, a worthy contribution to our consortial partners. One growing trend is for our users to initiate their own interlibrary loan requests, using the systems we provide.

Our general circulation numbers seem to be declining slightly, although two years ago we were still circulating periodicals which added significantly to our numbers. Not counting the periodicals, our circulation remains level from two years ago. 

One "circulation" number we were not asked about is the use of our various electronic databases, but we do know that those numbers keep increasing!

I might also mention that as part of a recent insurance review of the library, we have computed the worth of the library's physical collection (books, videos etc) to be in excess of 16 million dollars, should we ever need to replace it following some sort of disaster. Our furnishings on the other hand we could replace for less than two million dollars. (Having an excellent staff: priceless.)

An article in the March 21, 2003 Chronicle of Higher Education (on page 31) posits that "Students have this idea that there is no difference between searching on the Web and searching in the library." We have made this same observation repeatedly ourselves, and we focus on changing that idea both in our class instruction and in our one-on-one help in the library. At the same time, we also appreciate how well Google works for some categories of research needs! 

Related to other topics discussed in that article, our librarians of course have for several years created web pages with links to subject-specific resources, including course-specific. Starting last year, Susan Avery has worked with Tabor faculty to help them set up journal article persistent links in Blackboard course pages.  Also, we (through the ILCSO consortium) this year switched to the Endeavor library system mentioned in the article, and the consortium is now investigating the option of using the system's electronic reserve module. 

On our used book sale truck and shelves, you can find bargains starting at 25 cents. Right now, the selection includes  philosophy books from retired faculty member Arvid Adell. Some of these are titles that we already had in the collection (though if the gift copy was in better shape, we substituted that one for the one we already had), others are ones that do not exactly address our current curriculum. The selection keeps changing, so keep checking!

Again this year I have volunteered to help evaluate, score and rank grant proposals for the Illinois Cooperative Collection Management Program, one of the state-wide consortia of which Staley Library is a member. In FY`02 our library benefited indirectly from one of those grants, for the creation of the database against which we compared our business collection last year. 

Karin Borei
University Librarian

Earlier issues of this newsletter can be found here.

Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL