Part two of a two-part series describes changes in the WSU Libraries over 25 years. Part one covered the history of Terrell Library.
About the time Terrell Library was being constructed in the early 1990s, the Washington State University Libraries as a whole had yet to launch a website. Today, the libraries’ website, which recently underwent a makeover, gets more than 1.3 million page views a year and averages more than 3,600 a day.
This is just one of the many ways WSU Libraries have changed over the past 25 years. The rapid pace of technology and the internet have transformed the libraries like many other areas within the university. What follows is a sampling of the libraries’ evolution since 1994, when construction on Terrell Library was completed.
To commemorate Terrell Library’s 25th year, WSU Libraries is holding an anniversary celebration from 2-3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, at the Terrell outdoor plaza. Speakers are WSU President Kirk Schulz; WSU Libraries Dean Jay Starratt; WSU School of Design and Construction Associate Professor Phil Gruen; and retired Managing Principal Architect Stephen Hindley of ALSC Architects in Spokane and a WSU alum. Refreshments, including Ferdinand’s grabbers, will be served.
On the technical side
Twenty-five years ago, the WSU Libraries had yet to start digitizing unique and local digital content, according to Alex Merrill, head of systems and technical operations.
“Now the libraries manages more than 300,000 pieces of unique and local digital content ranging from photos and documents to 3-D models and rich-media presentations, which receive more than 30,000 page views a month,” he said.
In 1994, the libraries’ spaces were predominantly set up to accommodate students studying solo, Merrill said. Today, the libraries have adapted spaces to keep up with changing pedagogy and practice and offer more than 30 spaces that can be reserved online, designed to accommodate study and collaboration groups.
“So far in 2019, these spaces have all been occupied the equivalent of 1,000 days,” he said.
WSU Libraries shared an online catalog, called Griffin, of primarily print materials with the Eastern Washington University Libraries 25 years ago, Merrill said. This only searched a subset of items held at both institutions, less than two million records.
“Today, WSU Libraries’ users can search through more than 300 million items from libraries and publishers around the world,” he said.
In the early 1990s, WSU Libraries were part of the six-member Cascade consortium, and the closest lending relationships were with the University of Idaho and EWU, Merrill said. Now the libraries are part of the Orbis Cascade Alliance along with 37 member institutions in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The WSU Libraries share more than 250,000 items a year and serve more than 275,000 students.
On the public services side
Reference service was offered in person, by phone and by postal mail 25 years ago, said Associate Dean Beth Blakesley. Email reference was just catching on in some places in 1994. Today, WSU Libraries offer reference service 24/7 through chat technology and consortial arrangements, in addition to in person, phone and email.
In 1994, librarians offering instruction to users spent a good deal of time on mechanics, Blakesley said. The “world wide web” had just emerged, and CD-ROM databases were converting to online.
“Library employees did a lot of typing, and we had just begun moving toward word processing,” said Access Services Manager Sue Shipman. “Many library employees shared typewriters and even a computer. The internet was very new, and we were only starting to use it for anything.”
“Computer skills weren’t as ubiquitous, and we spent a lot of effort teaching people how to navigate systems and how to interpret the results, in addition to search strategies and research methods,” Blakesley said. “As people became computer literate, library instruction transformed into information literacy instruction, shifting the focus toward search strategies, source evaluation and other higher-level concerns, like ethical use of information.”
Many people did not yet have a personal desktop computer, much less a laptop, in 1994, Blakesley said.
“Tablets, smart phones, and other mobile devices—and our need to design our tools to display correctly on them—were in the future,” she said. “Public computers were in great demand, since no one had a computer with them.”
Twenty-five years ago, people may have been searching indexes online, but there was still the need to locate the sources in paper formats, Blakesley said. The last couple of decades have seen an explosion in the amount of content that is now available digitally.
“Library instruction and reference service in the days before the ‘Find It’ button also included helping people figure out how to take database results and efficiently search the catalog for location information,” she said.
Although the majority of journals are now online, this wasn’t always the case. In 1994, as Shipman recalled, most journals arrived in paper format and underwent a lengthy physical check-in process. The Current Journals room, which now also houses the library instruction classroom, video collections, huddle stations and furniture for group study, used to contain only shelving with print magazines, journals and newspapers.
In 1994, many academic libraries like WSU Libraries still had their card catalogs intact, as online catalogs did not yet include all older materials, Blakesley said.
“Today, discovery systems like WSU’s Search It offer access to a wide array of resources, not only books, but also articles,” she said. “Many items are available online in full-text formats with another click.”
People were just learning how to download search results to their floppy disks 25 years ago, Blakesley said. Flash drives weren’t introduced until 2000.
“Printers got a workout with people printing out catalog information, such as call numbers and locations,” she said. “Now people can send information from the library website to their phone and go find a book.”
Other library changes
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) keeps statistics on academic libraries around the country. A comparison of ARL figures for WSU Libraries 25 years ago to the present follows:
In 1994, the libraries held 1,757,256 volumes system wide. As of 2018, they have 3,156,906 volumes.
The libraries spent $653,267 on monographs in 1994. Currently, they spend $629,642 on books.
In 1994, the libraries spent $2,433,573 on journal subscriptions, mostly printed. Today, they spend $6,166,987 on journal subscriptions, virtually all electronic.
The libraries spent $95,366 on commercial binding for print journal issues in 1994. Today, they have $8,250 budgeted for commercial binding this fiscal year.
In 1994, the libraries had 137 staff members across the WSU system. They currently have 109.
The libraries served 16,497 undergraduate students and 2,034 graduate students in 1994. In 2018, they supported 25,851 undergraduate and 3,685 graduate students.
Support the next 25 years of Terrell Library by making a donation to the Glenn Terrell Endowment for Excellence in Student Services. Your gift will help provide crucial funding in a number of areas, including the acquisition of cutting-edge technology; design and implementation of collaborative learning spaces; and access to a rich array of electronic and print resources.
Part one of a two-part series covers the history of Terrell Library. Part two will describe the changes in the WSU Libraries over 25 years.
It’s hard to imagine what the Pullman campus would be like without Terrell Library. On any given day, visitors stream through the atrium area on their way to Terrell’s study spaces and stacks, the CUB, or to Holland Library next door.
Then there is the iconic Terrell skylight, which University Archivist Mark O’English said “serves as a backdrop for countless graduation photos, as a place to gather summer sun, a favorite place for young children to wave at those beneath (or above) them, and simply as one of WSU’s most picturesque features.”
This year marks the 25thyear of Terrell Library’s existence, and to commemorate the occasion, WSU Libraries is holding an anniversary celebration from 2-3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, at the Terrell outdoor plaza. Speakers are WSU President Kirk Schulz; WSU Libraries Dean Jay Starratt; WSU School of Design and Construction Director and Associate Professor Phil Gruen; and retired Managing Principal Architect Stephen Hindley of ALSC Architects in Spokane and a WSU alum. Refreshments, including hot dogs and Ferdinand’s ice cream, will be served.
‘Jam packed in Holland’
Mary Gilles, retired business and economics librarian, remembers well how it was before Terrell Library was built. In the late 1980s, Holland Library housed not only books and periodicals, but also several library divisions and reference librarians. Cubicles were made of Masonite pegboard, offering little to no sound absorption. Three computers were shared among 13 librarians and staff.
“We were all jam packed in Holland,” Gilles said. “It was noisy, and there was no privacy.”
An independent library building consultant in 1987 concluded that the WSU library facilities were inadequate. Built in 1950, Holland Library no longer met current needs for seating, work and study spaces, storage, and modern computers and other related digital technology.
The consultant recommended that 150,000 square feet of new space be added and that Holland Library be renovated. WSU initiated the Holland Library Addition and Renovation Project in 1988, a plan to construct a new building and then renovate and remodel Holland Library. But the Holland renovation never took place.
“We were all jam packed in Holland…It was noisy, and there was no privacy.”
—Mary Gilles, retired business and economics librarian
An underground library
In May 1989, the Washington State Legislature appropriated construction money for the new building. The architectural firms ALSC Architects and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership of Portland, Ore., identified two locations for the addition: the green immediately to the west of Holland Library and a small parking lot to the east of Holland between the library and the CUB.
The latter site was chosen, Gilles said, but the university had several conditions: 1) no tall building could be constructed in the heart of campus; 2) parking had to be replaced; and 3) the new building could not block the scenic view of Kamiak Butte and the Palouse hills to the north.
Other goals included creating a pleasing space for study and research; providing an environment that supported staff productivity; serving as a secure and controlled environment for the library’s collections; constructing an energy-efficient building; preserving and enhancing campus green space; reducing vehicle-pedestrian conflict; and creating a focal point that would define the campus core.
The architects proposed a five-story structure with three levels of library space and two levels of parking. Only one level would be built above ground, with four below.
“So instead of going up, the construction team had to dig down,” Gilles said.
‘A parade of dump trucks’
It took two years to excavate the 140,000 cubic yards of dirt and foliage between Holland and the CUB and to shore up both buildings before construction on the new addition could even begin. People subsequently dubbed the excavation the “The Hole to Nowhere” and “The Big Dig.”
“There was a parade of dump trucks,” Gilles said. “Everything they excavated had to be removed. They took the dirt to a location on the edge of campus. They were running those trucks eight to 10 hours a day.”
Graham Construction of Spokane, the company assigned to the excavation, hosted a “bottoming out party” with a catered lunch and informal softball game in the bottom of the hole when digging was complete, Hindley said.
“The hole provided the equivalent of a regulation softball field,” he said.
Preparing for the big move
Construction of the new building continued over the next two years. Librarians and other staff working next door grew accustomed to the sight of giant cranes in the hole and the sound of pile drivers shaking the ground. But it was, as Gilles put it, “for a good purpose.”
“It was an exciting time for the libraries,” said Susan Lundquist, director of administrative services. “We needed the space, we needed the facility. Those of us who worked in Holland could see the progress of the building construction as it went on.”
By spring of 1994, the new addition was finished, ready for books and people. Now came the herculean task of moving half of Holland Library’s book collections—more than 400,000 volumes—to the new addition in five working days.
The goal of the move was to transfer all of the Dewey collection, all of the compact storage collection and the Library of Congress classed collection A-H. Some parts of the move, such as the compact storage materials, began earlier than the designated move week on May 9-13.
Daryl Herbison, retired library computer specialist, was put in charge of moving logistics. It took him a year to plan out the details beforehand: calculating the number of shelves in Holland, mapping sections in the new building where the volumes would go, installing new shelves and temporarily marking them with starting and ending call numbers.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me,” he said. “I didn’t have the right background, but I did have certain skill sets that lent themselves to the project.”
Keeping spirits high
Once the new shelves were in place, Franklin Elementary School fourth-graders helped to distribute some 18,000 bookends throughout the addition’s stacks in preparation for the book move.
In all, 180 library staff and university-wide volunteers split into teams, loaded carts and transferred books from Holland to the new library for four hours a day. A Move Spirit Committee kept spirits high during the move by giving away prizes, printing a daily newsletter, creating commemorative buttons and t-shirts, handing out awards and organizing daily lunches and breaks.
“The biggest highlight of the move was the camaraderie,” Lundquist said. “What a tremendous feeling to be surrounded by the libraries staff to accomplish the huge task of shifting books from Holland to the new library. It is amazing when there is a common goal and everyone is working toward a common task that brings life to our organization.”
“Everybody I talked to felt a great deal of pride at what we accomplished in a short amount of time,” Herbison added. “It was teamwork extraordinaire.”
“It was masterfully planned,” Gilles said. “I cannot say enough good things about Daryl’s work in planning the move.”
Naming the library after Terrell
For 12 years, the new building was referred to as the Holland Addition or, quite simply, the New Library. That changed on May 4, 2006, when it was named after WSU President Glenn Terrell. It was a fitting way to honor the man who often stopped in front of the future site of the new library to talk with students and others during his daily walk from the President’s House to his office.
According to O’English, Terrell was a longtime supporter of the libraries; Owen Science and Engineering Library was built during his tenure.
“Even with that, after his retirement, he said that he wished he’d been able to do more for the libraries while in office,” O’English said. “When he wrote his memoir, The Ministry of Leadership: Heart and Theory, in 2002, half the proceeds from sales were designated to the Library Excellence Fund.”
Terrell passed away on Aug. 30, 2013, and the celebration of his life took place in the Terrell Library atrium Oct. 10, “with students and co-workers from his WSU days returning from around the country to remember him in the space that bears his name,” O’English said.
Adapting to changing times
Twenty-five years after its construction and dedication, Terrell Library has more than met the expectations Hindley had for the facility he helped design.
“Terrell Library was designed to accept and adapt to the changes of the future, although no one could then predict how far those changes would take us,” he said. “Today, we see minor changes in the library, primarily driven by program changes, but the building has adapted well and remains true to the original design as a beautiful asset on the WSU campus, one that remains a great source of pride for those of us that had the privilege to work on it.”
Gilles derived great pleasure from working in Terrell until her retirement at the end of June. Gone were the noisy cubicles. Librarians had their own offices with windows and a computer that didn’t need to be shared with someone else.
“It’s a beautiful building,” she said. “Working here just buoys the spirit.”
Support the next 25 years of Terrell Library by making a donation to the Glenn Terrell Endowment for Excellence in Student Services. Your gift will help provide crucial funding in a number of areas, including the acquisition of cutting-edge technology; design and implementation of collaborative learning spaces; and access to a rich array of electronic and print resources.
Kim Andersen will receive the 2019 WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award during a 1 p.m. reception Wednesday, May 15, in the Terrell Library Atrium.Andersen is a clinical professor in the Honors College. The award recognizes a non-library faculty or staff member who has shown consistent support for the WSU Libraries. » More ...
Faculty at WSU are invited to explore open educational resources (OER) and apply for funding to adapt or create them for their own courses.
March’s Faculty-Led Workshops will feature pertinent OER information and perspectives. Many WSU faculty members are employing OER and other textbook alternatives, with great success. They often report higher levels of engagement and positive feedback from students after switching to low-cost or no-cost digital learning materials. “Transitioning your course to use Open Educational Resources (OER)” will be held on March 5 and “Navigating the OER Environment” will be held on March 6. Registration and further details are available on the Learning Innovations website under Faculty Led Workshops.
The workshops will serve as a primer for the Affordable Learning Grant applications, which are due March 18, 2019. The grants range from $1,500 to $4,500 and are designed to offset the time and expense required to develop and/or implement high quality, freely available digital material in classes.
Proposal submission is open to all current faculty members and instructors. The grants were developed in response to student concerns about course material costs. Funding is provided by the Office of the President and grants are intended to support transitioning away from expensive commercial textbooks and instead explore new curricular strategies that employ the use of freely available digital course material of equivalent or higher quality.
Illustrations from the WSU Veterinary History Collection are on display now through summer session at the Animal Health Library in Wegner Hall 170, part of the twice‑yearly “Art in the Library” program.
“We hope that in some small way, the exhibit might bring greater student awareness of the collection, greater faculty awareness of the process and work behind these large historical collections, and greater public awareness of the need for preservation in times of natural disaster,” said Suzanne Fricke, WSU animal health sciences librarian.
“Art in the Library” exhibits feature animal-themed works, typically with a connection to the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine. For more information, visit the WSU Veterinary Medicine news website.
Five centuries of veterinary history
In 1978, shortly after a fire threatened his home in Santa Barbara, Calif., Dr. J. Fred Smithcors began donating his extensive collection of some 1,200 printed books, pamphlets, manuscripts and ephemera to WSU. Today, the WSU Veterinary History Collection consists of almost 1,900 items dating from the 16th to the 20th century.
Considered one of the finest collections devoted to the history of veterinary medicine, the WSU collection contains such landmark works as “Anatomia del Cavallo” (1707) by Carlo Ruini, considered the father of equine anatomy; Andrew Snape’s “Anatomy of an Horse” (1683); and George Stubbs’ folio, “The Anatomy of the Horse” (1766). Smithcors also collected the earliest American imprints on veterinary topics, including multiple editions of “The Citizen and Countryman’s Experienced Farrier” (1764, 1797, 1803 and 1839).
Smithcors’ wife, Ann, counts among her favorites in the collection a book her husband wrote: “Evolution of the Veterinary Art,” published in 1957. It is a narrative account of veterinary practices through 1850.
“This really tells the story of veterinary medicine in a very readable way,” she said. “You do not need to be in the profession to enjoy learning about the early years.”
For those who visit the exhibit, Ann said she hopes they will take away “a new enthusiasm for the profession, excitement about what huge contributions veterinarians have made both to human and animal health, and a desire to explore more by visiting WSU Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections and handling some of these antiquarian books, which were so lovingly collected over the years.”
First veterinary history course
In 1955, while on the faculty of Michigan State University, Smithcors developed the first course in veterinary history to be taught at any school or college of veterinary medicine in the United States. As a visiting professor to the Pullman campus, he lectured on veterinary history every fall from 1978 until 1998.
“I always remember Dr. Smithcors stopping in the then Veterinary Medical/Pharmacy Library to chat during his annual visits,” said Vicki Croft, retired head of the WSU Animal Health Library. “He was such a gentleman and so knowledgeable and committed to the study of veterinary history and its importance to modern‑day DVM students.”
Smithcors published more than 100 articles in professional journals on topics ranging from endocrinology to history, edited definitive texts in large animal medicine and surgery, and authored several books on veterinary history.
He was founder and first president of the American Veterinary Medical History Society (AVMHS), which honored him by creating the Smithcors History of Veterinary Medicine Symposium in 2013. The AVMHS also sponsors an annual essay contest in Smithcors’ name, open to all DVM students currently enrolled in veterinary colleges in the United States, Canada and West Indies.
In her 1957 book “All But My Life,” Holocaust survivor and human rights activist Gerda Weissmann Klein wrote, “The part of my formative years over which fate cast such a large shadow imposes an enormous burden and is not fully sorted out even now. No manual for survival was ever handed to me, nor were any self‑help books available. Yet somehow I made my way, grappling with feelings that would let me reconcile difficult memories with hope for the future, and balancing pain with joy, death with life, loss with gain, tragedy with happiness.”
Klein’s book and some 400 others are part of a personal collection of Holocaust literature recently donated to WSU by alumnus Lawrence Seeborg (’62 Economics). For 50 years, Seeborg sought histories and first‑person accounts from Jewish survivors to build his collection.
“Every story is different,” he said. “There was a lot of luck involved in who survived the camps, but also a lot of determination. I’ve always been interested in the human nature aspects of the Holocaust and how people adapt to very difficult circumstances. I also had a great deal of empathy for the survivors’ plight.”
In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, WSU Libraries has created an exhibit, “Voices from the Holocaust: Personal Narratives in the Seeborg Holocaust Collection,” in the Terrell Library exhibit case. The exhibit runs through Feb. 3.
Learning from Holocaust survivors
Seeborg began collecting Holocaust literature after seeing the movie version of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in 1959. Then in 1983, he attended the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Washington, D.C., where he met several survivors in person. Seeborg also learned of plans to build the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The museum was completed in 1993, and Seeborg attended the opening.
“The museum’s bookstore was an important source for books being added to my collection,” he said.
Several years later, Seeborg read Serge Klarsfeld’s book “French Children of the Holocaust,” published in 1996. The book contains the names and photographs of more than 2,500 French children who died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.
“This book reinforced my efforts to collect first‑person accounts about the Holocaust,” Seeborg said. “It is difficult to look at the hundreds of French children in this book who were transported to their deaths by the Nazis in World War II.”
Collection donated in father’s honor
Seeborg said he donated the collection to his alma mater in honor of his father, Edward. It also adds to WSU Libraries’ existing collection of Holocaust materials; most of Seeborg’s books are new to the Libraries.
“I’ve had these books in my collection 30 to 40 years,” he said. “These are people talking to me. I wanted these books to be kept together. There is a lot of satisfaction knowing that they will be.”
Among the titles Seeborg considers noteworthy is Klein’s “All But My Life.” In it, Klein details the loss of her parents and brother, her own incarceration in a series of labor camps, and the 350‑mile death march she survived before being liberated at the end of the war. Of the 4,000 women forced to march by the Nazis, only 150 lived.
“This is an important book in the literature of the Holocaust,” Seeborg said. “Klein devoted her life to educating others about the Holocaust when she resettled in the United States after World War II.”
Soon to be 100 years old, the Washington State Fight Song is the Cougar Nation’s familiar and much‑loved anthem. A new exhibit at WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections celebrates the iconic song as well as the two women who wrote it.
“When you think about the things that make WSU unique, the fight song is certainly one of them,” said Mark O’English, university archivist and exhibit curator. “It has gained a place in popular culture and been used as wakeup music for space shuttle astronauts.”
“Win the Day for Crimson and Gray: Celebrating a Century of the Fight Song” opens with a reception from 3–4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at MASC in Terrell Library. The exhibit is open for viewing during MASC’s regular hours, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday, and will remain up through the final full week of April.
As the patriotic fervor from World War I began to subside, students at Washington State College found themselves uninspired by the songs associated with their school, according to O’English. Two senior students, Zella Melcher of Spokane, Wash., and Phyllis Sayles of Lapwai, Idaho, took on the task of writing new music to energize the student body.
Melcher was an active, outgoing soprano, the only woman in the glee club and one of a small group of women who had organized the campus’s new music honorary, Mu Phi Epsilon. Among the first recruits into that group was Sayles, a transfer student and pianist from Northwestern University, where she’d compiled a book of that school’s fight songs. For WSC’s song, Melcher wrote the words and Sayles the music.
“They debuted their creation to great acclaim on Feb. 20, 1919, at a student body meeting, and one century later their Fight Songstill inspires WSU students,” O’English said. “While other songs are affiliated with the university, notably ‘Crimson and Gray Girl,’ ‘All Hail to Washington State,’ ‘Old Wazzu’ or even Andy Grammer’s ‘Back Home,’ the Fight Song has been the campus’s pre‑eminent song from day one.”
Clif Stratton knows the difference library instruction makes for his students. For more than five years, he has brought students in his “Roots of Contemporary Issues” class to Terrell Library to meet with Corey Johnson, WSU’s instruction and assessment librarian. Johnson teaches the students how to find suitable primary and secondary sources for their research assignments, a skill the students will need for the remainder of their academic careers at WSU.
“Corey deals in concrete examples in his demonstrations of how to use databases,” said Stratton, assistant clinical professor in the Department of History and assistant director of the “Roots of Contemporary Issues” program. “This approach has been instrumental in helping model for students when to place limits and what kinds of limits to place on their searches in order to return the most relevant materials.”
“The demos have also been critical in helping students to realize the value of good search term combinations, to understand the differences in types of sources, to avoid the pitfall of assuming that everything in the catalog called a book is actually a scholarly study of their topic, and to embrace trial and error in the search process as a way to hone one’s skills,” he said.
After the demonstrations, Stratton and Johnson allow for work time in the library, where students can immediately apply what Johnson has taught to their specific research topics. They can pull the sources they’ve just located, as well as any other subject-relevant sources.
“The proximity of the demos to work time allows students to leave the class session with a sense that they’ve not simply received information and instructions but have had the chance to successfully apply that information to their projects,” Stratton said. “They tend to be much more confident in their ability to repeat the steps ahead of the research assignment due dates.”
Benefits backed by study
The Greater Western Library Alliance conducted a study in the 2014‑15 school year of 1,725 freshman‑level courses and 25,327 students at 12 research universities, including WSU. The study sought to determine what effect library instruction participation and specific library instruction teaching methods have on student retention and other measures of academic success.
The study revealed that for eight of the 12 universities, attendance in library training classes is highly associated with student retention. In terms of academic success, students who receive library instruction can be expected to complete 1.8 more credit hours per academic year and earn 0.02 points higher in their first‑year GPA than those who did not attend training.
At WSU, there was a positive correlation between having participated in library instruction and a higher retention rate, as well as earning 1.4 more first‑year credit hours.
“Librarians understand there are many factors that are at play in facilitating academic success, but it is also clear that participating in library instruction is one of the central ways students develop the information literacy skills needed to have a successful undergraduate experience,” Johnson said.
Helping students overcome library anxiety
Erica England, first‑year experience librarian, noted that many first‑year students, whether traditional freshmen or transfer students, lack the necessary skills that are imperative to successfully perform the level of research required in higher education.
“Unfortunately many of these same students are also coming to us with library anxiety — a fear of not only the library itself, but also of librarians, and this is one hurdle that we must overcome as soon as possible,” England said.
All library instruction programming should be fun as well as informative and educational, England said. To this end, she has incorporated such tools as escape rooms and sensationalized sample search topics to make the library instruction sessions more engaging.
“Library instruction should also be designed to meet students where their needs are,” England said. Students receive necessary foundational research skills that subject-specific librarians can then build on when they are in their core discipline classes.
“It’s also extremely important for students to see the strong partnerships that have been developed with teaching faculty across campus,” she said. “This helps students see the value in the library and makes forming connections with them so much easier.”
Extension of classwork
English instructor Megan Hall is one of the teaching faculty who has partnered with England for library instruction sessions. Hall schedules two or three sessions each semester for her English 101 students and said they have had a very positive experience.
“I view the instruction sessions at the library as an extension of our classwork, so I try to scaffold my coursework in a way that students are at a place in their current writing projects where the sessions are immediately relevant and productive for them,” she said.
During England’s sessions, students engage with research tools and concepts in hands‑on activities designed to help students identify, find and evaluate credible sources and effective search terms.
“These are invaluable skills not only for English 101, but also for the academic writing and research that students will complete during the rest of their degree work,” Hall said.
Hall has also witnessed how students move from being reserved at first to being more at ease and confident in their research skills.
“I think that scheduling several library sessions during the semester helps students learn how to take advantage of the resources they have available to them on campus,” she said. “Many students have not spent time in the library beyond campus tours, so getting them into the library and talking with librarians is such a valuable experience. I’ve had many students tell me that after our library sessions, they felt comfortable returning to the library on their own and asking for help with their research projects.”
WSU Libraries are seeking student, faculty and staff volunteers to participate in one-hour focus groups for the redesign of the libraries’ website.
The focus groups will take place at 11 a.m. on Jan. 9, 3 p.m. on Jan. 10 and noon on Jan. 11 at the Holland and Terrell Libraries. All participants will receive $15 credited to their WSU account upon completion.
To prevent another round of cuts to WSU Libraries’ journals subscriptions, WSU President Kirk Schulz and WSU Provost Dan Bernardo recently designated an additional $150,000 to the libraries’ budget.
This is the second consecutive year the president and provost have allocated additional money to the libraries’ journal fund, with $500,000 designated in 2017.
Like other academic libraries around the U.S. and world, WSU Libraries face the daunting task of maintaining academic journal subscriptions for faculty, staff and students, amid rising inflation costs from publishers. The result is yearly cuts to journal packages and diminishing title offerings.
“In terms of saving our journal budget, we’re long past cutting out any easily shed titles,” said WSU Libraries Dean Jay Starratt. “At this point, any journal we propose cutting has been used or cited by WSU researchers, or are publications in which WSU researchers have published in.
“We are truly grateful for this funding by the president and provost, not only because we have the means to keep our academic journal packages for another year, but also because for the first time in 30 years, we have moved up in Association of Research Libraries rankings as a result of not cutting titles,” Starratt added.
Long history of cancellations
According to Joel Cummings, head of collection development, up until the past two years, the WSU Libraries had nearly annual journal cancellations since about 1992. The libraries today subscribe to large journal packages and databases, which have the advantage of offering more variety, but without the ability to pick which titles get bundled.
In general, prices for these packages go up about 6 percent per year on average, Cummings said. Even with stable funding, WSU Libraries fell behind.
“It is encouraging to gain ground in this area,” Starratt noted. “The materials budget is improving, finally allowing us to match our achievements and excellence in information literacy instruction and the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, which has brought in more than $2 million in grant funds.”
Open access repositories
One avenue for ensuring that information is accessible in a more equitable way, even to groups that can’t afford high subscription costs to access journals, is publishing work in an open access repository, according to Talea Anderson, WSU scholarly communications librarian.
“I think open access repositories can provide visibility to a variety of research and educational materials, some of which hasn’t traditionally had a home in academic publications, like datasets, theses and supplementary materials,” Anderson said. “For some disciplines that thrive on rapid dissemination of information, open access repositories can also be really useful for conveying information quickly.”
Open to WSU researchers, the university’s Research Exchange promotes the preservation and sharing of scholarship produced at WSU. All faculty members, staff, students and affiliates can share their research in any digital format, including articles, book chapters, working papers, technical reports, conference presentations, datasets, images, media and more.