2018-2023 Strategic Plan – Part 2, Values & Priorities

My last post detailed the new mission and vision of the McGraw-Page Library. This month’s post will explore the values and priorities that the Library uses to guide its decisions. Much of what is mentioned below is fairly self-explanatory, but if anyone would like to engage in a conversation about why the Library considers these values to be worth explicitly stating, I would love to hear from you.

Our Values

The McGraw-Page Library is committed to:

  • Liberal arts teaching, research, and scholarship
  • Ease of access
  • Innovation
  • Life-long learning
  • Preservation of knowledge
  • Continual improvement of collections
  • Intellectual and academic freedom
  • Collaboration with the campus community
  • Mutual respect and civility
  • Responsible stewardship

Our Priorities

  1. Randolph-Macon College Students
  2. Current & Emeriti Faculty
  3. Staff & Administrators
  4. Alumni
  5. Community Members

We felt it was beneficial to state these priorities in our strategic plan because we do weight the needs of these groups differently when we make decisions. Ideally, we would love to support all of these groups equally, but because both space and budgets are tight, choices sometimes need to be made. This list helps to guide those choices, especially when they are difficult.

Coming Soon: Tipasa Interlibrary Loan

Great news! Our interlibrary loan service is moving to the cloud! We have started the migration from the ILLiad platform to OCLC’s Tipasa product. We hope to be totally up and running on the new system by the start of the Spring 2019 Semester.

Some of the big advantages to Tipasa are:

  1. You can login to the system with your R-MC campus network login (YES! One less password to remember!)
  2. You will be able to get interlibrary loan notices by text message and/or email.

Want to give it a try? Follow these directions to place a request.

1. Log into your Tipasa User Portal:

2. Click on the “Create Request” Button:

3. Select the appropriate request type

Image shows request type buttons under Submit an Interlibrary Loan Request text

Request types are:

  • Book Loan or Chapter Copy 
  • Journal Article
  • Other Material: this could be a music CD, DVD, microform, or anything else.

4. Enter as much information as you have about the item you are requesting.

Only some fields are marked required with an asterisk (*), but please enter any and all the information you have. If you have a URL from the website where you learned about the source, please include that (that can go in the new “Where did you learn about this item” box!).

There is also an “Item not needed after” field. Please know that we always try to get materials as quickly as we can. If you need something very quickly, it’s best to follow up your request with an email to ill@rmc.edu, and we will do what we can. 

The more information you can give us, the better our chances of being able to get the item for you quickly. 

5. When finished entering your request details, click the “Submit Request” button at the bottom of the form.

Go ahead and give it a try if you’d like. Please note that in this beginning stage of Tipasa you will only be able to enter your requests manually. We are working with our database vendors now so that soon request information will automatically populate the request form like you are currently able to do with ILLiad.

Please contact Kelli Salmon at ill@rmc.edu if you have any questions about using Tipasa!

2018-2023 Strategic Plan – Part 1, Mission & Vision

In May 2018, staff of the McGraw-Page Library finalized the Library’s new strategic plan. Intended to set the strategic direction for the next five years, the strategic plan includes new mission and vision statements, and outlines the Library’s top priorities. My posts over the next few months will introduce the strategic plan. 

McGraw-Page Library Mission

The McGraw-Page Library supports the mission of the College by providing quality resources and innovative services that foster lifelong learning through exploration, discovery, and creativity.  

The Library is an integral part of Randolph-Macon College academic success. We provide resources that support student projects and, to a somewhat lesser extent, faculty research, and those resources are vetted according to our professional standards. That means that we don’t just add the latest bestseller on a topic, but we evaluate publishers, authors, and platforms and read reviews to ensure that high-quality resources are available. Similarly, we look at our services, and at ideas for new services, in light of campus need and the value that a service can provide the library and the College.

The goal to foster lifelong learning is found on many college campuses, and in many library mission statements, because the value of a college education cannot be truly experienced until after graduation. If learning only happens for the four years a student attends classes, its ability to impact the rest of their life is severely limited. But if a student can continue to learn, and thus adapt to the changes that life brings, their potential for success is higher. So the mission of the library is not to serve up ready-made, easily-digested packets of information, but to provide the tools needed for students to find what they need, explore what they’re interested in, and broaden their horizons. This puts students in control of the process and prepares them for the complex information environment that exists in the “real world.”

McGraw-Page Library Vision

The McGraw-Page Library strives to be the intellectual center of Randolph-Macon College. We encourage multi- and inter-disciplinarity through active participation in the academic and creative life of the College. We create vibrant, welcoming physical and virtual environments that support teaching, learning, research, and discovery. We collect, preserve, promote, and facilitate access to the best scholarly and educational resources in a variety of formats, and excel at innovative and responsive services. We educate members of the campus community in the use of academic and technological resources in order to prepare them for a complex information environment. We foster a culture of inclusiveness that reflects and respects the diversities of our community.

As the intellectual center of the R-MC campus, the Library would like to be a neutral space in which members of different disciplines, both students and faculty, can meet to share ideas and projects. It is easy to focus on one’s own major or area of interest and to simply be unaware of the research or conversations happening elsewhere. The library would like to be a place where interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity can thrive, where projects can be showcased, where students can learn from one another’s work.

We have a vision that our physical space will be intellectually and creatively inspiring to those who use it, as well as easy to navigate and use.  We plan to continue investing in our physical and digital collections so that they support the College’s evolving curriculum, as well as faculty research, and so that they reflect the diversity of the campus community. We view the library not as a passive repository for resources that are available on-demand, but as a proactive organization that is reaching out to users, engaging with them, and educating them about the tools, resources, and processes that can help them succeed both academically and beyond.

Next month’s post will explore the McGraw-Page Library’s values and priorities, and in March and April, our five strategic goals will be introduced.

What’s New @ the McGraw-Page Library–Fall 2018 Edition

There have been some changes to the library and its resources this summer! Read below to learn what’s new and how it may impact you.

What’s New?

  • The new library website is now live! The new website makes navigation easier so that library information and resources are easier to fine.
  • The library’s DVD collection has been relocated to the shelves next to and behind the current journals. This has allowed us to remove a tall shelf on the main level of the library, making it feel more open.

Canvas & Folio Workshops

  • Canvas and Folio workshops will be happening through August 28, and additional Instructional Design & Technology workshops for students and faculty will be offered throughout the fall. View the schedule of workshops.

Course Reserves

  • Physical materials: Books (library or personal copies), DVDs, and other physical items can be put on reserve at the Library Information Desk. Faculty should allow at least 48 hours for course materials to be put on reserve. View guidelines for placing materials on reserve, or contact Luke Haushalter with questions at (804) 752-7302 or LukeHaushalter@rmc.edu.
  • Digital materials: Articles and streaming videos that are available in Kanopy or other databases can be posted directly in Canvas. Save time using these guidelines for Creating Persistent Links so that students can access these resources off-campus. Questions about persistent links? Contact Nancy Falciani-White at (804) 752-7256 or NancyFalcianiWhite@rmc.edu. Questions about Canvas? Contact Lily Zhang at 752-3216 or zzhang@rmc.edu.

Research Instruction

  • Librarians are available to provide research instruction in R-MC classes. You can bring your class to the library, or we can come to the regular classroom. Librarians can help students learn how to search relevant research databases effectively, construct research questions, evaluate sources, and think about information from an academic perspective. Contact your subject librarian to learn more.
  • The subject guides that the library has created continue to be linked in Canvas courses under the “Library Resources” navigation. If you’d like to recommend changes to your guide, contact your subject librarian.

Review your Library Account

  • Now is a great time to review what you have checked out from the library and renew or return items. View and renew your checked out items via MaconCat, or contact Information Desk staff. 

New Resources

We have added several exciting new collections since the spring. All are available through the Databases tab on the new website, and are available to current R-MC students, staff, and faculty.

  • Access World News provides access to news from around the world. This database replaces the news content previously found in LexisNexis and America’s News.
  • Atlantic Monthly Archive
  • HeinOnline Government, Politics, & Law is the world’s largest fully searchable, image-based government document and legal research database.
  • Nation Magazine Archive
  • National Review Archive
  • New Republic Archive
  • Oxford Art Online: Contains Grove Dictionary of Art and Benezit Dictionary of Artists
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch Archive
  • U.S. News & World Report Archive
  • Vanderbilt Television News Archive

As always, your comments or questions are welcome. Please send them to library@rmc.edu or contact your R-MC Subject Librarian.

Digital and Information Literacies – a 2018 Key Issue in Teaching and Learning

Each year, the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) surveys individuals in higher education about what is most “exciting, pressing, consequential, and relevant” in teaching and learning. These key issues are published as part of their “7 Things You Should Know…” series.

The 2018 Key Issues in Teaching and Learning identified Digital and Information Literacies as the #5 issue. Digital and Information Literacies shows up on the “Key Issues” list regularly. In 2017, in part due to the 2016 election and the rise of “fake news” as a household phrase, the issue was #3, while in 2016 it was #11. Regardless of its place on the list, the fact that it is consistently present makes it a topic that institutions of higher education should be discussing and addressing.

ELI defines literacy as “the ability to find, evaluate, select, use, and create something.” And the focus on digital and information literacies is based on the demands of 21st-century learning and working, as they are identified by the National Council of Teachers of English. ELI highlights the extent to which technologies are changing the workforce and how many jobs that current students will have in their lifetimes do not exist yet. This makes it “critical for workers to be agile, adaptable, and willing to continue to learn.”

What is Randolph-Macon College doing to ensure our students are information and digitally literate?

  • Every ENGL 185 class has an information literacy component, often in partnership with a librarian who ensures that students know how to use the latest library resources in their research. Unfortunately many students can place out of ENGL 185, but students who take it learn not just how to find information (peer-reviewed articles, books, news stories), but also how to evaluate those resources in light of the assignment (the information need). Picking the right source to meet that need and using it properly  and ethically are also important parts of being information literate, and using the work of others to create something of your own, be it a research paper, poster, presentation, or anything else.
  • Librarians are available to meet with students one-on-one to discuss these topics, and are working to bring these skills, at a more complex level, to upper-division classes in the majors.
  • Digital literacy skills are being taught by the Instructional Design & Technology staff in workshops and sessions that teach digital storytelling and our electronic portfolio system.

These interactions with students provide a good foundation for addressing information and digital literacy needs on campus. Embedding these skills more formally into the curriculum and providing scaffolded support throughout a student’s four years at R-MC would strengthen students’ abilities in these areas, allowing them to transfer those skills to a work environment.

While the tools and the context will change over time, skills such as knowing how to evaluate information or media, taking into consideration issues of ownership and authorship, will help ensure that R-MC students have what they need to continue to be flexible and creative learners long after they graduate.

Resources for Campus Conversations

Whether you learn about current events through a particular news site like the New York Times or BBC News, or through social media sites like Twitter, information moves quickly, and it’s easy to learn about an event or issue and then lose sight of it as another quickly takes its place. Because of the speed at which information flows, it can be difficult to educate yourself with the background needed to thoughtfully evaluate the events that are occurring. Often all we end up with are snippets of stories, anecdotes, or clickbait headlines designed to generate a gut reaction. Yet our understanding of these events and their social and historical contexts influences our beliefs, and may ultimately impact who we vote for.

The library has created a guide, called “Campus Conversations-Resources” to gather together resources on some of these topics. The goal is to provide more information about subjects that can sometimes be hard to talk about. Books, websites, DVDs, and other resources are made available on these topics, along with call numbers, if the resource is one the library owns. Topics include Free Speech, Race, Colorism, Disabilities (learning and physical), Religion, and others.

Use these resources to become more informed about important topics being discussed around the world, and help move the conversation beyond opinion and hearsay. Know of a topic that should be addressed? Email the McGraw-Page Library at library [at] rmc.edu.

Resource page on colorism
Resource page on Colorism

 

Introducing the New Library Logo

New Library LogoI am pleased to introduce the new McGraw-Page Library logo. This logo represents several months of collaboration with the Marketing/Communications office at Randolph-Macon College, to whom we owe our thanks.

Libraries are constantly changing, and how they represent themselves in their print and digital materials needs to change periodically so that they accurately represent themselves.

This logo highlights three areas that the McGraw-Page Library currently emphasizes:

  • Resources (open book icon) continue to be an important service provided by the library, although print books do not represent the majority of what we provide. Ebooks, print and electronic journals, DVDs, streaming videos, databases, and our unique special collections and archives are equally if not more heavily relied upon by our students and faculty. We also provide access to many more resources through our interlibrary loan service and our cooperative borrowing agreements with other libraries. Other resources include our knowledgeable reference librarians and staff and our variety of study spaces, both of which meet critical needs on campus.
  • Technology (smartphone icon) is essential to any college degree obtained in the 21st century, and the library helps to provide both the hardware and software needed for academic and creative work. We provide hardware such as laptop and desktop computers and iPads, and software such as Microsoft Office and the Adobe Creative Suite. Our new MakerSpace includes a 3D printer, Legos®, virtual reality opportunities, and more. Workshops and one-on-one training are available.
  • Creativity (light bulb icon) is facilitated when the resources, environment, and technology are right. The library encourages creative approaches to assignments, thinking, and life by providing the spaces, tools, and support needed to maximize opportunities for creativity.

You can expect to see this logo appearing soon on our website as well as on posters, the annual report, and other materials associated with the library.

McGraw-Page Library Annual Report (2016-17)

The McGraw-Page Library uses its annual report to communicate with stakeholders about the previous year. It provides a window into how we spend our time and our resources, and should reflect our goals and priorities.

You can see the 2016-17 annual report online at http://pub.lucidpress.com/MPL2017/

Comments or questions? Contact me at NancyFalcianiWhite [at] rmc.edu.

Yellow Jackets in the Stacks

Up-close image of a yellow jacket stickerA yellow jacket sticker on the spines of books in the library indicates that the work was written by a member of the Randolph-Macon College community. The McGraw-Page Library has nearly 1000 works written by current and former R-MC students, faculty, and staff. Books by Randolph-Macon College writers are found in the College Archives and the Juvenile and Popular Reading collections, as well as in the circulating collection on the second floor.

You may find these books in the catalog by searching for “Publications of alumni (Randolph-Macon College)” or “Publications of faculty and staff (Randolph-Macon College)” (you may need to login to view results).

Seek them out and you might be inspired to become a future “Yellow Jacket in the Stacks.” #RMClib

Yellow Jacket Stickers on books in the stacks.

Academic Library = Community, not Books

The video below (highlighted by the Scholarly Kitchen blog last week) discusses the success of independent bookstore in spite of online retailers such as Amazon.com.

If we see our product as books, and what we compete on as price, we lose. If we see our product as a service and a community, of which books are one piece, then we can compete. –David Sandberg

As is the case for independent bookstores, the “product” of an academic library has changed. It is no longer just a warehouse of books and the other resources. Rather the academic library provides a place for the community of scholars that exists on the college campus, and the resources are a piece of that community.

Like any community, a community of scholars includes experts (the faculty) and newbies (undergraduates). Courses, readings, research papers, and projects help to bring undergraduates into the community they are choosing to join, be it political science, business, English literature, or education, and moves them ever-closer to being experts themselves.

The academic library is the “intellectual hub” that supports that endeavor, providing the resources, people, services, and tools that make it possible. It has been almost twenty years since academic libraries functioned primarily as warehouses for resources, yet we’re still battling out-dated perceptions of what we do. I look forward to changing the conversation on R-MC’s campus.