Summer at the McGraw-Page Library

The McGraw-Page Library will be taking a break from blog posts over the summer. Look for more news and resources in the Fall! We are concentrating our energy this summer on two major projects:

Launching our new Library and Discovery System, WMS and WorldCat Discovery.

WMS and WorldCat Discovery will replace our MaconCat Library Catalog that we have been using since the mid-1990s, as well as our EBSCO Discovery Service. These new systems integrate some of our existing services, such as Discovery Searching, WorldCat, and interlibrary loan for a more streamlined searching experience. The services are cloud-based, and so bring some efficiencies for staff behind the scenes as well.

We plan to go live with these systems on July 8, 2019, but you can explore the WorldCat Discovery beta search at https://rmc.on.worldcat.org now!

Re-imagining our Subject Guides

The Library has provided subject guides for several years. The purpose of these guides is to provide an introduction to the resources someone might want to use to begin research in a discipline, as well as a connection to the subject librarian who would be available to provide research support. The guides have been linked in Canvas courses since Summer 2017. After some conversations with students, we believe these can more effectively serve as a starting point for student research, so the Librarians, in partnership with Instructional Designer Lily Zhang, will explore new ways to organize and present information to meet researchers’ needs. You can see our existing guides at https://library.rmc.edu/subject-guides.

Library Anxiety? Is that a thing?

Did you know that when many people walk into a library they feel intimidated and anxious? Library anxiety is real, and has been well-documented by the library field. What is library anxiety? It is the sense that one should know all about libraries, know how to do research, know how to find both physical and electronic resources, and that not knowing how to do these thing is shameful and should be hidden. Grand reading rooms like the one below, and the idea that a student is surrounded by centuries of knowledge, can often be intimidating rather than inspirational.

Picture of study tables at the reading room in the Hunt Library, NCSU
Quiet Reading Room of the James B. Hunt, Jr. Library, North Carolina State University

Now there is research that suggests another phenomena prevalent among first-year students: overconfidence that they understand the library and how things work, and so library instruction or help is unnecessary. It is thought that this overconfidence comes stems from the use of Google and other search engines for any kind of information need. Students know how to search in a general search engine, and assume that those skills translate 1:1 into the research world. The truth is that they do, but those search abilities are only one piece of what is needed. There’s a lot more to research than just picking out good search terms or knowing how to use quotes around a search phrase.

You can learn more about library anxiety in this article from JSTOR Daily.

Libraries can be a little intimidating at first, but they are friendly, welcoming places, and R-MC Librarians are excited to help you learn your way around. In fact for many of us, working with students remains our favorite part of this job. Being asked to help a student with a project is never a bother!

If you have a final paper or project coming up and you aren’t sure about your topic, research question, or your sources, schedule an appointment with a research librarian at https://rmc.libcal.com/appointments.

Or, join us for our LNAP event (Long Night Against Procrastination) on May 7, 7-11pm! Bring your topic, project, idea, or paper with with you, no appointment needed, and Prof. Treneman and I will be there to help.

Library anxiety may be a thing, but it doesn’t have to hold you back!

2018-2023 Strategic Plan – Part 4, Strategic Areas 3-5

My last three posts have detailed the new mission and vision of the McGraw-Page Library, as well as the values and priorities that guide our decision-making, and our first two Strategic Areas. This month wraps up this series with a focus on Strategic Areas 3-5.

Library staff have met to discuss the timeline of when we want to accomplish these tasks over the next five years, and have also assigned an individual who is responsible for ensuring that progress is being made on these goals. The Library is working to develop an assessment plan, which, when done, will work with our strategic plan to ensure we are making appropriate progress.

As with any strategic plan, these goals are based on our understanding of our current environment. The specific objectives or goals may change if conditions (e.g., staffing, building, budget) change significantly.

Our Strategic Areas, Goals, and Objectives

III. Strengthen Special Collections & Archives.
  1. Improve discoverability of special collections and archive materials
    1. Create online finding aids that can be linked to Worldcat and our catalog
    2. Use online tools to highlight specific collections
  2. Prioritize digitization projects
    1. Finalize naming conventions, file organization, and workflow for digitizing SC&A materials
    2. Digitize R-MC Yearbooks
    3. Create an online exhibits commemorating the 150th anniversary of the College’s move to Ashland
    4. Identify other discrete digitization projects that will meet either a preservation and/or a promotion goal
  3. Improve housing and storage of existing collections to ensure their long-term preservation
IV. Increase engagement between the campus community and the library.
  1. Raise awareness of library resources, services, and events
    1. Establish consistent use of social media, posters, the library website, R-MC Life, and other tools as appropriate
  2. Engage campus users through a variety of means
    1. Establish relationships with new students
    2. Market staff expertise
  3. Launch and continue workshops, events, speakers, etc., that will forward the library’s goals, in partnership with others on campus where possible
    1. Student events that promote research support, specific resources, etc.
    2. Faculty events (e.g., scholar’s retreat)
V. Enhance our organizational effectiveness.
  1. Ensure that all staff positions are aligned with our strategic priorities
  2. Encourage and support professional development among library staff
  3. Highlight the Library’s role in student recruitment, retention, and success
  4. Improve communication internally (library-to-library) and externally (library-to-campus)
    1. Send regular library updates to library staff
    2. Communicate changes in hours to the campus
    3. Communicate new services, resources, events, etc., to campus
  5. Develop an assessment plan to inform decision making

Road Trip Reads – Why and How to Read over Spring Break

Randolph-Macon College is on Spring Break March 30-April 7, 2019!

A collage of images showing the road trip spring break exhibit in the library vestibule
Exhibit in the McGraw-Page Library vestibule, Spring Break 2019

Whether your Spring Break this year includes an exciting trip or you’re just just headed home, don’t leave campus without a good book.

Why should you read for fun?

  • Reading about exotic places allows you to travel even if your bank account won’t let you actually get there (yet).
  • Reading builds empathy for people, cultures, and places you don’t have much experience with.
  • In an age filled with texts, Snapchat, and a million other distractions, reading helps you concentrate for longer periods of time than you usually do.
  • Reading for fun helps you read academic texts better. And it helps you write better, too!

Haven’t read for fun in such a long time you don’t even know what you like any more? The easiest place to start is the McGraw-Page Library (of course!). Visit the tables near the Information Desk to see some of our new books, or visit the POP (Popular) Reading Area near the Library entrance to the 24/7 room. There you’ll find a good mix of fiction and non-fiction, and almost all titles are related to movies, bestseller lists, or current events.

Looking for Audiobooks for a long drive? Check out OverDrive or hoopla available through the Pamunkey Regional Library, located just a few blocks away in downtown Ashland across from The Caboose. R-MC students are able to get a library card and use these resources for free!

If you’d like to explore before heading to the Library to see what we have, check out this list of suggestions from Lifehack: 17 Ways to Find Good Books to Read.

Fairy Tale Beginnings in 3D

[This is a guest post from Visiting Instruction Librarian Gardner Treneman.]

Professor Valentine Balguerie’s French 273 – “Fairy Tale Beginnings” class was always about building imagery. Based on classic folk/fairy tales, the class was asked to read several and analyze the common elements found in them. Instead of the ten-page paper, Prof. Balguerie wanted her students to try something she thought would be more fun. This is where our conversation started.

I’d seen a project posted online from the artist Tom Burtonwood. He was looking at the newer wave of open source 3D printing – providing the ability for the masses to work in a new medium. His project website says,

Within this context of free cultural products I chose to publish Orihon the world’s first entirely 3D printable book. The subject matter for Orihon is derived from 3D scans made of sculptures and reliefs, found at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural in New York and The Field Museum in Chicago.

This immediately drew my attention, and since his focus was the openness of this new platform, he provided the files on one of the internet’s largest 3D file sharing sites, Thingiverse. The idea was wonderful, but the technology as progressed quite far in the six years since he created his plates and hinges. So I took the modular plate and created a new hinge that harnessed the abilities of our Ulitmaker 3, namely the ability to print in two materials. This new hinge was able to flex like a standard paper book but still had the modular aspect. These were printed ahead of time since the students didn’t need to edit them.

3D printed book hinge with four printed strips

 

When it came time for the students’ work they were shown both Thingiverse and Sketchfab: two repositories of opensource 3D models. The idea was for them to display the themes found in the fairy tales through visual objects, placed in the book’s pages. We had a class period in the Library Lab where they started learning and working in the free modeling software Tinkercad. Over the next few weeks I received all the individual students’ work, and began printing them when they came in. Nine students with four pages a piece added up to a lot of hours on our two printers!

3D book and the book Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo and a small round compact mirror
3D book showing themes from Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo
3D book and the book Twilight with a small blond doll in a purple dress
3D book showing themes from Twilight

In the end every student had their own, custom book that covered their specific fairy tale. This project built on a short paper (written in French) that explained what the themes were, and how they connected to today’s world. Professor Balguerie called this a success and is now planning a project to have her class produce “classic” books: printed on paper, bound with thread. We at the McGraw-Page Library are really looking forward to helping with that!

The 3D books created in “Fairy Tale Beginnings” class have been on display in the McGraw-Page Library vestibule since mid-January.

2018-2023 Strategic Plan – Part 3, Strategic Areas 1 & 2

My last two posts have detailed the new mission and vision of the McGraw-Page Library, as well as the values and priorities that guide our decision-making. This month’s post will outline Strategic Areas 1 and 2. Next month will wrap up this series with a focus on Strategic Areas 3-5. 

Library staff have met to discuss the timeline of when we want to accomplish these tasks over the next five years, and have also assigned an individual who is responsible for ensuring that progress is being made on these goals. The Library is working to develop an assessment plan, which, when done, will work with our strategic plan to ensure we are making appropriate progress. 

As with any strategic plan, these goals are based on our understanding of our current environment. The specific objectives or goals may change if conditions (e.g., staffing, building, budget) change significantly. 

Our Strategic Areas, Goals, and Objectives

I. Improve the user’s experience of the library.
  1. Align library resources to the current needs of the curriculum and the student body
    1. Complete weeding of the library’s collections
  2. Improve the findability of library resources
    1. Review signage for accuracy and update as necessary
    2. Ensure resources can be found where expected (e.g., Subject Guides, Discovery)
    3. Review the library website and update or redesign as necessary 
  3. Improve the look and functionality of the library’s physical and virtual space
    1. Work toward and advocate for significant renovation of the library space 
    2. Review and replace worn furniture 
    3. Review physical space and identify immediate needs 
    4. Develop a style guide for print and electronic library-produced materials 
  4. Assess the user’s experience
    1. Develop and adopt a tool evaluating space usage
    2. Identify students’ space needs
II. Enhance information and technological literacy across campus.
  1. Map current instructional efforts 
  2. Develop and promote an information literacy plan for R-MC
    1. Identify courses where information literacy instruction would be advantageous (e.g., One essential, required course per major?)
    2. Develop strategic relationships with faculty with the goal of being invited to teach in those classes
    3. Assess research skills of students 
  3. Develop and implement a technological/digital literacy plan for R-MC 
  4. Participate in curriculum review conversations 

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.