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Principle 9: External Relations

9. Libraries engage the campus and broader community through multiple strategies in order to advocate, educate, and promote their value.

9.1 The Library contributes to external relations through communications, publications, events, and donor cultivation and stewardship
9.2 The Library communicates with the campus community regularly
9.3 Library personnel convey a consistent message about the library and engage in their role as ambassadors in order to expand 
     user awareness of resources, services, and expertise

Discussion

Library personnel actively engage members of the campus and broader community.  Relations are strong in some areas, and Library personnel are satisfied with those efforts while they also see other areas needing improvement. The Director has been active in building relationships across campus.  She has reached out to the deans, department chairs, Student Affairs leadership, and online learning management specialists; formed relationships with student government leaders and with the Director of the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Center; maintained positive relations with the Library’s Friends group; and led an engaged Library Advisory Committee.  A highlight of this review period are the partnerships the Library has pursued on campus to foster affordable course materials for students.  Through the efforts of the Director and the OER Campus Partner, the University Store share information on OER course selections, the President’s Office supported professional development for faculty learning about OER, and faculty members and administrators are more aware of OER options.  In addition, the Library, through the work of the Coordinator for Archives and Special Collections, has been strong in helping the University with its public relations and donor cultivation.    Areas in which Library personnel are looking to build a stronger presence are social media, particularly through collaboration with the University’s social media manager, and further connections with the University Foundation.   

Library personnel are pleased with their communication efforts within the campus community and are continually looking for additional opportunities to issue relevant and essential information.  Library faculty and staff communicate with the campus as the need arises and as opportunities present themselves.  The recent addition of the Director to the Academic Affairs Leadership Team provides new opportunities for communicating directly with academic leadership.  There is an interest in establishing routine meetings with campus constituencies; so far communication has often been reactive, and Library personnel would like time to plan and to be proactive in meeting subject faculty in certain departments and campus offices/officials.  

As ambassadors, the Library personnel take good advantage of opportunities as they are able; they would like to do more if more time were available.  They have been proactive in some areas such as URSCA (Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity) and OER (Open Educational Resources), maintained some longstanding relationships, and cultivated some new ones.  In the future, Library personnel are interested in working with the new director of student success and first-year experience, and colleagues at area high schools.  Their primary goal is to identify collaborative opportunities which may yield recruitment potential for the University as well as greater community use of Library resources. 

9.1 Communications

9.1 The Library contributes to external relations through communications, publications, events, and donor cultivation and stewardship.

ACTIONS 

The Library employs a variety of strategies to develop and strengthen relationships within the campus and broader community. As one of the 14 Universities within the State System of Higher Education, Bloomsburg University and its Library are open to and welcome Pennsylvania residents and other visitors.  Library faculty and staff also prepare publications and exhibits featuring local and University history that serve to educate the entire community; work with the Friends of the Bloomsburg University Library Association (FOBULA) group and the University’s Advancement office to stay in touch with current and potential donors of financial support; and acknowledge donors of books and other materials.  

The University Archives and Special Collections plays a significant role in the Library’s community relations and the promotion of the Library’s reputation among external groups. The University Archivist & Coordinator of Special Collections often exhibits themed displays featuring University artifacts, and he authors articles on some aspect of University history published in each issue of Bloomsburg: The University Magazine. In 2020 he published a book on the history of the football program and wrote three series of articles for the Press Enterprise newspaper: a 12-part series on the history of the basketball program, a five-part series on the first Bloomsburg alum to play major league baseball, and a two-part series on the measles’ epidemic that hit Bloomsburg in 1916. 

In addition to the historical materials of interest to the community, librarians maintain subject and topic research guides for contemporary community use, including ones on genealogy, recycling, water resources, and legal resources for non-lawyers.   

The Library cultivates potential donors in several ways. It works closely with the Friends’ group to conduct annual and occasionally semiannual book sales, which have raised $10,000 over the past five years (nearly $42,000 since 2001) for special projects and student textbook scholarships; sponsored programs of interest to the community on such diverse subjects as noted urban designer and city planner Jane Jacobs, Italian prisoners of war kept in Pennsylvania during World War II, and the relationship between the library and the local newspaper; and hosted dinners recognizing local or noted authors publishing on the history of Shenandoah, a ten-year-old's experience as a news reporter, how to learn about China from the game of golf, and crime and suspense fiction.  Additionally, the Director is committed to cultivating donors for the Library, and she has met with a donor who made a gift to the Library in honor and memory of his father, a former BU professor.   

The Library welcomes gifts in kind from donors. The Coordinator of Cataloging and Coordinator of Collection Development serves as a point of contact for donors, who are primarily alumni and retired faculty and staff. She often facilitates deliveries of donations, and she arranges for review of the donations by Library faculty subject specialists or other non-Library subject faculty when appropriate. For those books added to the Library’s collection, the Cataloging Unit inserts bookplates with the donor’s name if the donor so requests; that name is also included in the bibliographic record and is thus searchable in the Library catalog. Letters of thanks from the Library are sent to donors of materials and financial support.  

There has been periodic collaboration with the Bloomsburg School District to obtain K-12 textbook materials, which have been reviewed by the district for adoption, for the Andruss Library Curriculum Collection.  

 

OUTCOMES 

The community demonstrates its appreciation of the Library’s contributions to external relations in a variety of ways.  Community members from campus and the broader community donate money and materials.  They also express their thanks and make active use of the Library. 

Several University entities consistently use the University Archives & Special Collections and the Archivist’s expertise as a source of information, images, and objects; they include University Advancement, the Office of Marketing and Communications, Sports Information, the University Foundation, and the Alumni Association. On occasion the Library’s displays have been recognized by a third party, such as the local newspaper, the Press Enterprise; this recognition, in turn, enhances the image of the University.  

University efforts to recruit students and stay connected to alumni are greatly enhanced by the archival images supplied by the Library for the Athletics Department, the Alumni Association, and University Advancement.  The recent branding campaign relied on archival images for the new University logo. During the fall of 2020 due to COVID and the need for a virtual Homecoming, several hundred photographs were supplied to Student Life to create video montages of the University through the decades from the 1950s to 2010s. 

Students, faculty, and other members of the community benefit from the Library’s well-established relationships with donors through the Library’s ability to provide access to valuable, and often unique, one-of-a-kind local historical materials, for example, digitized University yearbooks, which have high usage via the Internet Archive.   

Students, faculty, and other members of the BU community benefit from the community’s willingness to share books and other materials with the Library. Community members regularly donate books and other materials to the Library’s collections or for sale at the FOBULA book sales.   

Students, faculty, and other members of the BU community benefit from the community’s willingness to give financial support to the Library. Over 19 years, FOBULA has raised nearly $42,000 from its book sales. The profits of the sale are given as textbook scholarships to Library student workers and other students in financial need and to support Library digitization projects and promotional items such as incentives to complete surveys. 

The Library, future teachers, student teachers, and members of the broader community benefit from the Library’s collaboration with the Bloomsburg School District. This collaboration not only provides BU future teachers with valuable, up-to-date K-12 textbook materials, it also strengthens the existing relationship between the university and the Bloomsburg School District, which regularly facilitates internships and provides student-teaching opportunities for BU education students. 

The broader Bloomsburg community demonstrates a need for the Library through its active use of the Library. As of Fall 2019, there were 275 community residents with borrowing cards. These community members can enrich their learning by using the Library’s resources and services, including for genealogical research. 

9.2 Campus Community

9.2 The Library communicates with the campus community in a timely way using a variety of methods and evaluates the communication for effectiveness. 

ACTIONS 

During the onset of COVID, the Library director and personnel provided the campus with updates and reminders on how to receive research guidance, instruction, and resources, regardless of medium or the researcher’s physical location.  As the campus approached Fall 2020, the Library provided a thorough plan for practices and signage during COVID.  These updates and plans were made available through official University communications as well as the Library’s website, social media, targeted emails, and physical signage. 

On a routine basis the Library personnel use a variety of communication tools. They share information in a timely way and, if a particular tool does not seem effective, try another.  Beyond the unusual circumstances of COVID-related updates, Library personnel use email, website, social media, physical signage, and influencers such as the Library Advisory Committee, library faculty, and subject faculty to have effective two-way communication. 

Library faculty communicate developments in resources, services, and research-related issues to subject faculty as part of their liaison responsibilities.  Every academic department on campus has a Library faculty liaison.  Library faculty often attend academic department meetings to discuss Library concerns and share information on resources and services.  When the Library subscribes to a new interdisciplinary database, acquires a new digital collection, etc., the Library’s Database Coordinator will send email announcements to the ‘Everyone’ list, which is a faculty-staff email list for the whole University. If a new database is subject-specific, then the librarian with liaison responsibilities for interested departments will send emails to those departments.  Often, liaison librarians will email wording to departments so that subject faculty may paste this wording into the course management software as announcements for their students.  In some instances, subject faculty have assigned librarians as ‘course builders’ in online course platform, and the librarian may insert content to facilitate students’ library research.  Most recently the Database Coordinator collaborated with an instructional designer to make it easier to embed into BOLT entire library research guides and tools, all customized for each discipline and course.  This new feature will ease communication with individual students and whole classes. 

The University Archivist sends out periodic notices to campus of significant events in the University’s history, with information and images taken from the Archives’ collections.  The Government Documents Librarian sends out occasional news items related to significant government documents.  

The Library held a special event to celebrate the Library building’s 20th anniversary in 2018.  It was open to members of the BU community and featured musical performances, a speech, and a visit from Roongo.  A time capsule, exhibit, and eye-catching “book clock” were created. 

Andruss Library uses its web site blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to announce significant events and developments in the Library.  Beyond the Library’s own social media, the University’s social media manager has “liked” the Library’s outlets, and, when appropriate, items are also sent out via the University’s social media platforms. 

 

OUTCOMES 

The Subject faculty look to the Library faculty for updates on resources and services and incorporate these into their course assignments and webpages.   

During the Library building’s 20th anniversary event students and other patrons connected informally with Library personnel.  

The University’s social media coordinator has appreciated the contemporary and historical information the Library shares.  The number of ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ on the Library’s social media has increased in the last year because of a reinvigorated social media presence. 

9.3 Convey a Consistent Message

9.3 Library personnel convey a consistent message about the library and engage in their role as ambassadors in order to expand user awareness of resources, services, and expertise. 

ACTIONS 

The Director periodically attends College Faculty meetings and Department Chairs’ meetings to keep open lines of communication between the Library and the rest of the University.  Her recent addition to the Academic Affairs Leadership Team is an important change and provides new opportunities for direct communication with campus leadership.  The Director has regular meetings with the Library Advisory Committee (LAC) and worked with Graduate Studies to ensure graduate student representation. She raised awareness of ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education among faculty and administrators through meetings and a working group.  As a result, together with the efforts of an English faculty member and his departmental colleagues, the University Curriculum Committee approved a course required of the majors with a Framework-infused set of goals and assessment criteria.  Student Affairs leadership continued to partner with the Library in meeting student needs for more study space during finals week.   

Library faculty are ambassadors to the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Creative Activities (URSCA) program and with area high school students.  Two projects that have allowed a substantive and successful partnership between Library Faculty and the local school districts are the Model United Nations project and the Allentown School District Summer Program. The Allentown summer program offered promising high school students the chance to spend three weeks taking classes, pursuing research, and sharing their findings.  The Allentown program has gone quiet but had several successful summers of researching and making posters at the Library.  The Model UN program engages high school students in research and debate on contemporary global political issues; after being dormant for several years, the Model UN was revived in academic year 2019-20, with two high school groups coming to the Library for instruction and research time.  The program will be continued once it is safe to do so. In addition, Library faculty have been ambassadors to summer programs for high schoolers through Anchor Program (foster care youth), GEAR UP (students from low-income school districts), and Upward Bound TRIO (students who are low-income and/or potential first-generation college students).  During the academic year, the Gifted Program at one of the local high schools brought students to the Andruss Library for advanced research guidance and resources; the program has gone quiet with the departure of the leadership, but the Library faculty remain interested in such connections should the opportunity come again. 

The Director of Library Services served on the Bloomsburg Public Library Board of Directors for most of this review period.  The Andruss Library and the Bloomsburg Public Library continue to partner to provide Bloomsburg community members greater access to official government information, especially concerning health education, citizenship, and the national parks.  The new Education Librarian has reached out to the new Children’s Librarian of the local public library to strengthen communication about children’s literature, especially in meeting the needs of future teachers. 

The Coordinator of Cataloging/Interim Coordinator of Collection Development serves on the board of the Luzerne County Library System (LCLS).  She has served as an advisor on cataloging issues for the Wilkes-Barre Osterhout Library’s cataloger and works with the LCLS system’s administrator to transfer to the Osterhout Library book sale those items not suited for the FOBULA book sale. 

The Library maintains a strong relationship with the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society, as the Library has an extensive collection of microfilm of volumes of local newspapers, critical to historical research of the community. 

Library personnel maintain their roles as Library ambassadors as they participate on a variety of campus-wide committees; these committee meetings provide a platform for sharing information about Library-related issues with diverse members of the BU community. 

Librarians contact and/or meet with new faculty in their liaison departments to provide information on resources and services.  Librarians notify their liaison departments of new databases and other major new resources and of new or expanded services. 

 

OUTCOMES 

Open communication between Library personnel and campus leadership has resulted in a course required of all English majors adopted goals and assessment criteria from the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy, providing a model for other courses as the University engages in a reexamination of its general education curriculum. Students continued to use and express appreciation for the additional study space made available to them through the partnership of the Library and Student Affairs. 

The University has benefitted from the significant contributions made by the Library faculty to the intellectual community of the University and to good relations with surrounding communities. For example, the University’s coordinator of the special program of undergraduate research expressed great appreciation for the help from one of the library faculty members in establishing and maintaining the program since its inception four years ago.   After being dormant for several years, the Model UN was revived in academic year 2019-20, with two high school groups coming to the Library for instruction and research time.  The program will be continued once it is safe to do so.  The Allentown School District Summer Program completed a successful first outing to the Library in 2014 and returned for the summer of 2015 due to their positive first experience; the University at large has benefitted through a doubling in the admissions of students from 2014 to 2015 from the Allentown School District. Though also in a quiet period, this program too serves as a model of mutual benefit. 

Because of the relationships cultivated with the local public library, there continue to be ties with the University Library, including the positive relationship between the respective directors, the government documents from the Andruss Library now housed at the Bloomsburg Public Library to be accessed by a wider audience; and the commitment of both libraries that their children’s literature collections be open to the patrons of both libraries.  

Because of the relationship with the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society, members of the Society can provide a research service to the community at large because they know to come to the Andruss Library to use local newspaper collections and specialized indexes. 

Appearances of the Library’s Archives and Special Collections items in the local newspaper heighten awareness of the uniqueness of the University, promote the positive image of the University, and prompt donations or tips for new additions to the Archives and Special collections.   

Members of the BU community benefit from information gained and professional relationships established with Library personnel during University-wide committee meetings.   

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