8. Libraries provide sufficient number and quality of personnel to ensure excellence and to function successfully in an environment of continuous change.
8.1 Library personnel are sufficient in quantity to meet the diverse teaching and research needs of faculty and students 8.2 Library personnel have education and experience sufficient to their positions and the needs of the organization 8.3 Library personnel demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional development, maintaining and enhancing knowledge and skills for themselves and their coworkers 8.4 Library personnel contribute to the knowledge base of the profession 8.5 Library personnel are professionally competent, diverse, and empowered 8.6 Personnel responsible for enhancing and maintaining the Library's IT infrastructure keep current with Library technology applications and participate in ongoing training
In mid-2009, shortly before the start of this review period, there were ten Library faculty. Two years later there were six. While there were some changes in the staff holding positions and changes in duties during the current review period, the number of staff remained the same. In the previous review period, 2005 to 2010, the number of staff went from 13 to 11. Access to library technology personnel remained the same, one-quarter time, over the current review period. Midway in this review period a permanent director joined the organization following a six year period with two interim leaders.
As a result of these changes in faculty and staff, Library personnel spent much of this review period adjusting to new and more responsibilities. Early in the review period emphasis was placed on working more directly with students in their courses and making the building’s space more available to students. Basic library operations continued: students were instructed, subject faculty consulted, researchers guided, collections managed, and the building and website kept available. Taking secondary roles were thoughtful long-term planning, research and writing/presenting, intentional integration of instruction within the curriculum and within retention/degree completion/employment readiness goals, timeliness in making materials available, proactive collection management, and advocacy for sustainable scholarly communication. Faculty and staff morale has been low at times. The Library faculty and staff continue to strive for the ability to successfully progress beyond provision of basic services to the performance of continuous outstanding, progressive, thorough, and timely endeavors that closely align with the University’s strategic goal of achieving excellence.
The Library personnel experienced a great deal of change over a short period of time. Priorities for the Library personnel’s work were changed, and much of the review period was devoted to adapting to new and additional responsibilities. Upon her arrival, the Library Director took steps to review the recently changed priorities and to develop priorities within individual work areas with the goal of making day-to-day work more manageable for fewer personnel. One of the Director’s first priorities was better communication within the Library to facilitate information exchange and work processes. In order to address this, the Director created working groups to foster communication among work areas. Another high priority was to strengthen the role of the Librarians as educators. To this end, the Library Director introduced new models of instruction including a teaching-the-teacher approach to render work with highly subscribed courses more manageable. Furthermore, she instituted the Teaching Excellence Academy for Librarians (TEAL) as a community of practice to share pedagogical approaches to make instructional work both more effective and more feasible. The Director also facilitated the adoption of an on-call research assistance model that enables Library faculty to accomplish other duties while remaining available to those who request research assistance. In an attempt to assist both Library faculty and staff, the Director filled a staff vacancy with a hybrid position to provide support for Library faculty as well as continue direct patron service in Access Services. In addition she arranged for cross-training in multiple areas to provide back up. Finally, in an effort to assist in the timely access of materials, the Director contracted with an external provider to address a long-standing backlog and catalog a number of items that the current level of staffing had not been able to address.
Through all of this change, the Library personnel competently managed basic Library operations. There were two significant improvements: Library faculty were able to reach more students in classes; and the reorganization of the Library’s physical space garnered more study space for students. However, given the effort needed to sustain basic operations, minor progress was made towards initiatives such as proactive collection management and well-designed integration of instruction within the curriculum. Amid the changes and the pressures of daily work, some concerns arose among Library personnel regarding their perceived value, leading to low morale. Some of these concerns remain.
Looking back over the review period, Library personnel can take pride in having weathered many changes. They have, for the most part, adjusted to the changes in responsibilities associated with the loss of several Library faculty members and the more recent change in priorities. Library personnel are aware that priority changes initiated by the new Library Director were steps toward positive change within the Library. In addition to the encouragement to set priorities, initiatives designed to improve communication within the Library and enhance the educational role of the Library faculty such as implementing a new On-Call Research Assistance model, designating a staff member’s time for Library faculty support, ensuring continuity of services through cross-training, and outsourcing materials to be cataloged have all contributed to more efficient and stable Library operations. The Library personnel as a whole now possess a stronger instructional presence, more manageable work responsibilities, and improved employee morale. However, in light of the fact that Bloomsburg University has the highest student to professional staff ration of all its PASSHE and University peers (see 2012 and 2014 Library Staff data in Appendix B), some Library personnel still feel that there are simply too few Library faculty members to provide excellent library services as well as contribute meaningfully to the library profession, the University, and the community. Efforts to improve the effectiveness of current Library personnel and operations will continue to be a top priority. Administration is aware of the limits current staffing places on the Library’s ability to support students and professors in their learning, teaching, and research.
8.1 Library personnel are sufficient in quantity to meet the diverse teaching and research needs of faculty and students.
The current number of Library personnel is sufficient to meet the basic teaching and research needs of faculty and students. However, it is not clear that the current number, and the kind, of personnel are sufficient to meet the diverse needs of faculty and students. This conclusion acknowledges that the basics of providing research assistance, a collection, a building, and a website were maintained over the review period. The Library personnel--staff, faculty, and Director--adjusted priorities to focus on working more directly with students in their coursework and making building space available for students. They took on additional responsibilities in subject liaison and work area supervision; delegated as appropriate; reduced research assistance hours; moved to an on-call research assistance model that enabled Library faculty to continue other work while still remaining available to patrons; involved staff members in providing basic assistance; contracted with an outside provider for some materials processing; hired a temporary Library faculty member to address a long-standing backlog; reduced record verification; continued reliance on the Keystone Library Consortium (KLN) for management of core electronic resources; and continued reliance on a publisher approval plan for receipt of core print materials.
Library personnel have not been able to give much attention to thoughtful long-term planning, research and writing/presenting, intentional integration of instruction within the curriculum and within retention/degree completion/employment readiness goals, timeliness in making materials available, proactive collection management, and advocacy for sustainable scholarly communication. Initial good faith efforts have begun in several of these important areas including strategic planning, outreach to the Writing in the Disciplines and College Research Writing efforts, outreach and work with integrating undeclared students and thereby improving retention. However it remains a challenge to maintain those efforts.
Library faculty and staff are sufficient in quantity to meet basic student, faculty and patron needs. During the review period, amid numerous changes, basic Library operations continued, with an emphasis on working with students in courses and using more Library space for study space. Library personnel instructed students, guided researchers, managed collections, and kept the building and website available. From the academic year of 2008/09, the last year in which there were ten Library faculty members, to 2014/15, the number of information literacy instruction classes increased about 16.9%. In 2008/09, there were six librarians actively teaching Information Literacy sessions; there were five in 2014/15. The 16.9% increase in activity during this period therefore represents an increase from an average of 30.5 sessions per teaching librarian in the academic year 2008/09 to 42.8 sessions per teaching librarian in the academic year 2014/15 (See Appendix A for details). This activity also translates into an increase in preparation time required, as librarians led instruction sessions in disciplines in which they had not taught before.
The physical space was altered considerably on the first and second floors: the bound periodicals area became a group study and reading room; a reference room has been transformed into an area for four consolidated collections (Reference, Juvenile, Curriculum, Government Documents); the Juvenile and Curriculum collections space became group and individual study space; and reference desks were repurposed as student study bars. While the number of research assistance interactions went down, satisfaction with basic and research assistance was strong based on feedback forms. Similarly, satisfaction with information literacy instruction was also evident, as the number of requests increased. Students displayed satisfaction with the new study spaces through their frequent use. However, some polite, informal complaints and/or concerns came in from subject faculty. Some reported a lack of timely access to consultation with Library faculty and limited off-site access to expert research assistance. Some reported a lack of timely access to materials, analog and digital, because of delays in making materials available. Some also reported a lack of well-timed access to information literacy instruction because Library faculty had difficulty meeting the demand for a large number of classes in a timely manner, especially at the beginning of semesters when requests for information literacy instruction are at their peak. Furthermore, a number of Library personnel have voiced frustration about responsibilities that are not being done well or in a timely fashion due to redistribution of responsibilities and energies; lack of time has forced them to operate in a reactive rather than a proactive mode, preventing them from exploring new initiatives/innovations.
8.2 Library personnel have education and experience sufficient to their positions and the needs of the organization.
Current Library personnel have earned the necessary educational credentials and gained the experience sufficient to meet many of the needs of the organization. The Director and Library faculty members have earned multiple masters degrees, including an ALA-accredited master’s degree in library and information studies. The Library faculty possess advanced knowledge in many subject specialties to assist students and other researchers, effectively build collections, and offer quality instruction. Library faculty are held to the same standards as teaching faculty, and all six Library faculty members have been tenured and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. All staff have earned the necessary educational credentials, and some Library staff members have earned relevant post-secondary degrees. All possess many years of experience in their chosen area within the Library.
Students, faculty, and other patrons consider faculty and staff to be sufficient in quality to meet their needs. In the 2012 LibQUAL survey, the statement “Employees who install confidence in users” was one of the areas in which the Library exceeded the expectations of survey respondents. Feedback in response to basic assistance and research assistance indicates the patrons are satisfied with the help they receive. Students, faculty and other patrons benefit from the librarians’ advanced subject-specific knowledge. For example the Business Librarian understands and demonstrates how one may navigate through complex company financial information (e.g. balance sheets) to find sources of information for accounting students. Library faculty have been tenured and promoted, as evidence of their quality contributions to the University. The Information Literacy Instruction program has grown rapidly in the last six years (see Appendix A), suggesting a trust in the competence of the Library faculty.
8.3 Library personnel demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional development, maintaining and enhancing knowledge and skills for themselves and their coworkers.
Library administration, faculty, and staff are committed to ongoing professional development and to maintaining and enhancing knowledge and skills for themselves and their coworkers. The Director of Library Services encourages Library faculty and staff to attend professional development events, and designated monies are available. Although constraints such as time, money, and ability to travel impact opportunities for individual employees, Library personnel generally prioritize the need for training appropriately to meet immediate and long-term Library needs. Professional development endeavors include participation in professional conferences, webinars, workshops, professional and scholarly publications, listservs and blogs, etc. Library personnel also participate in training in supportive areas, such as PASSHE-sponsored workforce development webinars, CPR classes, Lynda.com training on software and other organizational training, and CITI Program’s human subjects research review training. For a listing of workshops, conferences, webinars, etc., please see Appendix A.
Students, faculty and other members of the BU community consider Library faculty and staff to be sufficient and up-to-date in their skills. In the 2012 LibQUAL survey, the statement “Employees who install confidence in users” was one of areas in which the Library exceeded the expectations of survey respondents. Comments from LibQUAL and from individual students, faculty, and other members of the BU community offer praise for a number of specific Library personnel.
8.4 Library personnel contribute to the knowledge base of the profession.
Library administration, faculty, and staff contribute to the knowledge base of the library profession. Library faculty have conducted research and presented or published their findings for other library professionals. They are also active members of professional library organizations at the national, state, regional, and local levels where, as members of committees, they create knowledge and make decisions that inform librarians and educators at institutions around the world. Some examples of contributions by Library personnel include, but are not limited to, the following:
Several Library faculty members have publications amongst the scholarly library literature, including articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Several Library faculty members have given presentations at state, regional, and local professional conferences and meetings.
One Library faculty member served as President of the College & Research Division (CRD) of the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA). During her tenure, she organized a CRD Workshop on the topic of higher education assessment at Bloomsburg University with keynote speaker, Megan Oakleaf. She also was the driving force behind the PA Forward Information Literacy Summit, now in its 4th year, held at Penn State University.
Several Library faculty members were involved in the creation of the Pennsylvania Library Association’s new open-access peer-reviewed journal Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice (PaLRaP).
One Library faculty member contributed to the creation of the Rubric for Assessing the Information Literacy Standards for Teacher Education EBSS, as a member of the American Library Association’s EBSS Instruction for Educators Committee.
One Library faculty member serves as facilitator for statewide cataloger’s discussions.
One Library faculty member reviews video documentaries for Educational Media Reviews Online EMRO, which serves as a selection tool for librarians.
All Library faculty participated in the creation of the Library’s online General Library Research Tutorial (GLRT), which was accepted for online publication by PRIMO and has been adapted and re-used by 43 other academic libraries in 5 countries and 19 states.
One Library staff member hosted a regional interlibrary loan conference.
All Library personnel attend and participate in State System of Higher Education Libraries Council (SSHELCO) conferences and meetings, as well as other regional conferences, when possible. Library personnel who are involved in interlibrary loan and document delivery services attend regional and national conferences specific to ILL.
The Library personnel have been well-regarded by their professional colleagues within academic librarianship. Evidence of this regard includes: the BU Health /Sciences Subject Specialist received a PaLA award; the Coordinator of Cataloging was chosen as a training resource for new staff/librarians by several PASSHE schools; and several faculty have had articles published in scholarly peer-reviewed professional library journals.
As a result of contributions by the Library personnel:
Pennsylvania librarians have a new peer-reviewed journal, Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice (PaLRaP) in which to publish their research. Articles within the journal are freely shared worldwide, as there is no subscription fee.
Pennsylvania Librarians can learn from invited speakers and their colleagues at
the PA Forward Information Literacy Summit, now in its fourth year.
Librarians and professors in teacher education benefit from a new assessment tool: Rubric for Assessing the Information Literacy Standards for Teacher Education.
Other librarians benefit from a video selection tool to help them make collection development decisions.
Students and other researchers benefit by using the content of the BU Library’s General Library Research Tutorial (GLRT). The Library’s GLRT has been adapted and re-used by 43 other academic libraries in 5 countries and 19 states, firmly establishing the BU Library’s reputation as a contributor to the universal mission of academic libraries.
8.5 Library personnel are professionally competent, diverse, and empowered.
The Library personnel are professionally competent in their individual areas of library work. Library personnel hold diversified and professional expertise, experience, and credentials as evidenced in their resumes and vitas. The Library administration empowers Library personnel to employ their expertise to make decisions about their work on a day-to-day basis and provides the time, money, and opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge through conferences, webinars, and other learning tools.
Students, faculty, and other patrons benefit on a day-to-day basis from the professional competence, diversity and expertise of faculty and staff who are empowered to make decisions within their position responsibilities and to grow within their areas of expertise.
8.6 Personnel responsible for enhancing and maintaining the Library’s IT infrastructure keep current with Library technology applications and participate in ongoing training.
The Library’s IT infrastructure is maintained by a combination of consortial technology staff, on-campus technology staff, and student workers. The technology staff at both the consortial and campus levels are committed to remaining up-to-date with new resources, software, initiatives, and procedures; monies from the Library and Technology budgets are designated to support these staff.
For the management of current hardware, network, services, and software, the Library has access to the campus Manager of Technology Support Services, who has many years of experience working with the Library’s systems. The University’s Computing Help Desk offers daytime telephone support for immediate needs of Library faculty, staff, and patrons, and an online ticket system for less urgent needs. For day-to-day repairs and scheduled maintenance, Library faculty, staff, and patrons have access to assistance from student workers. All personnel involved in the management of technology keep current with Library technology applications and participate in ongoing training.
Students, faculty, and other patrons benefit on a day-to-day basis from the up-to-date knowledge and expertise of all personnel who are responsible for enhancing and maintaining the Library’s IT infrastructure, as well as their dedication to remaining current with Library technology applications and participate in ongoing training.
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