The FAU Libraries have been working to upgrade our services to all of our constituents, students and faculty alike. While we have been paying a lot of attention to the students since my arrival as Dean of University Libraries at FAU in August 2015, we have also been working to improve services for faculty, especially in the area of supporting faculty research. While it takes a while for the full impact of new programs to be felt, I would like to share the following examples of our efforts in this area:
- We have reinvigorated the academic liaison program. This program aligns a member of the library faculty to work with Colleges and departments to offer information about collections and services, to provide assistance in utilizing print and electronic resources for research, and to provide library instruction for any class when requested by any faculty member. We have expanded that program to include a full contingent of library faculty to provide significantly better coverage and attention to all departments and disciplines. While we will never have the same number of library faculty as there are separate departments and programs within the Colleges, we have increased the number of librarians providing this support significantly and have assigned someone to cover every area.
- We have created a new position of an Assistant Dean for Research and Collections, whose portfolio is to provide strategic vision, policy and program development, and leadership in library collections and support for research across all disciplines. The new Assistant Dean, Jeff Sundquist, who starts July 10, will be responsible for contributing to innovative program and content development in support of the University’s research mission through the Libraries’ units that comprise Special Collections, Interlibrary Loan, Government Documents, and Collection Management. Responsibilities of these areas include developing and maintaining strong, user-focused collections (print and electronic) in support of the University’s academic programs at all campuses; strengthening support for and the reliability of Interlibrary Loan services; reviewing and enhancing the role of Government Documents in support of research and academic programs; building, strengthening, and increasing the use of and support for all Special Collections including: Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Recorded Sound Archives, Print Music Collection, Marvin & Sybil Weiner Spirit of America Collection, and University Archives.
- In 2016/2017, we created a new position of Scholarly Communication Director and reassigned a library faculty member (Jane Strudwick) to take on the role. Her responsibilities include developing a toolkit for all liaison librarians so that they can provide more direct assistance to faculty in navigating the increasingly complex publishing world. She organized the Copyright Workshop this spring which brought in one of the world’s premier copyright experts to present information and answer faculty questions. Among other initiatives, she is working closely with the Division of Research to develop new guides and programs to support the faculty research process.
- We have been with working with the Office of Information Technology and the Division of Research to identify and address data storage and management needs for faculty across all disciplines. This collaborative work seeks to provide support for faculty with their research data, both to comply with new demands from granting agencies, as well as to assist faculty from any discipline with having better control over and access to all types of research data that they generate, regardless of format or subject matter.
- We have supplemented our collections budget by making proposals to the Center for eLearning and to the Technology Fee proposal process to acquire backfiles and other one-time purchases of new electronic resources packages. These supplemental funds have allowed us to fill in gaps in our holdings that we have been unable to address with our stagnant collections budget.
- We have increased our efforts to capture faculty publications in the Digital Library and with that to develop a comprehensive digital portfolio for faculty who chose to participate. This service, when fully developed, will help to protect and promote faculty research in all disciplines.
- We implemented a new ILL service for faculty this past semester that provides for library staff to deliver ILL materials requested by faculty directly to College Deans’ offices and to pick them up when the faculty member has finished using them.
- We successfully advocated for special funding last year to redesign and open up the 5th floor of the Wimberly Library. That space had been closed to the public except for a limited number of special events. With the funding granted by University Administration, we have repurposed much of the space to provide 100 more seats for student study, utilizing a design model that allows us to fold the furniture up quickly and move it out of the way so that we can host lectures and presentations in that same space. We have always hosted a limited number of lectures from the History Department and some others, but now we hope to make it a venue for more faculty and students to showcase their research efforts. In addition, we are also redesigning a large boardroom and exhibit space on that floor to include videoconferencing capabilities and an instructional lab to provide hands-on experience with carrying out research using primary-source materials from our various Special Collections.
- We are preparing a comprehensive survey for faculty for the fall semester that would seek to learn about faculty concerns and levels of satisfaction so that we can increase our responsiveness and improve services, as far as our resources permit. This survey will seek to gather input from as many faculty as possible and we will be enlisting the assistance of the other Deans, the Provost’s Office, department chairs, and others to get the highest level of participation possible. If you would be willing to help us test the survey instrument this summer so that we can improve it before the survey opens, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are planning a series of faculty forums this fall to broaden discussion on library services and collections. More on that will be forthcoming when the fall semester begins. If you have suggestions on topics, please let me know.
These are just some of our efforts to support our faculty colleagues across the entire University. If you have interests or concerns in this area, I encourage you to contact me at email@example.com.