Wimberly Library 5th Floor Transformation: Phase One

On Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the Wimberly Library opened up part of the 5th floor to unrestricted use all the hours that the building is open. For many years, the 5th floor of the Wimberly Library has been underutilized. The space had consisted of a few staff offices; collections for the Recorded Sound Archives and University Archives (which had a number of duplicative materials, as well as many items not within our collection parameters); an open seating/presentation space used fewer than a dozen times a year with a stage and a piano; and the attached Weiner Spirit of America suite which includes the University Club Boardroom, a vault for rare materials, and some exhibition cases. Phase One of the 5th floor transformation focused on the open space outside the Weiner Suite.

When events were previously held in the open space, there was limited, cramped seating and staff always had to unlock the elevators to allow people to come to the event and then relock the elevators after the event was finished.

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Crowded seating during an event held in the fifth floor prior to the renovation

At all other times, the space was accessible only to those staff who had a special key or fob that would allow the elevators to go to the 5th floor. With the rest of the library being so heavily used, with students having to sit on the floor between book stacks at times,

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Students sitting on the floor between book stacks in the Wimberly Library

the need for transforming the fifth-floor space was self-evident. The students sit on the floor throughout the building both because there isn’t enough space

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Students creating their own group-study space on the floor in another part of Wimberly

and they are trying to get access to the limited number of power outlets in a facility that was built before everyone had a computer or other device that needed power to run.

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Students cluster around power outlets in other parts of Wimberly

In the budget cycle of spring 2016, I submitted a request to “redesign the 5th floor of the Wimberly Library to expand public space and secure collections and staff work spaces in order to open it to students and the public all hours that the Library is open. The 5th floor is the only space sufficiently large and open to provide a venue for events and presentations. With this redesign, the Library could host a wider array of student, faculty, and community presentations, as well as provide much-needed open study space when not in use for events and presentations.” The University recognized the need and provided a generous, one-time allocation of $250,000 for the project. A donation of $10,000 from the Lifelong Learning Society in 2016 allowed us to get a jumpstart on the renovation with repainting the main room in the public area of the fifth floor.

A subset of the Libraries’ Space Allocation Committee, led by Special Collections department head Vicky Thur, worked closely with me and with the University’s Design and Construction Services staff, under the leadership of Director Numa Rais, to design the space, review flooring and furnishings, and oversee the project details. Before work could start, collections had to be de-duped, consolidated, and reorganized. Staff work areas were also consolidated to align better with their functions, and unused furniture and equipment were removed. A glass wall was pushed back (shown in the image below) and the open floor space was increased from 2166.72 square feet to 4362.72 square feet.

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During the renovation, lines on the old carpeting  show where the glass walls used to be

The vision that guided phase one of the fifth floor transformation, was to:

  • Transform a restricted-access space used for staff, storage, & occasional events
  • Develop an open, multi-purpose space to be used by students and faculty
  • Build in flexibility so the space can be easily transformed for events
  • Reduce storage space & increase the available square footage
  • Add new seating emphasizing aesthetics, comfort, & function
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Comfortable booths with lightweight privacy screens

  • Brand it as FAU space with colors & logos
  • Accommodate individual & group study
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Examples of individual and group seating areas now available

 

  • Increase access to power & wi-fi

 

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Installation of new carpeting and under-the-floor tracks that provide expanded access to power

  • Maximize use of natural lighting

 

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New seating areas that take advantage of natural light

  • Ensure good presentation capabilities

The study furniture is designed to be stacked and quickly moved out of the way when lectures and presentations are planned. The back wall and podium (shown in the image below) are in place for talks and for projecting presentations.

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Tables fold up and stack to reconfigure the room quickly for presentations and the wall serves as the projection screen with a speaker’s podium off to the side

On opening day of the new space, students immediately began to take advantage of the new space and make themselves comfortable, as we hoped they would.

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Student making herself at home in the new space

By fall 2017, the Libraries will have a policy and request form in place for special events to be held in the space, but with the focus being on events that are open to FAU’s students and that do not disrupt the students’ need to have adequate study space, especially during key parts of the semester.

The next phase of the fifth floor transformation will focus on redesigning the Weiner Suite and University Club boardroom to provide better exhibit space, a multi-purpose videoconferencing meeting room, and a lab where students can receive hands-on opportunities to work with Special Collections materials. Work is already underway, with the walls of the lab being built and the former board room being redesigned.

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New hands-on instruction lab for Special Collections under construction

The Libraries – and FAU’s students – are grateful for the University’s support in providing the funding to make this radical transformation of the Wimberly Library fifth floor possible. The Libraries have collected dozens of thank-you cards written by students to President Kelly thanking him for his support, illustrated by one card shown below.

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Thank you note written by a student on May 31, with name and contact information edited out.

Other work is planned or underway elsewhere in the Wimberly Library, including upgrading the group-study rooms and building a new single-point-of-service desk (combining three different service desks into one) directly in front of the front doors on the first floor. The FAU Libraries are committed to transforming space and services to meet the needs of today’s students and faculty. Check back here for updates as we continue to implement our new vision.

Images in this posting were taken by Carol Hixson, Patricia Koppisch, Vicky Thur, and Carol West.

 

What is a Library? The Issue of Library Collections

I have recently been approached by some faculty who believe that we are removing important items from our print collections and that this is evidence of a lack of support for faculty, for research, and for scholarship. I respect their concern and expect to be engaging in many more conversations about the changing nature of libraries and library collections in the near future. As I try to respond to their concerns, it makes me ponder the question of what a library is. Today, I want to focus on library collections.

Traditional dictionaries like Merriam Webster define a library as “a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials (such as books, manuscripts, recordings, or films) are kept for use but not for sale.   The Oxford English dictionary defines a library in similar fashion as “A building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for use or borrowing by the public or members of an institution.” There are some for whom this is the only valid definition of a library.

There are others who think (and have said to me since I’ve been Dean of University Libraries at FAU) that: “Since everything is available digitally, why do we need a library anymore?” If you do a Google search on the question “do we still need libraries in the digital age?” you will turn up link after link to articles from the New York Times, the Washington Post, PBS, the Guardian, the CBC, and many more that ponder this question, all with their own twist on the issue.

It is interesting to be standing in the middle of these two opposing views and trying to find a middle ground.

Unlike some of my colleagues or the popular press, I don’t foresee a day when the traditional definition of a library will be completely eliminated. I don’t believe that all knowledge, scholarship, or creative output will be available digitally anytime soon – or ever. I’m not even sure I would consider that desirable.

However, as the world’s scholarly output continues to increase, libraries are able to own or even provide direct access to a smaller and smaller percentage of it. A 2014 posting on the Nature Newsblog noted that “Bibliometric analysts Lutz Bornmann, at the Max Planck Society in Munich, Germany and Ruediger Mutz, at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, think they have a better answer. It is impossible to know for sure, but the real rate is closer to 8-9% each year, they argue. That equates to a doubling of global scientific output roughly every nine years.”

Libraries cannot hope to own or provide immediate electronic access to all the resources that their patrons want and need. Not only do we not have the funding to keep up with the world’s production of scholarly output, we also don’t have the space. Our collections budget are usually stagnant and not keeping up with the pace of inflation (as detailed in a April 2017 article from Library Journal on the Periodicals Price Survey) and there are new demands for the use of our space all the time. In the face of this new reality, libraries around the world are reviewing what it means to be a library.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is an elite group of  123 research libraries in the U.S. and Canada. Membership in this elite group is hard to come by and, in earlier years, members could lose their standing and slip in the rankings if their total volume count decreased and if their budgets for collections were deemed to be inadequate. However, this traditional definition of a research library is being challenged, even within the ARL. In 2012, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) commissioned an issue brief on 21st Century Collections.   ARL has been moving away from its decades-old means of determining eligibility to join ARL that was based almost entirely on volume count and it is looking for new metrics that matched today’s research environment. A couple of phrases from that report have stayed with me: “Twentieth-century research library collections were defined by local holdings, hailed as distinctive and vast. Twenty-first-century research library collections demand multiple strategies for ensuring broad access” and “As libraries transition from institution-centric collections to a user-centric networked world, distributed collections should grow correspondingly. Traditional practices cannot easily scale to support this new environment. Emphasizing the shift from paper to e-texts understates the change. Rather than focusing on acquiring the products of scholarship, the library is now an engaged agent supporting and embedded within the processes of scholarship.”

To my mind, the world is everyone’s research library and we serve our faculty far better by assisting them in discovering and gaining timely access to the world’s scholarship rather than simply by holding onto specific journals or monographs. The ARL states on its Collections site that “Research collections are at the heart of the research library, but in the digital age the nature of information resources and library collections are undergoing profound transformations. New kinds of content, new formats and reformatting, new publishing models and access arrangements are rapidly reshaping research collections. As digital information resources increasingly predominate collecting, bringing new kinds of content within the research library’s sphere of responsibility, value propositions of traditional collections are altering apace.”

As far as our collections of published content are concerned, the FAU Libraries cannot be an archive or a museum. As reference and instruction librarian Joe Hardenbrook from Carroll University wrote in 2014,  “For most academic libraries, our mission is not to collect the whole of human knowledge. We have limited space, limited resources. We are not a warehouse for books–a warehouse is a storage facility. Books are for using–not for sitting on a shelf for years on end.”

In the realm of scholarly or creative output, at the FAU Libraries, we strive to:

  • be a portal to the world’s scholarship, through providing immediate access to select, high-quality content in print and through electronic subscriptions, as far as our funding and space permits.
  • enable our students and faculty to gain access to much of the rest of the world’s scholarship and creative output through rapid and efficient interlibrary loan.
  • provide better awareness of, access to, and use of our distinctive special collections.
  • create local digital collections of unique materials that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
  • help our faculty and students create their own content and publish it in some form.

In this imperfect and rapidly changing world, the FAU Libraries will continue to select new materials; we will continue to deselect some materials to make room for new content or for other uses of the space (as explained in the LibGuide on our Weeding Project ); we will continue to help our users find the information they need, create their own scholarship, collaborate in their study and research endeavors, work quietly on their own, explore the world of rare and unique materials, and be as successful as we can possibly help them to be.

 

 

 

Support for FAU Faculty

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.Fifth floor students promo 5 23 17 clw 074
  • 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  hixson@fau.edu
  • 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  hixson@fau.edu.

 

New Assistant Dean for Research and Collections

Following a national search, the FAU Libraries are pleased to announce that Mr. Jeff Sundquist will be joining FAU as the Assistant Dean for Research and Collections effective July 10, 2017.  Mr. Sundquist is a Ph.D. candidate in Scandinavian Languages and Literature (ABD) at UCLA. He completed his Master of Library and Information Science (with distinction) from UCLA in 2003 and his Master of Arts, Scandinavian Languages & Literature, also from UCLA in 2003.  Since June 2014 he has been Collection Management Librarian at Eastern Washington University, where he has provided leadership and coordination for the creation, assessment, and analysis of the Libraries’ collection policies and activities. From April 2011 to May 2014 he served as Associate Librarian / Coordinator of Acquisitions & Cataloging at Chapman University where he provided leadership and oversight of the work functions in Cataloging and Acquisitions. From August 2007 through December 2010, he was an Associate Instructor, at the University of California, Berkeley where he taught semester-long, four-unit courses of Scandinavian R5A & R5B in the College Writing Program, offered through the Scandinavian Department.  From August 2006 through October 2007 he served as Librarian, Scandinavian Department, at the University of California, Berkeley. Between January 2005 and August 2006, Mr. Sundquist was UC/JSTOR Project Manager/Associate Librarian, in the University of California, California Digital Library (75%) and the UCLA Libraries (25%) He was a Fulbright Research Librarian from July 2003 to May 2004 at Statsbiblioteket (The State and University Library), Århus, Denmark. Mr. Sundquist is professionally active and has authored peer-reviewed articles, a book chapter, and co-authored the monograph entitled “The craft of library instruction: Using acting techniques to create your teaching presence,” published by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2016. 

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As the first Assistant Dean for Research and Collections for the FAU University Libraries, Mr. Sundquist will be working to develop, strengthen, and promote collections and services that support faculty and student research. As Assistant Dean, he will provide strategic vision, policy and program development, and leadership as the Libraries redefine their collections and support for research in the context of emerging trends in scholarly communication, changing formats and access models, shared collections, and new definitions of research collections. He will also provide leadership for innovative program and content development in support of the University’s mission through the Libraries’ units that comprise Special Collections, Interlibrary Loan, Government Documents, and Collection Management.

 

A welcome reception will be held for Mr. Sundquist in the fall to introduce him to the FAU community. During the summer, he will be reaching out to many departments and units across the University to familiarize himself with the University’s programs and services and to look for opportunities to strengthen partnerships and build on existing library services.

 

Denim Day 2017

This spring, on April 4, 2017, the FAU Libraries partnered with the University’s Victim Services department to host Denim Day. Denim Day, commemorated internationally on April 26, is “an event in which people are encouraged to wear jeans (denim) in order to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault,” according to Wikipedia.   The movement stems from an Italian Supreme Court ruling in 1998 overturning a rape conviction because the victim wore very tight jeans and they ruled that the victim had to have assisted in the removal of the jeans and, thus, could not have been raped. Denim Day has grown as an international movement to raise awareness against sexual assault.

At FAU, the Libraries collaborated with Victim Services to host an event in early April (before students got engrossed in end-of-semester papers and finals) in which people were given an opportunity to paint denim jeans with messages of solidarity for victims of sexual assault.

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The event was very well attended by people from all backgrounds and ages taking part

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in the painting or in discussions or in learning about resources and services provided by FAU.

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Following the day of painting, the decorated jeans were hung in the Wimberly Library to

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continue to raise awareness about the seriousness of the issue and to demonstrate the Libraries’ support in making FAU a safe haven for students and community members from all backgrounds and with all manner of life experiences.

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Photographs courtesy of Patricia Koppisch, Information and Engagement Department, FAU Libraries.

Ongoing Redesign of Library Spaces at FAU

About once a week,  it seems that I am approached by various people across the University asking if the libraries have space we can permanently – or temporarily – give up for various offices or functions. These requests have included Math Lab, tutors, office spaces for different individuals, meeting spaces for faculty without a permanent home, space for artwork, special exhibitions, etc.

The FAU Libraries review all requests for space in light of the following:

  • The Libraries’ purpose is to serve all students and all academic departments.
  • Our libraries are the only academic spaces that are available for all students.
  • The Libraries are heavily used and all of our open study spaces and group study spaces are in high demand and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • We are consolidating staff offices so that we can turn previous staff office spaces into group study rooms or other shared spaces to support research and collaborative work.
  • We are reducing the footprint of physical collections so that we can accommodate more seating and study spaces.
  • We are working to redesign spaces to open up more student spaces and multi-purpose presentation spaces to showcase faculty and student work.
  • While all of our work is incremental due to the need to pull together funding, we are working closely with Design and Construction Services to develop a strategic space plan so that our incremental changes all fit within on overarching plan.

The FAU Libraries Space Allocation Committee has been working to redesign the spaces in our libraries, focusing its initial efforts on the Wimberly Library in Boca Raton. The Wimberly Library is the third oldest building on the Boca Raton campus and is in need of upgrades of all kinds – from the air conditioning, to the flooring, to the study spaces, to the access to power, to the integration of technology, to the acquisition of new furnishings, to the use of FAU colors and branding. Guiding principles are to create more spaces for individual and group study, design spaces that are flexible, safe, and that can be redesigned on-the-fly by users, and that support not just research but also the creation of new scholarship and creative activity. The number one guiding principle behind the use of all space in the Libraries is “Students first.”

A major project underway in 2016/2017 has been to open up the fifth floor of the Wimberly Library. The fifth floor has for many years been locked down, reserved for special collections, staff work areas, and limited public events and exhibits. With the support of FAU President John Kelly, the Libraries received $250,000 in FY2016/2017 to “Redesign the 5th floor of the Wimberly Library to expand public space and secure collections and staff work spaces in order to open it to students and the public all hours that the Library is open. The 5th floor is the only space sufficiently large and open to provide a venue for events and presentations. With this redesign, the Library could host a wider array of student, faculty, and community presentations, as well as provide much-needed open study space when not in use for events and presentations. This redesign would support all levels of research and all Pillars and Platforms, but especially Community Engagement and Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”

The Libraries have been working closely all year with the University’s Design and Construction Services to reduce the size of collections, open up more floor space, bring in FAU branding and design elements, make more effective use of staff work areas, and make the space multi-purpose to support a variety of functions. Much preliminary work has been done. To ensure greater flexibility, one of the basic needs was to provide wider and more flexible access to electrical power – a challenge in older buildings. New flooring is being installed this week that distributes electrical power throughout the main seating area. When the flooring is complete, the new furniture that is designed to be easily moved can be brought in. We are expecting a soft opening during the summer and a grand opening and celebration in the fall semester of 2017.

We are sure that students will love the extra space – 100 new study spaces with much improved access to power, with much more comfortable and attractive seating, and with far greater flexibility. We are sure that students and faculty will enjoy and take advantage of new space for presentations to showcase the intellectual life of FAU. Stay tuned for news of the 5ht-floor opening  in the Wimberly Library and watch for other redesign projects in Wimberly and elsewhere as we move forward.

Copyright

Academic libraries exist to enable the students and faculty of their institutions to be successful in their academic careers and also to provide them with the skills they will need to be informed global citizens. We do this by providing access to the world’s scholarly output, by helping them develop and pursue individual research, by keeping them apprised of changes in the scholarly communication landscape, by helping them make connections with other people and ways of thinking, and by connecting them to technology and other tools to be effective critical thinkers and lifelong learners.

One of the primary challenges facing faculty and students today is understanding their rights and responsibilities when it comes to creating, sharing, citing, and repurposing intellectual content. Copyright. When is an image or video on the Web able to be inserted into a presentation or paper without first getting permission? What does fair use allow me to use in my teaching? What questions should I ask before I sign over my copyright in order to have my research published? How do I properly cite and quote someone else’s work in my own work? When am I allowed to build on someone else’s creative work in order to create a brand-new play, work of art, or musical composition? These questions have been around for a long time but have become more complex because of the prevalence of so much content that is freely available for viewing, reading, and listening on the Internet.

The FAU Libraries will be working to offer more workshops, generate more discussion, offer access to webinars, and bring in respected speakers to help address these and other questions facing today’s faculty and students.

On February 24, the FAU Libraries and the Center for eLearning are hosting world-renowned copyright expert Dr. Kenneth Crews to discuss copyright and its impact on faculty and students. Dr. Crews is an attorney, author, professor, and international copyright consultant. For over 25 years, his research, policymaking, and teaching have centered on copyright issues related to education and research. He established and directed the nation’s first university-based copyright office at Indiana University and was later recruited to establish a similar office at Columbia University. He currently serves on the faculty of Columbia Law School and has a law practice and consultancy with the firm of Gipson Hoffman & Pancione. He is the author of numerous publications including Copyright, Fair Use, and the Challenge for Universities (1993), a reevaluation of  the understandings of copyright and fair use at universities, and the well-received, Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators (3rd ed, 2012). He is the recipient of the Patterson Copyright Award from the American Library Association and the 2014 Mark T. Banner Award from the American Bar Association.

To learn more about the program and express interest in attending, faculty and students should visit http://libguides.fau.edu/scholarlycommunication/CopyrightWorkshop