Welcome to Spring 2019

The spring 2019 semester started January 5, 2019 and we have hit the ground running. To our new students, welcome to FAU and the FAU Libraries! To our returning students, here’s wishing you continued success. Whether you are new or returning, we want you to think of the Libraries as your home away from home – the place where you can always get help, where you can connect with friends and study partners, where you can focus on your assignments, where you can relax when you have a few minutes.

43851740_10161073505925654_7465314989138509824_o

Students enjoying the new Diversity Burrow in the Wimberly Library

The semester has been super busy for us in the Libraries and for our students. On January 10, I hosted the first “Donuts with the Dean” event of the spring semester in the lobby of the Wimberly Library,  an informal time for me to chat with students and hand out free coffee, tea, and Munchkins from Dunkin Donuts.

donutswith dean_jan2019

We also reopened our newly redesigned quiet study space on the 4th floor of Wimberly, featuring new flooring, comfortable and attractive furnishings, greatly expanded access to power, and open views of the outside balcony with wonderful natural lighting. The before and after pictures tell the story more effectively than any words can.

 

It’s hard to believe that we are already three weeks into the semester! We have a lot planned for you this semester so keep coming in and telling us what you need.

Welcome back and good luck!

Advertisements

Ongoing Renovations in Wimberly

Responding to student requests for changes in facilities and services is what motivates us in the Libraries. While some of the changes are major and some are relatively small in scope, they are all founded on a desire to create better, more functional, and more enjoyable spaces for the FAU community.

43745390_10217907824316879_1560524612645683200_n

 

Some of the recent changes made this fall include adding more charging stations, adding more white boards, and adding light filters to some of the windows by the study rooms on the third and fourth floors (shown below).

 

 

We have also added six new study rooms since last spring, including one designed for individual study and another designed to meet the needs of students with special needs who require privacy to complete some assignments.

On October 12, we also opened the new Diversity Burrow in its permanent home, just across from Dunkin Donuts on the first floor.  The space used to be the home of the former Circulation Desk (shown below)

6DSC_1304

The former Circulation Desk in the Wimberly Library

That area has no been repurposed to provide an inviting space for students to gather, to study alone, to read, to hang out. The Libraries staff took great pleasure in designing the space and donating furniture and artwork, as well as buying books and furnishings specially chosen for the spot. As we are able, we will continue to repurpose and redesign spaces to provide more seating, better functionality, and greater comfort.

 

43851740_10161073505925654_7465314989138509824_o

Students enjoying the new Diversity Burrow in the Wimberly Library

Our next project is to complete the redesign of the 4th floor quiet study space. That project was due to have been completed before the start of the fall semester but delays mean that it will be opened later this semester. When finished, there will be additional seating, better access to power and natural light, a cleaner space with new flooring, and a variety of seating options.

We have many more projects being planned, all dependent upon finding some funds to carry them out. Keep checking in and let us know what you think as we move forward.

 

 

 

Diversity and Library Collections

This semester, the Wimberly Library opened up a space for its new Diversity Burrow. This is a collection of a few hundred books (some newly acquired and some pulled from the existing collection) whose purpose is to provide a quick, deep dive into the variety of perspectives and life experiences that are represented in our general collection. Its permanent home, which will be across from Dunkin Donuts,  will be a comfortable space for people to sit down, relax, browse the collection, and get an insight into the wide variety of books they can find in the libraries’ collections overall. For now, the Burrow’s temporary home is in the first floor lobby, next to the exhibit cases.

diversityburrow

Diversity Burrow Collection, photo by Sarah Elsesser

Libraries in North America are committed to building collections and designing services that meet the needs of all people from all backgrounds. This is especially true of academic libraries which have the added responsibility of building collections that support a wide array of academic programs. We are committed to principles of inclusion and diversity through our professional associations, such as the American Library Association (ALA). The Library Bill of Rights specifies that collections, services, and spaces should serve all members of the community and that “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.” ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services provides resources, policies, and guidelines for all libraries to utilize in meeting the broad and varied needs of their communities.

couch

Comfy seating in Diversity Burrow, photo by Steven Matthew

The Wimberly Library’s Diversity Burrow is just one manifestation of the FAU Libraries’ efforts to “Develop a culture that serves as a model of diversity and inclusion for staff and for the Libraries’ patrons,” as articulated in our strategic goals. Come check out this interesting, eclectic collection of literature, history, art, and more and broaden your horizons! And, if you find something that piques your interest, check out the same call number range in the catalog or the stacks and you’ll discover even more.

diversityburrow3

Diversity Burrow Collection, photo by Sarah Elsesser

 

 

Meeting with Students

As the Dean of Libraries, I don’t have many occasions to interact directly with students in the course of my job. Yet, serving FAU’s students is the primary motivation behind all my decisions.

Unlike a professor, or a circulation staff member, or a reference librarian, my job does not bring me into contact with students. I see the students every day as they come in the library or come in the Dean’s Suite to pick up a piece of chocolate but I don’t usually have a chance to talk with them.

So, several times a semester, I try to make an opportunity to interact with our students by hosting a Dean’s “Meet and Greet” in the Wimberly Library.  I provide coffee and munchkins from Dunkin Donuts and stand there for an hour and talk with whoever happens to come by. Sometimes I have a theme and sometimes I don’t. The first such occasion this semester took place on Thursday, August 31 in the first floor lobby.

IMG_1536

Photo by Patricia Koppisch

The theme this time was the ongoing transformation of the Wimberly Library.  I was standing in the newly redesigned first-floor lobby, right next to the new mobile device charging stations and adjacent to where the old reference desk used to be.

IMG_1522

 

I had conversations with transfer students (several from Broward College) who were loving the friendly and helpful environment they were finding at FAU. I talked with juniors and seniors from a wide variety of majors, many of whom told me that the library is the most comfortable and welcoming place they have found on the campus. Many students told me that they were commuters and the library was their home base when they were not in classes.

IMG_1652

Some students had seen notice of the “meet and greet” on social media and had stopped by expressly to talk with me or just shake my hand.

IMG_1661

I was surprised by the number of students who had not yet been up to the newly renovated fifth floor. Some students didn’t know that we had more than three floors because they had only used the side of the building that has only three floors.

IMG_1580

I talked with graduate students, some of whom had not yet visited the graduate student lounge or who didn’t know that we added a group study room to that area over the summer. IMG_1638

There was one common thread in all the discussions: the students are happy with the changes that are being made in the Wimberly Library. It was gratifying to hear such positive comments and we will continue to work hard to make the FAU Libraries the kind of place and provide the kinds of services and collections that they need.

Welcome to the 2017-2018 Academic Year

Welcome to the new academic year in the FAU Libraries.  For those of you who are new to FAU, we invite you to discover our spaces, our collections, and the services offered by our welcoming, professional faculty and staff at three different locations: Boca Raton, Jupiter, and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. For students in Davie and Fort Lauderdale, our partnerships with Broward County and Broward College provide you direct access to library spaces and materials, in addition to being able to use all of the collections and services available to all FAU students and faculty at the FAU-run branch libraries.

103

Main Branch Broward County Public Library serving FAU students and faculty in Ft. Lauderdale

For those of you who are returning, you will see that we have been busy while you were away for the summer.

In the Wimberly Library on the Boca Raton campus, we have made some changes you will see as soon as you walk in the door, as well as others that might take you a little longer to discover. As you enter the Wimberly Library, you’ll be struck by the shiny new flooring (getting rid of the ancient green carpeting) that transformed the concrete underneath into a gleaming surface that makes you think you’re walking on water.

white boards with notes 8 11 2017 001

Directly in front of you as you enter the Wimberly Library is the new single service desk. We have removed the old Reference Desk and have discontinued the use of the old Circulation Desk, replacing both of them with a single desk where you can check out books, learn how to use the catalog, get help accessing our electronic journals or databases, pick up a key for a study room, or get detailed reference and research assistance. The goal is for everyone to be able to get connected to help for everything in one place. This is the first phase of a more comprehensive redesign of the first floor that will open up more individual and group seating and increase access to help and newer technology.

first day august 21 2017 135

New Single Service Point in Wimberly Library

 

You will see several new charging stations in Wimberly that were provided by Student Government to allow you to charge your mobile devices easily and securely.

288

New Charging Station in Wimberly Library

 

Still to come in the spot where the old Reference Desk was will be a new, improved workspace for assistive technology (ADA workstations). This new space will be more central and also provide privacy for students with disabilities. Some of the specialized software and equipment available will include Dragon Naturally Speaking, Kurzweil 3000, JAWS for Windows, ZoomText,Dolphin Easy Reader, Plustek Book Reader V100 Scanner, and the SmartView Xtend video magnifier. We also have available for check out the Eschenbach Electronic Magnifying Glass and the Victor Reader Stream (New Generation). Until the new space is completed, students should check at the Single Service Desk for the location of the equipment and software.

Services, Wall writing, august 14 017

Location for new ADA Workstations

 

Another improvement can be seen in the group study rooms in Wimberly. The upper walls have been repainted with special paint that can be written on like white boards. In addition, a project funded by the Student Technology Fee will soon be completed to provide new monitors in the group study rooms that will easily connect to the network. Both of these changes should greatly enhance the functionality of the study rooms. In the past two years, we have also increased the number of group study rooms available for checkout by twenty per cent –  from twenty-five to thirty.

Services, Wall writing, august 14 124

New Whiteboard Walls in Group Study Rooms

 

Graduate students and College of Medicine students will be pleased to discover that there is now a group study room (available for checkout at the front service desk on the first floor) in the spacious Graduate Student Lounge that was opened last year.

graduatestudylounge02

grad_1web

One of the Open Study Areas in the Graduate Student Lounge

 

The crowning jewel for the fall semester is the new multi-purpose space on the fifth floor of the Wimberly Library. In the early summer, we finished phase one of the fifth floor renovation, opening up an entire floor that had previously only been accessible to staff or for special events. We have added over 100 seats for individual and group study, with all kinds of spaces and furniture to meet a wide variety of needs. The floor is an open conversation area but there are many spots where people can study quietly, aided by the privacy screens that surround many seating areas.

DSC_0405

New Fifth Floor Multi-Purpose Space

 

The Wi-Fi has been enhanced on the fifth floor, as well. With lots of natural lighting and comfortable seating, the floor has quickly become a favorite gathering and study place for everyone. The furniture is designed to be easily moved so that we can host lectures and presentations at times when students will not be disrupted. Funding for this renovation was granted by President John Kelly. When you come to the floor, take a minute to write a “thank you” card to let President Kelly know how much you appreciate his support.

thank_you

Thank you note written by a student on May 30, with name and contact information edited out.

Another coming change to the Wimberly Library is a planned Serenity Lounge, a non-denominational space that will be open to members of the FAU community with an Owl Card who are seeking a quiet place to pray or meditate. This new space will supplement the space that is currently available in the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs . The room is also the most recent manifestation of the FAU Libraries’ commitment to diversity and inclusion, articulated strongly in our Diversity & Inclusion Statement. We hope to have this room ready for use by the middle of September.

Led by Director Ethan Allen, the faculty and staff of the MacArthur Library in Jupiter are devoted to providing exceptional service to Jupiter faculty and students.

577

Dean Carol Hixson Enjoying Comfortable Study Carrels at Jupiter

 

Director of the HBOI Library, Pamela Alderman, assisted one day a week by the MacArthur Library’s Assistant Director Leah Plocharczyk, applies innovative thinking to provide outstanding service to the researchers and students who have their home base at Harbor Branch.

The FAU Libraries are here to serve all the students and faculty of FAU, regardless of their field of study, their physical location, or their backgrounds. We are on the move, constantly evaluating our spaces, our collections, and our services. There will be many new exhibits, programs, and events at the Libraries this year. We encourage everyone to come check things out, provide us feedback, and use our services, either physically or virtually, to ensure your academic success as a member of the FAU community.

book_stacks

Welcome to FAU!

Photos for this posting taken by Carol Hixson, Carol Lewis, Pat Koppisch.

 

 

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.

DSC01903

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,

IMG_0639-tlb_students_on_floor

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

DSC_1587pk_students_on_floor

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.

IMG_0641-tlb_power_cords

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.

wall removal

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
5th_opening_cgh_2017_05_31 (14)

Comfortable booths with lightweight privacy screens

  • Brand it as FAU space with colors & logos
  • Accommodate individual & group study
Fifth floor students promo 5 23 17 clw 079

Examples of individual and group seating areas now available

 

  • Increase access to power & wi-fi

 

carpet_install

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

  • Maximize use of natural lighting

 

Fifth floor students promo 5 23 17 clw 056

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.

5th_floor_2017_05_29_cgh (6)

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.

5th_opening_cgh_2017_05_31 (12)

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.

weiner_ed_studio_wall

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.

thank_you

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.

 

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.