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Winter 2001 Published by the Mortensen Library Board of Visitors Vol 8 No 1

Notes from the Director

Ex Libris
Libraries routinely calculate operational expenditures and develop strategies for redistributing always inadequate funds. Certain statistical shifts over time are labeled trends and one clear example is the decreasing percentage of our budgets that are being directed toward traditional collection materials: monographs, music scores, paper journals, etc. Library funding at every level is being redirected to the utilization of computers and networks to maximize access to information.
Monographs traditionally account for half the academic library expenditures for resource materials. During the nineties, the global publishing community inflated the cost of journals to such an extent that by the year 2000 many institutions were allocating nearly 80% of their acquisitions budget to journal subscriptions. The number of books purchased dropped precipitously and holdings lost both their currency and depth � undermining institutional accreditation processes and curricular support. It is now becoming something of an �old saw� to lament the libraries� decreasing portion of the academic financial pie.
Since the invention of the Codex seventeen hundred years ago, the book has demonstrated remarkable staying power. The Gutenberg culture may be restricted by economic constraints but it continues to offer a product that conforms to well accepted editorial standards, is an historically unparalleled damage-resistant storage device, and is accepted by every culture as a sensuous delight. To use a book one is not dependent on the intermediaries of a networked culture where unknown agents develop programming code, upgrade software, distribute filtered information, and lay the wiring to keep

 


us all �plugged in�. Networked culture has become a utility, a complicated infrastructure of related dependencies. Power outages, hacker intrusions, and other anomalies make us feel at times like victims of forces beyond our control.
By comparison, the book is simple and direct. As librarians on the one hand integrate the information technologies in their work routines�the other hand is still free to cradle the book.
Centered on personal tactile encounter with the written word, the Gutenberg culture may no longer be the preferred vehicle of teaching and learning. But for citizens who still champion the spirit of self sufficiency, the culture of the printed word persists without parallel.
This conviction is well articulated by Anne Fadiman, the editor of the influential quarterly, The American Scholar. In Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader (1998) she writes:

I developed a taste for bindings assembled with thread rather than glue, type set in hot metal rather than by computer, and frontispieces protected by little sheets of tissue paper. I also began to enjoy the sensation of being a small link in a long chain of book owners�. The only book that I am likely to approach with unease is one with uncut pages�. As I slit them with an unpracticed fingernail, I am overcome with melancholy. These beautiful volumes had been published in 1897, and not a single person had read them. I had the urge to lend them to as many friends as possible in order to make up for all the caresses they had had missed during their first century.

-- Ronald H. Epp, Ph.D

University Libraries Donors - Year 2000

We appreciate your
effort to assist us
  in providing the scholarly resources needed for the University community. Your continued support allows University Libraries to further collection development.
Irma Abramson
Elaine Alisberg
Professor Ralph Aloisi
Ellen Anderson
Johanna S. Audolensky
Jacob Avshalomov
Jonathan Babcock
William Babcock
Jane Barstow
Mr. & Mrs. Morrison H. Beach
Dr. John L. Behling
Liselotte Bendix Stern
William Berkemeyer
Anna Bigazzi
Harold & Sandra Biloon
Craig Bitterman
Joanne L. Bonsey
Mr. Clarence J. Bourret
Deborah Boyle
Professor Ira Braus
Dr. A. Richard Brayer
Dr. Sandra Brennan
Clyde S. Brooks
Dr. Sherry Buckberrough
Eleanor N. Caplan
Professor Robert Carl
Jason Caron
Robert Chapman
Dr. Pegg Ciarcia
Attila Civelek
Professor Kim Cook
Dr. Robert W. Cornell
Trevor Cushman
Wallace Dace
Dr. Eugene Dairianathan
Amy Dankowski
Zina W. Davis
Professor Steve Davis
Alice M. DeLana
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Deleeuw
Dr. Ashley Doane
Ms. Mabel Donnelly
Marion Donohue
Peter Dunbar-Dornenburg
Atty. & Mrs. Morton A. Elsner
Professor Alex Farkas
Kim Farrington
Azriel Felzenstein
Willfred Fidlar
Professor Rebecca Flannery
Dr. Anthony Fons
Professor Magreet Francis
Peggy Gale
Scott Genereau
Professor Jill Ghnassia
Joan Glazier
Susan Glenney
Alice & Gerald Goldrick
Professor Warren Goldstein
Professor Thomas Grant
Ellsworth S. Grant
Francine duPlessix Gray
Eloise L. Grella
Professor Stephen Gryc
Professor Virginia Hale
Alec Harris
Mr. & Mrs. Owen Hedden
Dr. James M. Hinson
Keith B. Hook
Mr. & Mrs. Nathaniel S. Howe
Richard Huber
Jessie Hullmayer
Keith Humble
Mr. & Mrs. David Hunt
Dr. Elizabeth Ivey
Professor Doug Jackson
Dr. Harvey Jassem
Allan Johnson
Dr. Michael Kahn
Mr. & Mrs. Laurence M. Karkowski
Dr. Lynne Kelly
Peter Kemble
Donna Kiernan
Judy King
Professor Katie Lansdale
Geary Larrick
Janet M. Larsen
Professor Steve Larson
Professor Malek Lashgari
Professor Jay Lichtmann
Mr. & Mrs. Bernard Lieberman
Mrs. Frances Lipman
Dr. & Mrs. A. Peter Lomaglio
Professor Karen Lucas Breda
Professor David Macbride
Steve Metcalfe
Dr. Paul Mihalek
Dr. Regina Miller
Professor Patrick Miller
Mrs. Hugh J. Miser
Grace Mitchell
Gabi Moore

Professor Watson Morrison
Keiko Muto
Barbara Nadeau
James Nicholas
Michael C. Niekrash
Dr. Claudia Nunn
Elizabeth Oliver
Daniel Ostroff
Dr. Sushil Oswal
Linda A. Pine
Sidney D. Pinney, Jr., Esq.
Mark Planner
Dr. & Mrs. Charles Polivy
Bette W. Potter
Professor Richard Provost
David Rhinelander
Bernard H. Rosen
Everett Rosenblatt
Dr. Charles L. Ross
Mr. & Mrs. Jack Rubin
Elizabeth & Peter Russell
Patricia C. Sargent
Lawrence Scanlon
Dean Stuart Schar
Dr. John Schloss
Professor Myron Schwager
Mrs. Guy C. Shafer
Professor Greig Shearer
Hemchandra Shertukde
Judith Sitkin
Maxine Spitzler
Diane Stamm
Donald W. Stauffer
Professor Catherine Stevenson
Jon Stroop
Professor Tomaz Svete
Dr. Humphrey Tonkin
Professor Ben Toth
Professor Charles Turner
Susan Vinhois
Dr. Robert Wallace
Judith A. Wawro
Jerry Weene
Dr. S. Edward Weinswig
LeRoy Werner
Barbara Woodruff
Donald Yazmer
Mr. & Mrs. Willis H. Young Jr.
Chai-Lun Yueh
Brad Zabelski
Bruce Zorn

 

Accreditation
The University is presently midway through an institution-wide assessment process required by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC). Every ten years this regional agency applies standards on its members aimed at quality assurance and institutional improvement. One would imagine that ongoing voluntary self-assessment would be internally appreciated as essential to the health of every institution of higher education. In many cases, however, review by an external authority is the only enforcement mechanism.
Since academic libraries derive their mission from their parent institution, they are evaluated in the context of the parent institution. The University libraries are routinely evaluated by nearly twenty agencies that license University programs. Usually these reviews focus on traditional input measures: collection size, staffing levels, budgets, bibliographic services, gate counts, and other operational issues. Within the last decade, however, the new information technologies permitted the delivery of scholarly resources independent of time and place. The impact has been significant.
Since the use of web-based resources can be documented in far more sophisticated ways than any statistical measures previously available, librarians welcome this opportunity to reconsider traditional measures and standards. Not surprisingly, the evaluative emphasis shifts from input to outcomes: What have students learned through library instruction? What can University graduates do as a direct result of the research skills learned in academic libraries? Both qualitative and
  quantitative measurements are now being developed through electronic documentation, user surveys, sampling techniques, focus groups, and other evaluative strategies. The stature of our profession should improve accordingly.
The initial draft of the University�s self-study will be made available on our institutional web pages within a few weeks. Readers of this newsletter should be most interested in Standard Seven which addresses the adequacy of library and information resources. Community feedback will result in revisions prior to submission to NEASC. An accreditation site visit is planned for early in the next academic year.
Accreditors are aware of the different campus perceptions of the role of libraries. Administrators foster the notion that academic libraries are the intellectual center of an institution, yet national standards show declining percentages of institutional budgets directed to libraries. Faculty see libraries as convenient repositories for specialized journals relevant to their scholarly pursuits. Too often students are marginal to campus discussion of how libraries can better serve their needs.
In recent years, accreditors have increasingly challenged institutions to provide institutional evidence of how libraries are being integrated into student-centered curriculum development strategies. We will use future issues of Resources to keep readers abreast of our efforts to shirk the passivity associated with libraries, to become a more dynamic part of the learning and teaching processes.
Library of Congress Bicentennial Wrap Up
The Library of Congress Bicentennial banner remains draped over the entrance to the W. H. Mortensen Library but the celebratory events of the last year have concluded. Many of you attended the lectures and recitals, cheered on President Walter Harrison as leader of one of the Bicentennial softball teams, and viewed the changing thematic displays exhibited in our libraries.
More than forty pages of Bicentennial content was designed by Barbara Dessureau for electronic guests. This content was viewed more than 2500 times each month and a copy has been filed with the Library of Congress. The celebrations concluded in early December with Connecticut

 
State Librarian Kendall Wiggin opening a window to the future of libraries. The backdrop images for the Resources centerfold are drawn from the Bicentennial website.. (no longer available)
None of this would have been possible without the energy, creativity, and consummate organizational skills of Anna Bigazzi, Amy Dankowski, Barbara Dessureau, Deborah Herman, George Lechner and Sara Metcalfe. Without their creativity the University of Hartford Libraries would not have the distinction of being the only academic institution to recognize the Bicentennial of our national library.
Libraries and Student Employees
It is a commonplace to speak of academic libraries as existing to provide the campus community with the resources necessary to support teaching, learning, and scholarship. Both faculty and students are center stage in fulfilling this mission. Students, however, support the libraries in ways that are usually not recognized formally.
Virtually every department in the libraries depends on one or more of the more than a hundred student employees, making us one of the largest student employers.
This arrangement benefits both the libraries and the student. The libraries depend on student employees to fulfill its mission, from manipulating sophisticated interlibrary software to shelf reading in order to optimize accessibility. Library employment helps defray college costs and flexible scheduling minimizes conflict with their academic responsibilities. More importantly, unlike employment at the Taco Bell franschise in Gengras Student Union, library student employees can work in a learning environment that

 

fosters the knowledge-based organizational skills central to personal and professional success.
The Mortensen Library Board of Visitors recently established an annual Merit Award to be given to student employees who demonstrated outstanding service and commitment. Following nomination by library managers and selection by an evaluative committee, five of our most highly motivated students were recognized at the Spring 2000 Board meeting. Student winners certainly appreciated the formal recognition, the Follett Bookstore gift certificate, and the official notation on their transcript. Board members were noticeably affected by the depth of student comments regarding an experience that provided more than they ever expected from a campus job.
As this issue of Resources goes to press, both Board members and libraries� staff look forward once again to recognizing a few of the most valued human resources in our library facilities.

 

Mortensen Library Board of Visitors, faculty, staff and others interested in the Libraries and Learning Resources of the University of Hartford.