In our fall 2010 faculty-staff survey, we asked, “If we could make just ONE of the following happen next year, which would be your first choice?”The answer surprised us (in a good way). Overwhelmingly, the top choice was “Provide a website that would allow you to search across all or most of the databases.”
This was true across all demographics–full and part-time faculty, staff, and even student workers.These products exist. Products such as WorldCat Local
allow users to search across databases (and even the local catalog) through one simple search box. These products are not free or even inexpensive, but they aren’t completely out of reach, particularly after the initial investment has been made.More E-Journals
Among faculty, the “single website” response tied with “Significantly improve our journal offerings by adding some or all of the JSTOR journal online collections.
Overall, this selection placed second for this question.This response is exciting because it feels aspirational. The community is aware of our resources and wants them to improve. Database usage had been stagnant in previous years, but it’s now rapidly climbing with better awareness, a well-organized website, research assistance, and excellent library instruction (go, team, go!).Restore the Core
Continuing improvements to our library building
was the third choice.With the support of Campus Services and a lot of in-house projects, in the last year our facility has become more inviting and usable. The small improvements continue, but we are close to the end of what can be accomplished with paint and elbow grease. Where we go next, and how we get there, are wonderful and challenging questions!And Then There Are the Books
The lowest contender in the votes category was addressing our cataloging backlog for our traditional book collection. This isn’t surprising at all, as usage of our electronic resources outstrips our print resources by leaps and bounds.However, to move our services forward, sooner or later we will need to either catalog or find new homes for our “shelf zombies” — those books that are not findable through our online catalog but occupy so much of our shelf space.