May 2006 Archives

Branches of IADS: The Plant Pathology Library

There's no denying that the Plant Pathology Library is tiny. We do as much circulation all year as Wilson can do in two days. And as many people visit Plant Path in one month as Wilson sees in 1.5 days. Even compared to other branch libraries we are small; generally doing a quarter of the business of the other branches. Our collection consists of books and journals on only one topic: plant diseases.*

The benefits of being small are many, including an intimate understanding of the collection and user needs, and a streamlined experience for the library user--the same person helps them use MNCAT, find the book and checks them out. Obviously some economy of scale is lost, but because the Plant Pathology Department pays the staffing costs, the end result is that the Libraries gain another entry point with which to serve students, staff, faculty and the public. While our stats do not compare to the larger libraries, we provide the same levels and types of services to our users. Savvy library users expect comparable service, but just as many casual users are delighted to discover they can conduct their library research and receive assistance with circulation issues at this location. We provide full reference service, circulation service (except for fines & billing), and course reserves (except for e-reserves). Behind the scenes you will find the same staff activities as at the larger libraries; binding, stack maintenance, student training, basic technical services (cataloging is done at Magrath) and other non-IADS activities. The only difference is one person, myself, fills all of these functions; and even though I do all of this IADS work, my position and the library are actually positioned in AP (Academic Programs).

~ Submitted by Laura Wiegand, Library Assistant III, Head of Plant Pathology Library, May 2006

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