Recently in Collections & Access Category

Access Increased in Wilson Sub-Basement Collections

With apologies to John, Paul, George, and Ringo, "All we are saying, is give access a chance."

In Fall 2006 AP and IADS staff teamed up on a pilot to deliver increased access to and standardize hours in Wilson Library sub-basement units, including the Annex, Ames Library of South Asia, East Asian Library, and Map Library.

These units are open until 8 pm Monday-Thursday and from 1-5 pm during weekends. This represents a combined additional 33 hours of access to these units.

While keeping the doors open a few extra hours each day seems pretty straightforward, there were many operational details to consider: How would the units be staffed? How would users find assistance? What about advertising? How would data be collected and then analyzed to determine the efficacy of the pilot?

Stack services student workers have been tapped to staff the units after 5 pm and on the weekends, with the exception of the Map Library which staffs with a graduate assistant. Two students are assigned to the sub-basement each hour, one at a service desk and one as a rover. The desk student counts users as they arrive in the sub-basement and offers directional and paging assistance. The rover performs stacks maintenance activities. The hours of the sub-basement units correspond to hours that the main reference desk is staffed. If users need help beyond what the student staff can offer, professional librarians are at the ready.

Since the beginning of the semester the extended hours have been advertised on the holopro and on a centrally located poster in the sub-basement.

What does the future hold? AP and IADS staff recently met to review use statistics and decided to continue the pilot through the spring semester. At the conclusion of spring semester, two full semesters of data will aid in decision-making.

~ Submitted by Julia Kiple

Aleph Booking May be the Ticket

Library staff are currently busy testing Booking features in Aleph. Booking allows for materials to be reserved in advance for future use. For high use items like Reserve readings, rooms, and equipment, Aleph Booking can be an ideal way to ensure that these items are available for use when our patrons need to use them. While not yet available to our users in production, plans are underway to enable booking for our users in the very near future.

How does Booking work? For an example, say a faculty member wants to Reserve a video for class use during the 6th week of the semester. Library staff can book the request for the faculty member, but it is also possible for the faculty member to make the booking request directly within MNCAT. When booking an item, Aleph provides a schedule that allows users to view time slots that are already booked as well as ones that are still available. The booking can be for the full length of the normal loan period, but can be shortened as well. Once a booking request is in place, the video can continue to be loaned to other users, but as the 6th week approaches, any loan that would overlap with the booking period is automatically shortened by Aleph so that the faculty member will be able to have the video to show in class. As the date of the request approaches, staff at the owning library receive a report of the upcoming request from Aleph so that it can be delivered to the faculty member in time for the classroom showing. Reminders can even be sent to patrons letting them know that their requested date is approaching.

While our staff are testing Aleph Booking, the Duluth campus has been using Aleph Booking in production for the past six months. Their assistance and advice has been invaluable during our testing.

If you have items and/or equipment in your collection that you believe could benefit by being available for booking, please contact Chris Rose.

~Submitted by Chris Rose, IADS Aleph Coordinator

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