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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

Are You Being Served?

IADS staff do more than duties as assigned. Sometimes they educate the masses on the wonders of MNCAT, or encourage staff to contribute to worthy causes, or put their energy into figuring out how to make all Libraries staff feel appreciated. Like many Libraries employees, IADS staff gets involved in service to the Libraries --it's not just all IADS, all the time!

When talking to several IADS staff members about their involvement and what motivates them, a common theme emerges. Extracurricular activities provide an opportunity to stretch themselves beyond usual work duties. Last summer, Jackie Purdie, of Wilson Stack Services, staffed the University of MN Libraries booth at the State Fair. She said doing this "gave me a chance to learn more about services available that I don't use on a daily basis at my job." Working on special projects also gives IADS staff the opportunity to work with people outside of their own departments. Barb Smith, Photocopy Services, who is on the Staff Awards and Picnic Committee, says "volunteering for extracurricular events is an opportunity to work with folks I would not necessarily talk to or work with in my capacity as a supervisor in the Copy Center." It gave Margaret Ostrander, who was new to her job in Wilson Reserves, the opportunity to meet people in other departments and find that she was working with a diverse community of people. Margaret worked on the Community Fund Drive.

Jackie, Barb, and Margaret expressed a common sense of having done something good for the University Libraries as a whole. Margaret said working on the Community Fund Drive gave her the chance to work with the Libraries community, while allowing her to put into action her belief that the University should be a "responsible community member." Jackie had a similar feeling when she worked at the State Fair booth, saying it was an opportunity to "serve as an ambassador for not just the University Library system, but libraries and education in general." And Barb said, "I feel good about contributing my time and ideas to the library."

IADS staff also stressed how much fun they had working on their projects. Barb enjoyed the opportunity to be creative and to discover how creative her coworkers are. Jackie said her time spent at the State Fair booth was so much fun she would definitely do it again.

Being involved in activities that serve the University Libraries community is challenging, a good way try something new, and have fun to boot!

~ Submitted by: Chris Schlief, Library Supervisor, Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library, July 2006

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