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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

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