Managing Library Resources: Q&A With Noelle Egan, Resources & Acquisitions Librarian
Last year alone over 2 million items were downloaded from electronic resources linked through the Libraries’ website. Curious about this massive quantity of downloads and how they are supported, I sat down with Noelle Egan, our librarian who manages eResources and acquisitions at the Libraries. She works with many different departments to ensure access to a wide array of electronic resources available through drexel.edu/library.
Q: What is your role at the Libraries?
I am the eResources and Acquisitions librarian, which means I am responsible for placing the orders for all of the print and electronic resources for the Libraries. I also work with vendors and our systems department to ensure that our eResources – including databases, eJournals and eBooks – are accessible to Drexel patrons. For the past several years, I’ve also had a lot of fun running the Libraries’ Spark! Program which is a monthly meet up of the Libraries staff and surrounding community where we discuss topics related to librarianship and information science.
Q: What made you want to work in a library?
In college I was lucky enough to get a work study job in the library, and I was really excited to be near so much amazing information. I also enjoyed helping people get what they needed. That piece of librarianship - being an advocate for people to increase their knowledge and open their worldview - is what drew me into the profession and what keeps me here.
Q: What major changes have you seen in the 10 years that you've worked at Drexel's Libraries?
The Libraries was already on the cutting edge of moving toward a mostly web-based library by the time I became the eResources librarian in 2004. Since then our electronic collections have grown exponentially! It has been a real joy to be a part of the Libraries as we have explored new and better ways to make information accessible. Summon has been a very important part of that – there was no such thing as a discovery service like Summon when I first became a librarian – we only had a collection of long lists of eResources. Also, I would have never dreamed that we’d have a laptop-lending vending machine, that’s amazing!
Q: Drexel's Libraries provides access to a lot of electronic resource. What are the challenges to providing these resources?
Maintaining access to almost 40,000 eJournals, 190,000 eBooks and over 500 databases is a big job! We have a system in place that can help patrons report access issues as they find them, which is a big help in identifying problematic resources and helping individuals navigate through broken links or other problems. Bill Paterson, the eResources Assistant, handles many of these issues as they come in and requests can vary from 1 – 2 per day to twenty per day. A second major challenge of providing access to these resources is that we pay for many of our eResources through annual subscriptions, which can be very expensive. As the University grows, so do the expenses of our subscriptions, which are often based on the university’s population. I spend a lot of time anticipating our cost increases and checking usage of our resources to see which provide the most cost ? benefit for our researchers.
Q: To your knowledge, what are some of the most used library e-resources?
Our database that gets the most use is Proquest Research Library, since that is such a great resource for finding authoritative introductory information on any topic. Last year, Proquest Research Library was searched 192,000 times! Another heavy hitter is CINAHL, our nursing research database – our nursing and health profession students are busy bees! Medline and Clinical Key are also extremely heavily used, most likely by Drexel University College of Medicine students along with students in other Health Sciences programs. Another big one is JSTOR, which houses a terrific archival collection of eJournals in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Life Sciences.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
Seeing patrons excited to be using the resources we have available! Also, I really enjoy the conversations and information sharing with colleagues that go on during the Spark! sessions each month.
Q: How do you manage the large amount of new materials coming into your department?
With the help of terrific staff who work hard receiving items and making them available every day! Sharon Brubaker and Kenneth Fisher place orders and make sure items are available, and Bill Paterson troubleshoots eResource access issues and helps maintain our eResource holdings. We also have help from Diane Kinney for items in the Hahnemann and Queen Lane libraries. It’s a great team!