The Drexel Libraries is in its third year of offering the Personal Librarian Program. The program is off to a successful start this quarter. Each freshman is assigned a library staff member who serves as the student's primary contact for the library during the first year. Students may call, email, or meet with their personal librarian for assistance in getting started with research and using library services and resources.
During New Student Days, each freshman received an introductory letter from his or her personal librarian. The Libraries also sponsored a jumbled word scavenger hunt, providing students an opportunity to become familiar with the library and to meet the personal librarians who helped staff the event.
As the University’s curriculum and research interests grow, so do the electronic resources provided by the Libraries. Anticipating curricular needs and taking advantage of newly digitized resources, the Libraries have added a diverse group of resources in the last year. Although purchased primarily for support of programs in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, the digitized historical archive of Vogue magazine has drawn interest from students in marketing, English, communications and history. We’ve also purchased the complete digitized archive of The Washington Post, another resource which crosses many disciplines and supports student and faculty research.
The Tales of the Dragon project beg
The city and campus prepared well over the weekend for Hurricane Sandy that arrived in Philadelphia on Monday, October 29, 2012. This was a storm that affirmed an important role of the Libraries on Drexel’s campus.
The Provost requested that the Libraries serves as an essential service during the University's closing on Monday and Tuesday. Several staff were asked to work and provide skeletal services for over 25 hours during the two days when classes and campus activities were cancelled. They did so fearlessly and with service commitment beyond the normal expectations of their jobs. Here is what was provided to the thousands of students staying on campus during the storm, along with the opening of the Daskalakis Athletic Center [DAC] across Market Street from the W.W. Hagerty Library.
A short week ago we were all worried about the wrath of Sandy, and unfortunately many of our readers and staff were addressing power outages, fallen trees, and flooding. I hope none of you, your families, and homes were severely affected by the storm, and that we all are back to our routines by now. This storm set precedent for the Libraries as an “essential” service during a campus emergency.
We have been encouraged this past month by other votes of confidence in the Libraries' contributions to advance the University’s mission. The first solicitation letter sent to select alumni identified a “matching gift” opportunity made by Michael Hagerty and his family, requesting support of the renovation of the W. W. Hagerty Library building, named in honor of his father, the late President of Drexel University. Response has been encouraging as we prepare for the launch of the design phase meeting on November 9 with the architects awarded the contract.
“Access to online databases” is what the Libraries’ users say is in most need of improvement these days. Users answering the Libraries’ customer satisfaction questionnaire, managed by Counting Opinions, rate both the importance of a number of services, and the level of their satisfaction with Drexel Libraries performance of them. Managerial leaders compare these important ratings and this fall decided to focus on how to improve access to the online databases that the Libraries licenses for student and faculty use—this service has the largest service quality gap and thereby offers the biggest opportunity for improving customer perceptions of the Libraries service activities.
Construction began on Thursday, August 9th for a project that will transform the outdoor space on the 33rd Street side of W. W. Hagerty Library. The project focuses on the existing porch area outside of the Bookmark Café and will provide more than double the current outside seating options, offering a more scenic outdoor workspace for the community.
Part of the Drexel Master Plan, construction for the project is expected to last between 3 – 4 weeks. During this time the library is remain open, but the sidewalk and outdoor space on the 33rd Street side of the building are closed. Signage and safety fencing is in place to detour pedestrians around the construction area. Entrances to W. W. Hagerty Library and the Bookmark Café are remain open throughout construction and be accessible during regular hours.
The success of a new building or a renovation can be gauged in many ways – but none better than by the actions and reactions of the users of the space. As the Libraries addresses the strategic direction to build learning environments that enable self-directed learning, we explore what contributes to such an environment, including the expectations for library spaces. In this issue of In Circulation, I will summarize two recent assessments.
Thinking about the future is an exciting exercise and a challenge when placed against the backdrop of leading change in an organization to shape its future for positive impact. In the Libraries, we have looked at where we are and contemplated the many changes in scholarly publishing, information technologies, social communications, use of space, learning behavior, and the University’s ambitious emphasis on its research, experiential learning opportunities, global outreach, and civic engagement.
But, as the well-known author of Megatrends, John Naisbitt, notes, “strategic planning is worthless—unless there is first a strategic vision.”
Drexel University Libraries, W. W. Hagerty Library, is seeking a highly self-motivated individual interested in gaining work experience in libraries to fill the position of Late Night Supervisor. This individual will be responsible for the late night supervision and operation of the Circulation Desk and overall functioning of the Library in the absence of professional staff.