Task Force on Library Services to Undergraduates
See also Report, issued June 1998
Background | Charge | Task Force Members
How can the Library best serve teaching and learning in the undergraduate curriculum? Our undergraduate library services must meet the needs of brand-new freshman students, of first-generation college students, of National Merit Scholars, of the rich e thnic and cultural mix of our students, of re-entry students, and community college transfer students. If these students come from California public schools, they come from schools that rank 50th in the 50 states in funding spent on school libraries. Wh ile they're unquestionably bright, our students may lack skills in effectively finding, filtering, and evaluating information or in understanding the publishing universe.
We have tended to think of Moffitt Library users and undergraduate library users as synonymous. While this impression was once true for undergraduates using the campus' social sciences and humanities collections, undergraduate use of Doe library has chan ged since the opening of the Main Stack in 1992, and Library branches play an important role, given, for example, the large number of undergraduate students coming to Cal as Engineering, Molecular & Cell Biology and other majors. A recent study of undergr aduate library use for the month of October, 1997 (a particularly high-use month for students writing papers, doing research), reveals that 80% of the undergraduate collection use on campus is of collections other than those in Moffitt; as striking, the study shows that the Moffitt collections are used as much by graduate students and faculty as by undergraduates. Here, then, are key issues in rethinking undergraduate library services.
- Clearly it is important to provide a "core", "liberal arts", or "best books" collection for use by undergraduates or faculty and graduate students exploring a subject outside of their normal fields of study. When contemplating the questions, below, we begin with the assumption that there will be such a collection in the Library.
- Open to exploration are the issues of where such a collection should be housed, how it should be designated in both catalogs and within the collection itself, and the circulation policies making it available on a relatively quick turnaround time.
- The Library has nearly doubled the number of users reached since 1993/94 by some form of group instruction. Library-wide, excluding one-on-one consultations with users, Library staff reached over 20,500 people in 1996/97: 11% were reached by Human ities and Area Studies staff; 20% by Sciences staff; 20% by Social Sciences and Professional Schools staff; 34% by Teaching Library staff; and 15% by other (primarily Bancroft Library) staff. Library instruction teaches students how to use print material s in our own collections and those available through cooperative programs as well as electronic resources that are available via Pathfinder, the MELVYL (R) databases, CD ROMs, and the World Wide Web. The educational sessions cover all subject areas throu gh course-integrated and drop-in sessions.
- There are over 225 public access computers across the Libraries, with access to an array of catalogs and databases, abstracting and indexing and full text. There are 40 high-end computers clustered in the Information Center in Doe and another 40 in the Information Gateway in Moffitt. Those in Moffitt allow access to sound and multimedia. The branch libraries offer access to their specialized subject databases.
- Drop-in and by-appointment reference is available in the Library: in some branches there are no scheduled reference hours; in others, reference is available as many as 52 hours per week. Due to cuts in staffing over past years, hours of reference and levels of service have been drastically reduced.
At this critical juncture, we need to rethink our services to undergraduates across the campus: we need to reconsider issues of undergraduate collections, access, instructional technology, and special services. In considering the charge below, please add ress both branch and Doe-Moffitt services, define what services should be offered, and make recommendations on how to improve upon the strengths of the current program. As a part of your deliberations, you may wish to review current research and thinki ng about undergraduate libraries and/or high-use core collections? How do Berkeley's peer institutions provide undergraduate students with access to collections, services, and instruction regarding library and other information resources?
In order best to serve UC Berkeley's undergraduates, please consider the following questions about library collections and services, and their relationship:
- What collections and other information resources do our undergraduate students need? What is the function of the "core 'undergraduate' collection," what size should it be, and where should it be located? What should our circulation policies be, to equitably allow undergraduates to use library materials within the confines of the semester period, yet at the same time allow graduate students and faculty to proceed with their longer research time lines? How should these collections be identified as b elonging to the undergraduate or hig-use core? Are there physical ways to identify books as "undergraduate" or "core" books (spine marking, dots, etc.)? Should such books be identified in the catalogs? You may want to describe different scenarios, give n how you envision the collection. For example, if an undergraduate collection is housed separately, in Moffitt or elsewhere, there may be one set of answers to these questions. If the undergraduate collections are "virtual" collection, scattered among the libraries, there may be different answers. What other information resources (beyond a core or high use print collection) do our undergraduates need? How can we best provide students with access to and information about these other resources?
- How can we best serve undergraduates with regard to the use of library Reserves, print and electronic? Do faculty understand that when they place items on reserve, The Library is adding new resources to the collections, based on their recommendation s, and this is an important way faculty build collections?
- What instructional programs do undergraduates need? How can we best provide undergraduates with the skills to use library collections and other information resources? How can we ensure that students have the right level of instruction at the right time? How can librarians and library staff move from training the lower level "how to manipulate resources" to the higher level content of materials? What new models of delivery of instruction might be made available via the web, including tutorials and self-paced instructional policies? What is the optimum number and types of sessions that should be offered? Define measurable goals over a three-year period, and define funding/staffing formulas that would provide incentives for implementing new models.
- What programs and phasing of programs are needed for students to attain information literacy? multimedia information literacy? How can faculty and graduate students be kept abreast of technological changes in library research in their fields in orde r that they keep students apprised of such changes by including course and curriculum-integrated instruction in their academic programs?
- What reference, research, and other programs should we be providing our undergraduates? What drop-in, phone, electronically based reference or other services should we be providing? What should be the mix of staff providing such help, and where? I s there a role for student helpers?
- What are the services, Library wide, that undergraduate students need to flourish on the Berkeley campus? Are there groups of students with special needs (e.g., commuter students, Re-entry students, Undergraduate Research Apprentices, etc.) that the Library needs to address? Are there needs for special study rooms, spaces, hours, etc.?
- What library-related instructional technology should we be providing? What kinds of services for teaching and manipulating multimedia should we be providing for undergraduates? What kinds of library spaces or classrooms should we be providing? How can the Library best work together with other campus units to address these needs?
Based on these questions:
- Identify the needs and make recommendations for programs aimed at undergraduate students;
- Develop action plans and time lines for implementation;
- Identify initiatives that might qualify for bridge funding;
- Propose a plan for campus review.
Please endeavor to present preliminary proposals regarding the collections by April 20, 1998, and a final report with recommendations on all the areas above by May 31, 1998.
Thank you in advance for your help in defining these vital undergraduate programs.
Members of Task Force on Library Services to Undergraduates:
Ellen Meltzer, Head, Teaching Library, Joint Chair
Prof. Mark Griffith, Classics, Joint Chair
Michaelyn Burnette, Humanities Librarian
Prof. Laura Demsetz, Civil Engineering
Prof. Lewis Feldman, Plant Biology
Ann Jensen, Engineering Librarian
Laura Kim, Manager, Microcomputer Facilities, IS&T
Dr. Norma Kobzina, Natural Resources Librarian
Deborah Sommer, Planning Librarian
Darrin Bautista, Graduate Student
Kevin Muller, Graduate Student
Gina King, Student Representative, Committee on Library
Sara Kendall, Undergraduate Student
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Copyright © 1998 by the Library, University of California,
Berkeley. All rights reserved.
Authored by: Peter Lyman, University Librarian, March 9, 1998
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