Indiana State ‘reinvents’ its library
Published: Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2013 10:03
Indiana State’s Cunningham Memorial Library is adapting to evolving technology and student needs through a new initiative, “Reinventing the Library: Meeting Campus Needs in the 21st Century.”
The project, which began in September 2012, was created to change how the library functions, using input from a campus task force, focus groups and public programs.
Dara Middleton, the events coordinator of the library, said libraries are changing and that means a huge step forward in technology for the Cunningham Memorial Library.
“We’re doing this project to best know what direction to go to best serve our customers,” Middleton said.
Gregory Youngen, associate dean of library services, said the library is readjusting its space to accommodate students as opposed to materials.
“The main driving force is the new technology that is coming out. We have to ask ourselves, are we using our space correctly? Do we need all of our space for our collection? We need more space for our students,” Youngen said.
Indiana State’s library partnered with the Office of Information Technology to fund and purchase furniture, computers and media scopes.
“We recently purchased media scopes which allow groups to partner together,” Alberta Comer, dean of library services, said. “There are new rooms set up on the second floor that allow people to come in and practice their speeches. We even have a room for those who have low sight, which has larger keyboards and larger screens.”
Comer also said students are allowed to check out iPads now for up to four hours. Students have access to white boards and furniture for group work and new computers, as well.
Electronic books are rapidly replacing the circulation of paper books being checked out in the library, Youngen said.
“There are 155,000 eBooks, which is 10 percent of our collections. That means that there is 10 percent less paper books in circulation. All of our journals and magazines are eBooks now,” he said.
Comer said the library is not purchasing any hardback or paperback books at this time because of eBooks’ popularity.
“We prefer to buy eBooks because then they will also be available for the distant education program students to use,” Comer said.
Further, the library is taking steps into making research papers and projects easier for the students.
“We have a new researching source called LibGuides, to help students search better when doing research projects,” Comer said. “It’s a short-cut to make research easier for students and it helps reach the distant education students also.”
A new search tool is being made, which will resemble the Google search engine. Called the Discovery layer, it will search all the information in the library and also filter out irrelevant topics.
“The new technology has allowed us to do that. Our materials are already cataloged into our system,” Comer said.
Library staff members have conducted a campus-wide survey, designed to get input on how to better meet the researching and teaching needs of a 21st century campus. It began in early February and ended last week.