4.2 The Levin Library at Curry College: A Small Academic Library in New England

第2章 米国の一般的な図書館のすがた

4. 大学図書館
4.2 The Levin Library at Curry College: A Small Academic Library in New England

David Miller
Associate Professor / Librarian of the Levin Library

with Hedi BenAicha
Professor / Librarian of the Levin Library

Leslie Becker
Supervisor Library Circulation of the Levin Library

Jane Lawless
Associate Professor / Librarian of the Levin Library

Frances Reino
Sr. Lexcturer / Librarian of the Levin Library

Kathy Russell
Associate Professor / Librarian of the Levin Library

Mary Ryan
Associate Professor / Librarian of the Levin Library

and Gail Shank
Associate Professor / Librarian of the Levin Library

   Curry College was founded in 1879 as the School of Elocution and Expression. The School was originally located in the Back Bay neighborhood of downtown Boston, Massachusetts, and moved to the suburban town of Milton in the 1950s. Today, Curry College offers twenty academic undergraduate majors (B.A. and B.S. degrees), the most popular being Management, Communication, Nursing, Criminal Justice and Education. The College also offers Master’s degree programs in Education, Criminal Justice, and Business Administration. The student body numbers approximately 2,000 full-time, traditional undergraduates, in addition to approximately 1,500 Continuing (Adult) Education and 380 graduate students. Continuing Education courses are taught on two satellite campuses as well as the Milton campus.

The Levin Library

   The Levin Library serves the entire College, supporting all academic programs. The Library building’s three floors are shared with the College’s Essential Skills Center (which provides both professional and peer tutoring), and computer lab/classroom space. Under the leadership of President Kenneth K. Quigley, the College’s student, faculty, and staff population has more than doubled in the past decade. However, the space available for Library collections, services, offices and study area has remained essentially the same. The Library’s primary challenge is therefore to expand and modernize its services and collections, in a facility designed for a smaller institution in the pre-digital era.

   The professional staff includes six full-time librarians: the Library Director, Head of Reference, Head of Technical Services, Interlibrary Loan Librarian, Collection Development Librarian, and Serials/Electronic Resources Librarian. Most full-time librarians provide reference and bibliographic instruction. Four part-time librarians perform reference and instruction, one serving additionally as the Coordinator of Instruction. There are four full-time non-MLS (paraprofessional) staff: the Head of Circulation, Assistant Head of Circulation, Technical Services Supervisor, and Purchasing/Administrative Assistant. There are two part-time paraprofessional staff, one of whom is the Government Documents Specialist. A library school intern works in the Library’s Education Resource Center, which features resources for Education majors to use in preparing student-teacher assignments. Thirty student workers, working approximately six hours apiece, are assigned to the Circulation Desk. The Library itself is open 88 hours a week during the academic semester. During the academic year 2006/2007, the library budget exclusive of salaries was US$469,000.

   As of February 2007, the collection includes approximately 99,000 monographic items. This number includes over 1900 video and sound recordings in the main collection, and 8200 items in the Education Resource Center, which features books, video and sound recordings for children, games and toys, in addition to student-teacher materials. The collection’s net growth from is year to year is gradual, due in large part to regular “weeding,” or removal of older items from the collection. Weeding is driven, in part, by the limitation of building size, given the increasing need for student study and meeting space. In addition to these physical holdings, the library catalog provides access to 19,000 individual electronic journals, through MARC catalog records purchased through Serials Solutions. The number of traditional subscriptions to print periodicals is small, at just over 400. Physical library holdings circulated 8100 times in the year 2006.


   As the College has grown, so has the demand for reference service. Reference services go beyond the traditional staffing of the reference desk, now provided fifty-five hours per week. We have implemented an electronic reference (“Ask a Librarian”) service, through which library users pose questions by email, and receive answers within twenty-four hours on weekdays. These questions may lead to follow-up interactions by telephone or in person. The Library also provides a type of reference service called RAP, or Research Assistance for Papers. RAPs are arranged by appointment, and typically consist of an hour-long session between a student and a librarian. The use of RAPs has changed in recent years. Although the number of appointments made has decreased slightly — from thirty-five in the Fall of 2001 to twenty-nine in the Fall of 2006 — the proportion of graduate students making these appointments has increased. (Figures are given for Fall semesters; there are traditionally fewer RAPs needed during the Spring.) Graduate students RAPs are by nature more intensive, and are likely to last longer than an hour.

   It is well known that newer generations of students have grown up being more comfortable with digital resources than their predecessors. However, undergraduate attitudes toward digital resources appear to be undergoing an interesting change. At first, during the 1990s when search engines became available, students assumed that they could “find anything on the Internet.” Gradually, they have come to learn that what they found was, in many cases, superficial or incomplete. They have learned to come to librarians for help after doing a beginning search, and also because many faculty insist that simply “Googling” is not an acceptable research strategy. Another change noted by reference librarians is that while fewer questions are received at the reference desk, they are for the most part more academic in nature than in previous years. Simple, factual queries may indeed be answered on the Internet.

   In 2004, reference librarians began using Microsoft Access to track and categorize our reference interactions more deeply. We have learned much from this development, for example:

  ・We have learned how much time is spent providing reference service away from the reference desk. We take phone calls and answer e-mails when “off-post” in our offices, and phone calls account for 60% of off-post reference work.

   ・We have a clear idea as to which disciplines make the most use of a reference librarian’s time. Of the College’s subject areas, four account for 50% of this time: Nursing, Criminal Justice, Communication and English. We consider this when allocating funds for collection development.

   ・We know that requests from Continuing Education and Master’s students have stayed fairly level as percentages of the total, and we are working harder to make contact with those students.

   ・Approximately 50% of our reference transactions occur in October, November and April, and approximately 50% of our questions for the week are asked on Mondays and Tuesdays.

   ・We plan to refine and develop our use of Access over time, to provide better management data.


   An increase in requests by faculty members for classroom visits by librarians has accompanied the College’s growth. For example, where in the 2001/02 academic year librarians taught 115 classes (reaching 1,618 students), 131 classes were taught (reaching 1,553 students) in 2005/06. The slight decrease in the number of students reflects a slightly smaller average class size.

   Instruction services are given to most of the Curry student population, due to the fact that required courses (e.g., English Writing Workshop), use this service every semester. The most popular form of library instruction is the “one-shot,” consisting of a single class meeting at the library where students are exposed to our resources. Librarians work closely with faculty to make this a meaningful experience by requesting advance copies of class assignments. We use these assignments to make our presentations relevant to the students. Time is given at the end of class for students to begin actual research under our guidance. Following a “one-shot” class, many faculty schedule a second class period, to work in the library computer laboratory with a librarian.

   We have found that library instruction is most effective when conducted at the middle of the academic semester. At this point, students have been assigned their semester projects and are ready to begin the research process. They have reached a “point of need” and are more receptive to learning about library resources.

   Currently, we are making an effort to expand instruction to the College’s satellite campuses, where Continuing Education programs are offered. Although network technology has allowed our resources to be accessed from remote locations, many students at these campuses are adult learners who are hesitant about using the technology. We have found that these students very much appreciate the guidance we provide them.


   Collection Development is led by the Collection Development Librarian in conjunction with the Library Director. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the library materials budget is divided to support collection development objectives. The budget allocation for 2006/07 was approximately $75,000. The money allocated to each academic department depends on a number of factors, including the size of the department (numbers of student majors and faculty) and number of courses taught. Librarians serve as liaisons to departments and are responsible for selections in their areas. Selections are encouraged from faculty in support of current and planned courses. This collection development model differs from our previous one, in which the Library Director was the primary selector and used the journal Choice as the main selection tool.

   The materials budget is used to purchase print and non-print materials. (The budget for serials remains separate from the allocation formula at present, but this practice is under review.) Most orders are placed via the Web using Title Source 3, software provided by the Library’s primary materials vendor, Baker and Taylor. Preliminary MARC records are downloaded from Title Source 3 into our Innovative Interfaces library system, which includes a fund accounting component to record the allocations and expenditures in each budget category. As approximately 75% of the materials budget is spent with Baker and Taylor, to maximize resources and streamline operations, the Library renegotiated its contract in 2006. Baker and Taylor analyzed our purchase categories and offered a flat discount on all titles, with a slightly higher discount on audiovisual materials. At the same time, the decision was made to consolidate vendors and choose Baker and Taylor to supply our “continuations” (generally, publications with annual editions or updates). Using the vendor’s Compass software, we are now able to manage continuations on-line, maintain consistent discounts, reduce paperwork, and develop a better working relationship with the vendor staff.

   Collection development is enhanced by additional online tools, such as OCLC’s WorldCat Collection Analysis service, and the planned future use of Bowker’s Resources for College Libraries, which outlines a core collection. These resources aid us in determining the strengths and weaknesses of the Levin Library collection.


   As mentioned above, the Library’s ILS is provided by Innovative Interfaces, Inc., and was first implemented in 1995. It is a “standalone” system, rather than being part of a consortium of library catalogs. The primary ILS modules are the WebOPAC, Cataloging, Serials, Circulation, Acquisitions, and Electronic Resources Management. Cataloging is performed in MARC 21 format; records are created and edited using OCLC’s Connexion software, and downloaded into the ILS.

   The Levin Library collection includes Master’s theses in Criminal Justice and Education, which are given full original cataloging. Original and adapted records are also produced for “gray literature,” important documents which, although published online, are printed out and bound. Catalog records for these locally printed documents include URLs for the electronic locations. For individual electronic journals available in aggregator databases, we receive monthly MARC record updates from Serials Solutions, showing changes in years of coverage, as well as titles added and dropped. Individual catalog records allow for keyword/subject searching of the topics of e-journals, as well as their titles. Freely available Web sites chosen for their academic value are also cataloged, although of course there is no attempt to “catalog the web.” As resources permit, we hope to begin providing metadata for the College’s small but valuable archives.


   Access to serials and electronic resources continues to be a main concern for collection development and resource provision. Coordinating the myriad resources accessed via the web sharpens the need for proxy servers, electronic resource management software, link resolvers and federated search interfaces, in addition to the role played by the library catalog.

   The ever-increasing provision of electronic access to the journal literature is of immense value to the Levin Library’s users, but it raises a number of key questions. First, we must determine how differing needs influence the appropriateness of different formats. Individual journal titles may be more easily available to remote users in electronic format, but we have found that print is still preferred by many in specific circumstances. Additionally, the overlap must be considered between purchase of individual journal titles and their inclusion in subscription databases. Certain journals are considered “core” and should be subscribed to regardless of their inclusion in aggregate databases.

   More recently, publishers have begun to develop topically focused “bundles.” For instance, the publisher Sage makes available packages of its prestigious serials by subject area, and has removed the full text from aggregate databases. However, the cost of these publisher packages is relatively high, and will require a shift in planning and budgeting. What does not change is the need to set priorities in relation to available funding. This process becomes more urgent and complex as the amount of published information grows.


   The pervasive use of electronic databases has not reduced the number of Interlibrary Loan requests for research materials from faculty and students. In the 2005/06 academic year, the Library borrowed 1014 journal articles and 519 books from other libraries. This can be compared to the year 2002/03, in which 749 articles and 425 books were requested. We also loan materials to users at other libraries: 344 journal articles and 473 books in 2005/06, as compared with 318 articles and 559 books in 2002/03. Although most transactions take place within the United States, we have borrowed from and lent to libraries in other countries, including Canada, Australia, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. As a reflection of the College’s curricular strengths, we find that journal articles in criminal justice, nursing and education are most often requested from us.

   The management of Interlibrary Loan is not only a technical matter, however, but is related to reference service and user instruction. Many students, beginners or those more experienced, believe that articles found in a database search should be obtained, regardless of their actual utility. Similarly, electronic resources generally have made available to researchers vast amounts of information, more than most researchers and students had in earlier decades. This requires learning how to glean the most relevant items, how to discard duplicates and marginal sources, and when to stop accumulating material and start the process of writing and critical analysis. Although we do attempt to provide what students request, when we see that they are having difficulties at any of these stages, their Interlibrary Loan requests may become opportunities for further instruction.

   The Library belongs to two resource-sharing consortia: the Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Library System and LVIS (Libraries Very Interested in Sharing), which includes thousands of libraries throughout the United States. LVIS libraries are committed to borrowing and lending at no charge.


   The twin factors of institutional growth and expansion of electronic resources are reshaping every dimension of the Levin Library’s services and collections. Nevertheless, as expansion of the library’s physical facility is not likely in the near future, reuse of existing space has become an important priority. In 2006, the College administration hired an architect specializing in library construction, who provided proposals for the redesign of underutilized spaces and reconfiguration of more intensively used areas. The latter must also take the sociological changes in student generations into account. For example, while it is common for the current generation of students to work comfortably in groups, these groups include remote members connected by cell phones and/or instant messaging. This has an impact not only on the design of study space, but on cell phone use policy. We are coming to understand which aspects of generational difference are important to take into account, in relation to our educational mission.

   The Levin Library story is of both continuity and redevelopment, as well as grace, under pressure. Curry College’s healthy and growing status presents the Library with many worthy challenges: in its mix of resources, communication with faculty, staff and students, reuse of physical space, and new or redeveloped services.