Newsletter

Exhibit in honor of the Dalai Lama’s visit

An exhibit highlighting items in the Libraries’ collections relating to Buddhism, the Dalai Lama and Tibetan and Thai tradition is now on display at the Walter Havighurst Special Collections.

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Siamese Dream Book, Early to mid-19th century.

The exhibit has several related themes. The teachings of the Buddha are illustrated with images and books from the Instructional Materials Center. The section on the Dalai Lama features selected books by His Holiness from King Library’s circulating collection. Buddhism in North American and Southwestern Ohio include newsletters, photographs, and popular magazines with a Western perspective on Buddhism. Also on display are folding books from Thailand, which are found in Buddhist monasteries.


Thai Astrological Manuscript, Mid- to late-19th century.

Books on dreams, astrology and fortune telling are also on display. The exhibit runs through the end of December.

More information can be found on the Special Collections website.

Technology update

Power Inn expands

King Library’s Power Inn, located on the 1st floor, has been expanded. The open study space provides additional tables and seating for students looking for a study spot and a place to charge laptops, iPods and cell phones. The space originally opened in 2009, was expanded from 35 to 127 outlets for student use this August. There are now more than 50 study spaces available in the Power Inn.

Libraries’ mobile website featured on American Library Association website

The Libraries’ mobile website, which launched in winter 2009, was recently highlighted on the website of the American Library Association, the largest library association in the world. The mobile site, created by members of the Libraries' web team, allows users to access the libraries’ web content from a mobile phone. Users can search the library's holdings including books, DVDs, CDs and electronic databases. With the new site it’s even easier to contact a librarian for research help by phone, email or instant message or to check hours of service or get directions to our different locations.

E-reserves and poster printing leave the Libraries

In order to effectively support core library services for the campus community with the reduced level of staffing, the Libraries eliminated redundant services and reduced hours this fall. Electronic course reserves are no longer offered through the Libraries. Training for faculty to use Blackboard and support for faculty and students was offered throughout this transition. The Libraries continue to maintain non-electronic formats of reserve material in all its locations.

Poster printing was discontinued at the end of summer 2010. The cost for equipment, supplies and staff time were excessive and duplicative. IT Services’ Print Center continues to offer poster printing for Miami’s students, faculty and staff. These changes were essential and allow the Libraries to focus on core goals and services.

Fall events welcome new students, faculty

This fall, the Libraries hosted a variety of orientation events and welcomed new faculty, graduate students and undergrads to the libraries. These events aim to give individuals new to the university a sampling of the facilities, services, materials, resources and staff available to them throughout the library system.

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In mid-August, around 40 new faculty members joined librarians for lunch and breakout sessions focusing on technology, accessing materials, the opportunities provided by the Miami Scholarly Commons and other services. This event was successful and has resulted in many new partnerships and relationships between the libraries and academic departments.

Two orientation sessions for new graduate students were held in late August to highlight the MU Libraries. Students were introduced to services, technology, the website, and many librarians. Tours of the library of their choice were available.

Orientation events for international students and students in the sciences were also held this fall. Both events were successful and introduced hundreds of new patrons to the Libraries.

New library set to open in Fall 2011

Laws Hall, the former site of the Farmer School of Business, will soon be the new home of a library for Business, Engineering, Science and Technology. The library will house print materials, a combined reference/circulation desk, group study rooms, a collaborative instruction room and an information commons area complete with new and emerging technologies for student use.

The College of Arts and Science and the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies will occupy some of the second and third floors.

Energy efficiency is a priority in the project, the university is replacing windows, adding insulation and improving heating, air conditioning and lighting throughout the building.

The new library is set to open in Fall 2011.

Special Collections welcomes new librarian

Kimberly Tully has joined the Libraries as the new Special Collections librarian. She previously held the position of Special Collections Librarian (Rare Book and Printed Materials) in Historical Collections at the Harvard Business School's Baker Library. She also held positions as the English Short-Title Catalog (ESTC) Cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC and as curatorial assistant in the Department of Printed Books and Bindings at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.

Kim holds a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a MLS from the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign and a MA in European history from the University of Notre Dame.

In her new position as Special Collections Librarian, she will be processing manuscript collections, cataloging rare materials, creating exhibits and giving class presentations.

Libraries continue to rank high in service

In a recent survey, focusing on satisfaction of library services, the Libraries ranked high in service, physical space and accessibility of online resources.

LibQUAL is a user opinion survey offered by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) that libraries use to assess service quality. In 2003 and 2007, the Miami Libraries used the LibQUAL instrument to track and understand patron expectations and satisfaction. Last fall, a shorter version of the survey, LibQUAL +® Lite, was administered. A sample size of 4,059 people was used, which included a mix of undergraduate and graduate students and full-time faculty. Comments were also collected in addition to the data.

Echoing previous years, the Libraries ranked high in service. The survey found that patrons are very satisfied with staff and librarians who are “consistently courteous” and have a great “willingness to help users”.

Patrons view the Libraries as comfortable and inviting despite the fact that they feel there is not enough study space. The survey indicated that our users are satisfied with the quality of the space. In addition, 63.49% of the LibQUAL+® Lite survey participants physically visit the Libraries at least once a week.

MU users are very satisfied that the Libraries’ electronic resources are accessible to them even when they are out of our buildings or are off campus. Patrons commented on struggling with finding information through our online resources, but some of this was due to the launch of a new library website around the time of the survey. We are continuing to look at out catalog and website and make improvements.

Overall, the Libraries scored well on the survey and did well among comparable and benchmark institutions. Library staff is currently putting measures into place to improve and communicate changes to our services and facilities as a result of the survey.

Message from the Dean

Like other units at Miami and libraries at many other colleges and universities, the Miami University Libraries are contending with a difficult budgetary environment. At the time of writing, Miami has reduced its annual budget by $20 million and is currently planning additional reductions in excess of $40 million.

The Libraries continue to serve our students and faculty, although with significant reductions of staff (around 20%). Over the past year, we have looked for ways to realize efficiencies by combining service points and even eliminating and reducing some services. While some of these changes have been transparent to our clientele, others have been noticeable.

The most prominent adjustment has been eliminating overnight hours in King Library on Friday and Saturday; the Libraries now close at 10 p.m. Although these late weekend hours were the least heavily used hours, the Libraries have heard a significant outcry from individual students and from Miami’s Associated Student Government. Unfortunately, budget cuts have real consequences.

Although we have sustained relatively small cuts to books and journals to date, additional cuts appear likely for the Libraries and for our statewide consortium, OhioLINK, which provides us with access to many e-journals and research databases.

Thankfully, the MU Libraries do not do it alone. We are grateful to each of you who serve as advocates for library funding and as our donors. Your generosity has helped the Miami University Libraries to weather the budgetary storm and forestalled more dramatic reductions.

I look forward to continuing to work with you so that we can continue to provide Miami’s students and faculty with the library services and resources they deserve.

Again, thank you,
Judith A. Sessions
Dean and University Librarian

Giving Matters

Without the loyal support of our donors, Miami University Libraries would not be the invaluable resource it is to Miami’s students, faculty and community members. Funds will be used to fund staff development, training, new technology, and Special Collections and digital initiatives projects.

If you would like to make a campaign commitment in support of Miami University Libraries contact Heather Kogge, Director of Development at 513-529-5217 or koggeha@muohio.edu. Make a donation online at www.forloveandhonor.org. Thank you!

Cultural events held for African American and Women’s History months

The Libraries hosted the 21st African American Read-In on Monday, February 22nd. The Read-In is an annual event that honors the literary works of African Americans. Campus and community members as well as students and staff participate by reading parts of novels, poetry, plays and nonfiction. The event is held in honor of African American History Month.

The 4th Annual Women’s Read-in was held on March 25 in the King Library Instructional Materials Center. It is co-sponsored by the Women's Center and is held in honor of Women's History Month. Two themed hours at the read-in: The student group Spectrum hosted an hour devoted to LGBT literature and WiSDEM hosted an hour on women in science. The event drew over 100 participants and listeners.

Contest challenges students information searching skills

The Libraries hosted the Digital Literacy Contest on March 24. This fast paced contest (30 minutes, 20 questions) tested students cognitive ability and prowess in finding information on the internet.

A total of $400 in total cash prizes and free food was offered for attendees. Correct answers earned points, and incorrect answers were penalized and the highest score was declared the winner. Questions included finding information on internet websites and library databases. Funding assistance for this event was provided by the Miami University Special Events Fund.

More information about the contest is available at http://www.digitalliteracycontest.org/.

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