During the school week, students do not move through the A. Pierre Guillermin Library in a steady stream, but in surges. The library employees and student workers know that student traffic in the Integrated Learning Resource Center (ILRC) depends heavily on class periods and the due dates of projects for various courses. The library’s most hectic time periods are the 20-minute periods in between classes, which students use to find hard-copy books and references for their projects and research, hopefully before other students beat them to those same resources. However, the ILRC faculty is now working on expanding the print and e-book collection to ease the stress of competing with other students for books.
The ILRC has a budget this year of roughly $620,000 to use for the purchase of new print and electronic titles, with the focus being placed on additional copies of popular and classic titles, as well as more up-to-date books on various topics.
“The budget increase is overall tied to the university’s prosperity,” ILRC Head of Public Services Rachel Schwedt said.
The budget increased from $136,000 in 2005, and survey responses, enrollment increases and new programs, has allowed the library to create a Collection Management department to help streamline and improve the book selection and purchase process, according to Collection Management head Carl Merat.
One of these programs is a notification system set up with one of the library’s books suppliers, which alerts the ILRC to new books that have just been published. This program has triggered an additional $64,000 of purchases in the subjects of religion, philosophy, communications, psychology and engineering in the past two years, according to Merat. Another program is the “purchase on demand” system, which involves keeping track of books requested from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). ILL requests are now automatically re-routed to the librarian in charge of Document Delivery to see if they can simply be purchased immediately, instead of just borrowed from another library.
“More than 2000 new print titles were added because of this program,” Merat said. “Studies show these ‘purchase on demand’ (POD) titles circulate at greater rates than regular purchases and often save money compared to borrowing the same books.”
However, students should take note that textbooks are not included in the collection expansion plan.
“The general policy for textbooks is that we don’t purchase them,” Merat said. “Occasionally is a faculty member makes a request because that textbook is the best resource for that information, then we will make an exception, but as a general rule, no. We do this mainly because once we have a textbook, we can never have enough copies, and that just leaves the students frustrated and possibly late turning in assignments.”
Students interested in finding available materials at the ILRC can search LUCAS, the online library catalog. To find books from other libraries that can be obtained through ILL, students can use the search engine WorldCat. Both resources are available on the ILRC’s website, which can be found under “Library” on Liberty’s website Quicklinks bar.
For more information about resources offered by the A. Pierre Guillermin Library, contact the ILRC Reference Desk at 434- 592-3362.
Edwards is the feature editor.