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Library Student Resource Group January 24 2013

Present: Adreanne Breton, Darrel Chia, Allison Demes, Evan Kuehn, Christina McClernon, Wilson Miu, Yiwei She, Julia Sizek, Zhui Wang
From the Library:Judi Nadler (chair), Rebecca Starkey, James Vaughan, Rachel Rosenberg
Guests: David Bottorff (room reservations), Elizabeth Beers (assessment)

Room Reservation Pilot

David Bottorff introduced the Library's room reservation system, which we are piloting during Winter and Spring Quarters. Users can visit to book one of the group study rooms in Regenstein or Crerar. Library classrooms may also be booked on evenings and weekends using this system. Rooms may be booked for up to 2 hours at a time by current University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff.

To book a room, use the system to place a request. A confirmation will be sent via email to the requestor -- the email must be confirmed/replied within 30 minutes to secure the reservation.

LSRG members had the following questions and comments:

Assessment Activities at the Library

The Library has had an established assessment program for several years. Since April 2012 Elizabeth has been serving as Assessment Librarian, working with other Library staff to assess Library programs and services. Broadly speaking, Elizabeth helps the Library understand what it should be doing and how we can move forward. Elizabeth chairs the Library's Assessment Project Team and the Library's User Experience Group, which evaluates the usability of the Library website and other Library virtual offerings. Other Library assessment projects include annual statistical data (such as the number of books checked out) and our annual survey of Library patrons (this year we're doing faculty).

Light Occupancy Sensors in the Regenstein Bookstacks

One current assessment project involves occupancy sensors for lights in the JRL bookstacks. Currently the bookstack lights are grouped in "blocks" and controlled by light switches spaced roughly 10 aisles apart. The lights are on 15-minute timers. University Facilities would like to install motion sensors in each aisle and rewire the lights, so that (1) only the lights in a specific aisle would turn on and (2) the lights would only stay on when someone was active in the aisle.

What's a reasonable time for the lights to stay on? We don't want to inconvenience users, but we also want to save energy (the impetus for this project). We're gathering feedback because the sensors, once programmed, are de facto permanently set. Adjusting the timing subsequently would mean a very labor-intensive process of re-programming each sensor, so we'd like to get it right the first time.

Most LSRG members thought a 5-minute light period was sufficient (with a minority voting for a longer period). This 5-minute period assumes the motion sensors only require a reasonable amount of motion for the lights to come back on (e.g., a hand wave or moving around a little bit).

Other comments by the LSRG:

Facilities would like to move fairly quickly on this project, probably doing installation work later in Winter Quarter. The installation would be minimally disruptive, with most work occuring in the morning or early afternoon -- thus even if lights need to be off for a short time, these periods should occur during daylight hours. We will also be surveying the faculty who have studies in Regenstein about the proposed lighting change.

The Library and Facilities are also exploring installing light sensors on the B-Level. The B-Level lighting setup is different than the upper floors, so it needs to be a separate project. Instead of motion sensors, the lights would most likely be tied into the existing pressure sensors in the floor.

Paper Card Catalog

Card Catalog on JRL first floorThe card catalog, currently housed around the perimeter of B-Level, was the predecessor of the online catalog. No new cards have been filed in the catalog since 1989.  For several years the catalog continued to be used while the Library did "retrospective conversion" -- creating records in the online catalog to reproduce information on the paper card. Retrospective conversion was completed in the late 90s/early 2000s, and at this time the catalog was moved from the first floor down to the B-Level. The data files searched by HIP/Lens now are our "catalog of record," the canonical source of information about the Library's holdings. While a few patrons infrequently access the card catalog, the only system-wide use of the catalog is to resolve the occasional error/inaccuracy introduced to our online records during the retrospective conversion process.

We are considering discarding the card catalog, because (1) we'd like to put study tables or carrels around the perimeter of B-Level to facilitate easy consultation of the collections, and (2) we need to move the catalog trays to do maintenance work on the flooring below. We would keep a subset of the cards in Special Collections for archival purposes. The smaller card catalogs stored on the upper floors of Regenstein, are not part of this discussion.

Has anyone in the LSRG used the card catalog? Would you miss it if it went away? LSRG members have occasionally thumbed through the catalog, but never seriously used it.

Discussing the card catalog led to some general comments about the B-Level: a good floor for quiet, intensive work, said LSRG members. Could B-Level be a designated "deep quiet" floor? It's hard to study on the first floor because it's so loud -- for quiet study we prefer the upper floors or the B-Level.

Regenstein Bookstacks Alcoves: Converting to Writer's Carrels

The upper floor bookstacks in Regenstein contain consultation tables, installed in alcoves around the perimeter of the bookstacks. The Library is considering converting some or all of these tables into assigned writing carrels. Modest architectural improvements would be made to each desk: there would be task lights, a shelf, possibly a small locker for personal items, and other improvements. The desks would not be locked or enclosed.

Graduate students and undergraduates writing  theses and dissertations would be eligible to request a carrel reservation -- if demand exceeded the number of available carrels, the Library would hold a lottery. It's likely that multiple students would be assigned to each carrel space (up to 3 per carrel), with the carrel occupants responsible for working out how to share the space. We're still evaluating how much space would be needed for a shelf and/or locker, the optimal rental period, and what other modifications to make.

Carrel occupants could charge material to their carrel, with the expectation that these books would be left on the carrel's shelf (and thus available for other users). These books would be charged but not deactivated in the Library's theft-detection system, so they couldn't be taken out of Regenstein. Carrel books picked up elsewhere in Regenstein (e.g., on a table someplace) would be routed back to the carrel by the Library's Stacks Management department.

Any feedback from the LSRG?

We're hoping the architects we are working with on this project will have a prototype on display in late Spring for evaluation and feedback.

Next Meeting and Future Topics

Our next LSRG meeting will be joint with the IT Services student advisory group, and will be held downstairs in room A-11 on Wednesday, February 20.

Please send Rebecca any suggestions for future topic ideas. If you have suggestions, or further comments on any topic discussed today, feedback can be sent to our list: lsrg@lib.