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Library Student Advisory Group

January 22 2014

Present: Davi Strauss Bernstein, Drew Donaldson, Charles Kargman, Evan Kuehn, Jane McCamant, Aidan Mitliff, Abigail Shearrow, Haonan (Bill) Zhou
From the Library:James Vaughan (chair), David Bottorff, David Larsen, Rachel Rosenberg, Rebecca Starkey, John Kimbrough

If you know of any eligible grad students who would like to serve on LSAG, please let Rebecca know.

VuFind Update

At our last meeting we previewed the new Library Catalog (VuFind). We are hoping to launch a public beta sometime later in Winter Quarter, with the new catalog appearing as an additional option on the Library website. While Lens and HIP would continue to be available for several weeks, we may remove these options from the main Library home page to encourage use of the new catalog.

Are there other ways we could encourage use of the new catalog? (One LSAG member suggested making VuFind the default option for searching during the public beta period.) Please let us know if you have ideas.

Book a Room Service

David Bottorff, the Library's Head of Collection Management and Maintenance, reported on the Library's Book A Room service, allowing patrons to reserve rooms in Crerar and Regenstein. The Library piloted the service beginning in Winter and Spring quarters 2013. During the spring and summer we analyzed usage data and distributed a survey to patrons who used the service. Based on the analysis and survey results, we made changes this fall and took the service "out of pilot."

Book A Room Survey

The survey was sent to 2200 users of the service last summer. We received over 300 responses (a good return rate). 65% of the respondents were undergraduates. Most of the remainder were graduate students. In general, we received a lot of positive feedback and many helpful suggestions for improving the service. Some highlights from the survey:

LSAG feedback/discussion

Borrow Direct and UBorrow

(introduced by David Larsen, Head of Access Services and Assessment)

The University of Chicago Library participates in two partnerships facilitating expedited book delivery between institutions: Borrow Direct (Ivy League schools, MIT, and the Center for Research Libraries) and UBorrow (CIC/Big Ten schools and the Center for Research Libraries). Both services get books in about 5 days. Books can be checked out for up to 12 weeks in both systems. Books in UBorrow can be renewed for an additional four weeks and are not subject to recall by the home library; Books from Borrow Direct are non-renewable and may be recalled.

To borrow material from Borrow Direct or UBorrow, patrons can place requests in Lens for materials we own, but are currently checked out, or search the Borrow Direct and UBorrow catalogs directly via the Library's website. You can also place Borrow Direct and UBorrow requests via the FindIt! button (SFX) in Library databases such as WorldCat.

One of the Library's original motivations for entering into these partnerships was to provide an alternative to recalls. We're happy to report that recalls have dropped 30% since the introduction of UBorrow. Since both services get books in about 5 days, which is quicker than the average return time for a recall, you have a much better chance of getting material quickly via Borrow Direct and UBorrow.

David distributed a handout with some usage statistics about Borrow Direct and UBorrow -- some findings included:

Although Borrow Direct and UBorrow look very similar to patrons, the processing "behind the scenes" is quite different. Borrow Direct transactions are handled by our circulation system/ILS (Horizon) and almost all the processing is done by the Library's student staff. UBorrow transactions are handled by our interlibrary loan system (ILLiad) and require the involvement of full-time (clerical and supervisory) staff, making the cost per volume significantly more expensive. For patrons, these differences mean that Borrow Direct items show up in your Library Account list of items, along with any University of Chicago books you have checked out, while UBorrow items will display in your ILLiad account, along with items from Interlibrary Loan and Scan & Deliver.

Should patrons use Borrow Direct or UBorrow? The Library doesn't categorically advocate one service over the other; the different library partnerships have different collection strengths. When working in one subject area, patrons might find the Borrow Direct libraries have more of what they need, while in a different subject there are more items available via UBorrow. We encourage you to use whatever service you find most appropriate -- although Borrow Direct is significantly cheaper (in processing costs) for the Library.

LSAG feedback/discussion

Library Emergency Procedures

When the University closed on the first day of Winter Quarter, Regenstein, Mansueto, and Crerar remained open. We had approximately 380 people come into Regenstein and Mansueto and about 40 people come into Crerar on that Monday. The University closing has prompted further discussion in the Library about what buildings should remain open and what Library services we should provide in case of severe weather or other situations requiring University closing. Should the Library stay open when the University closes? If so, what do you expect when you come into the Library?

LSAG members generally thought that it would be helpful for Regenstein (at least) to remain open in case of severe weather, although shorter hours (not staying open until 1am) might have been helpful for both students and Library staff. One LSAG member noted that more publicity about Library hours would be helpful, although Rachel noted that we had alerts both on the Library's website and the Library's Facebook page advertising our hours.

Regarding essential Library services, LSAG members thought "bare-bones services" (circulation and entry control) would be fine, provided patrons still had access to Library collections. Expecting reference or specialized bibliographic assistance (even remotely via chat) seemed unnecessary during a University closing.

Accessing News

How do you stay abreast of world, national and local news? Do you ever read newspapers provided by the Library, either in print or online? (One LSAG member mentioned she used to regularly photocopy the crossword puzzle from the New York Times.) Many students seem unaware that the Library offers full-text access to many newspapers. Rebecca briefly presented some of the Library's newspaper offerings, including:

To find out if the Library has (online) access to a specific newspaper, you can search the Library's Ejournals list. For print holdings of newspapers, search Lens or ask a reference librarian. The Library generally does not provide access to newspapers via publisher websites (e.g.,, because institutional subscriptions are very expensive and we already have full-text access through other databases, like Factiva.

Next Meeting and Future Topics

The next LSRG meeting will take place on February 18, 2014. Suggestions for future discussion topics are welcome; please send to Rebecca or the LSAG list:

Some topics suggested at recent meetings include: