In these days of tightening budgets, reductions in staff, and increasing costs, the University Libraries (UL) more than ever is committed to providing the highest quality service and the broadest access to materials as possible. Because of staff retirements and the need to realign services through reassignments, the UL sadly is unable to provide a full-service branch library with commensurate staffing and hours at the Ogg Science Library (OSL). Effective July 1, 2005, two permanent employees staff the OSL: one full-time classified staff member and one full-time faculty member. With only two employees, hours at OSL have also been reduced and reliance upon student workers has greatly increased. Basic assistance is offered during all hours that the OSL is open, but for in-depth reference assistance an appointment with the Science Reference Librarian is recommended (call 2-2591).
To make up for this decrease in staff and hours, to increase efficiencies and effectiveness, and to reduce costs, some of the daily operations have moved from OSL to the Wm T. Jerome Library (Jerome Library), including OhioLINK and interlibrary loan pick-ups. Planning is currently underway to move more services and collections from OSL to Jerome Library during the coming year. By locating our collections in one physical space, users will have centralized access to these materials for more than 100 hours per week compared to the current 70 hours per week at OSL.
In order for Jerome Library to accommodate materials currently housed in OSL, both facilities are undergoing a transformation. Materials in both libraries receiving little or no use are being identified and transferred to the Northwest Ohio Regional Book Depository (Depository). The Depository is designed specifically for the remote storage of permanently held, important, but little-used materials from the UL collections, and from the collections of the libraries at the Medical University of Ohio and the University of Toledo. Materials housed at the Depository can be requested via email and will arrive within approximately one business day. Additionally, articles requested from periodicals located at the Depository can now be delivered electronically via an email account. The transfer of no- and low-use materials to the Depository will ensure that moderate-to-high-use materials from OSL can be incorporated into Jerome Library with minimal reduction of study space in that building.
The goal for complete incorporation of the services and materials from OSL into Jerome Library is in the summer of 2006. Although it may seem relatively simple, accomplishing this transformation is a major undertaking that will involve nearly every single UL employee. A project manager will coordinate the transfer of materials and supervise the student employees hired to process and move materials. A task force of fifteen library employees is involved in the planning process and meets regularly to set timelines and make recommendations on processes. One of the primary operating guidelines for the task force is to disrupt library users as little as possible. The group is working to minimize the time that materials aren’t available, as well as minimize any noise in study spaces, even as this project involves constructing shelving and moving large numbers of books and periodicals.
After the consolidation of materials from OSL into the collections at Jerome Library, the two permanent employees currently at OSL will move to Jerome Library and students currently employed by OSL and by the project manager will be given priority for filling any other open student positions. UL is working diligently with other units on campus to identify and plan for student-centered uses of the space that will be vacated at OSL.
Kelly Broughton, Interim Associate Dean for Information Technology at University Libraries