The Hilton C. Buley Library provides access to an excellent array of print, electronic, and media resources to meet the evolving information needs of the academic community. Significant increases in support during the past few years have enabled the Library to build a strong foundation of core collections and services, to invest in information technologies, and to restructure the organization to respond to current needs and plan for the future. Resources have been developed to support and enrich Southern’s academic offerings, including our emphasis on graduate education. The library resource initiatives listed in the University’s Strategic Plan will strengthen those resources considerably, with increased support for distance learners, investment in emerging technologies, continued collection growth, and new library facilities.
The Hilton C. Buley Library provides nearly 600,000 print and media volumes and access to more than one hundred electronic databases to serve the study, teaching, and research needs of Southern’s students, faculty, and staff. An online catalog shared with the Eastern, Central, and Western CSU libraries, and the Connecticut State Library expands available print and media resources to over two million volumes. Interlibrary loan services and other consortial arrangements further supplement these holdings.
On June 30, 2003, the Library held 360,330 monographs; 37,215 print government documents; 65,456 bound periodical volumes, 6,293 non-print media, and 111,386 microform volume-equivalent items. Current subscriptions included 2,247 print and 16,124 electronic periodical titles, and over one hundred web-based indexes, databases, and full-text resources.
The annual budget for library materials increased by over 100% in the past six years. This investment has resulted in a net annual growth of approximately 10,000 volumes, steadily moving to fully meet the American Library Association’s A-level quantitative standards. At current collection growth rates, we expect to fully meet those standards in the next three to five years. This growth is coupled with a focus on qualitative measures to insure that the collection is sufficient in quality, level, and diversity to support and enrich the University’s academic offerings. The substantial investment in library resources has presented an excellent opportunity to assess collection strengths and weaknesses and to target those areas considered inadequate. Departmental book fund allocations, established in 1998 to insure balanced collection growth, have been adjusted frequently to reflect curricular changes, new majors, and other unique needs. The librarian subject selectors have worked with departmental faculty liaisons to identify collection weaknesses, and collections have been strengthened through use of subject bibliographies, book reviews, and comparisons to other library holdings. An ongoing journal use study has formed the basis for determining collection strengths and weaknesses, planning for growth to more fully meet graduate-level research needs, and converting from print to digital format. Use data for electronic resources is regularly monitored to assess usefulness and to determine the most appropriate products to serve the needs of the academic community. Detailed data on the use of online resources continually informs decisions on electronic subscriptions. Ongoing collection evaluation will continue to insure the best use of available materials resources.
Resource sharing expands these collections considerably. The library shares an online catalog with the other three CSU libraries and the Connecticut State Library. The system provides patron-initiated interlibrary loan requests, and a courier services connects the five libraries on a daily basis. Some support for electronic database access for all four libraries is provided directly by CSU; most contracts are negotiated jointly to insure the most favorable pricing. The Connecticut Digital Library also provides low- or no-cost access to several electronic databases. SCSU faculty, staff, and students have borrowing privileges at the University of Connecticut. The Yale Library Card Program, administered through the Office of Faculty Development, extends borrowing privileges for three-month periods to faculty involved in research leading to publication. Membership in the Council of Connecticut Academic Library Directors (CCALD) extends reciprocal borrowing to faculty and staff at another 25 public and private academic libraries in the state. The library also provides international interlibrary loan service for all faculty, staff, and students through the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).
A broad range of library services support and enhance the access and use of information resources in all formats. The Reference Team offers research assistance to the University community, providing needed information using the most effective, innovative, and traditional techniques with both print and electronic resources. Instruction in the use of the library is offered on many levels, at the Reference Desk and as part of the Library's bibliographic instruction program. Comprehensive bibliographic instruction sessions, arranged with teaching faculty for a full class period, reached 3,184 students in 146 sessions in 2002-2003. Instructional services meet a range of needs – basic freshman orientation, library tours, basic and subject-specific course-integrated instruction sessions, and individual research appointments for upper-division and graduate students.
The library is currently staffed by 3 administrative faculty, 16.5 full-time equivalent professional librarians who have full faculty status and responsibilities, and 13.5 full-time equivalent support personnel, organized within four divisions - Access Services, Information Services, Technical Services, and Learning Resources. Several recent librarian vacancies and four new Library Technical Assistant positions enabled the Library to restructure under a user-centered, subject specialist model, and to support access to evolving information technologies.
Library services and collections are located in 82,401 gross sq. ft. of an 116,916 gross sq. ft. building. A recent $250,000 refurbishment of furnishings in the public spaces, and the addition of an electronic classroom for hands-on information literacy instruction, has significantly improved the library facility. Library hours were recently expanded during wintersession, summer sessions, and holiday periods. The Library is open 84.5 hours a week during the fall and spring semesters:
| 8:00am to 11:00pm
8:00am to 4:30pm
9:00am to 5:00pm
1:00pm to 9:00pm
The Library has completed the construction document phase of a building program nearly doubling the library space and refurbishing the existing building to meet 21st-Century needs. The building program is guided by a service-centered library program and the goal of providing an environment conducive to study, research, and scholarly communication. The planning provides for continued growth of print and media collections, facilities to support an increased emphasis on information literacy and focused library instruction, and the effective utilization of emerging technologies. Study space will include several group study rooms, lounge seating areas, a cyber café, study tables, and study carrels. The start of the four-year construction project is anticipated in August 2004.
With the support of the University administration in the past five years, the Library has made remarkable progress toward meeting the American Library Association’s most recent quantitative standards. Services were improved and expanded, collections grew by more than 75,000 volumes, 100+ electronic databases extend those resources beyond the library walls, and most public areas were refurbished to provide an environment conducive to study and research. Current budget constraints and staff shortages will slow the growth of collections and services, but the library staff continue to improve efficiency and effectiveness, to strengthen existing services, and to carefully select the best resources to serve the campus community.
Susan E. Cirillo,
Director of Library Services
February 11, 2004