Online Newsletter of Roxbury Community College Library
Robert Williams III, president of the Roxbury Community College Foundation has announced a successful $30,000 grant application to benefit the RCC library. The granting body is the Roxbury Trust Fund Committee Trust of Washington Street in Roxbury. The lion’s share of the money will make it possible to expand the number of library books and videos dealing with the history, culture and social issues of African American, Hispanics and the other minorities from whom the college draws most of its students. Since RCC is the only college in New England with a student body composed predominantly of minorities, it is particularly important that library materials in this area be excellent and up-to-date. The grant will also fund expansion of library materials on literacy and fund a speaker on a topic to be determined.
MANY MORE LIBRARY COMPUTERS!!
The summer has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of computers available to students in the library. Older computers have been replaced with new models. Computers in the library computer lab area now number 32, up from 14. Computers in the library classroom will shortly number 20, up from 16. Total: 52, up from 30.
The computers have been placed on newer furniture, gift of Suffolk University Library, which recently moved to new quarters. The tables in the lab area permit twice as many computers in the same floor area because each table has a greater surface area. The traditional wooden tables combined with new flat screen computers and new computer chairs have created a classy and open environment. Students are enthusiastic. A computer-based signup system will shortly be installed that will ease student use. The tables in the classroom, also from Suffolk, are shorter than the old ones. This solves a frequent student complaint that they could not see the front board over large computer monitors. Smaller monitors on lower tables have created a much- improved environment. Suffolk also donated 52 wooden chairs with multicolored fabric. These have replaced stained chairs on the second library floor. Kudos go to Walt Geer of Information Technology for arranging for the computers and members of the Facilities staff for transporting and setting up the Suffolk furniture. The expansion of computers in the library is another example of the college investing in projects that have direct student impact.
September saw an unusually large number of students in the library. The new computers attracted some of these students but the library was busier than usual in all areas. The downstairs No Talking area was nearly full most mornings. During the first week of school, there were even several students doing early research for reports. This level of student eagerness and demand is unheard of at least in the last 5 years. The increase in the number of students in the college this year by more than 5 percent has translated into a more studious group, if the library is any measure.
During academic year 2005-2006, RCC reference librarian Bill Hoag increased student use of library databases by 60%. That is from 15,726 searches for the 12-months ending September 2005 to 25,213 searches for the 12-months ending May 2006. For this period, Bill did almost all of the library training and reference work. His switch from a part-time to a full-time librarian in September 2005 exactly correlates with this upturn. The added hours and his continuing expertise in helping students that he brings to his position are clearly the reason for this improvement that is closely related to student academic achievement.
RCC library database searches, since October 2001, for 12-month periods prior to the months below:
The library currently has 50 databases with tens of millions of online articles from academic journals, magazines, newspapers and online reference sources. Virtually none of this information is available on Google and the rest of the free Internet. To sample the current database list, go to www.rcc.mass.edu/lib and select Databases.
KRISTIN MOTTE JOINS LIBRARY STAFF
Kristin Motte joined the library staff in April 2006 as Head of Access Services. She has been a professional librarian for over ten years. Since receiving her Masters in Library and Information Science at Simmons College, Kristin has worked in public and academic libraries and in a corporate environment. Most recently, she was library director at the New England Institute of Art in Brookline. She has a strong background in all aspects of librarianship.
At RCC, Kristin has several assignments. She is in charge of customer service at the circulation desk during the day and provides reference assistance. She also runs many of the library instruction programs for students. She will be an important part of the library’s effort this year to provide recommendations for improving the information literacy of RCC students.
NEW HANDSOME PERIODICALS AREA
Most people in the RCC community are probably unaware that the library has over 100 periodical subscriptions---professional journals, magazines, and newspapers. This is understandable since periodicals have been poorly displayed. We might as well have hidden them in a closet. That is now changed with a new attractive display on the 1st floor next to the windows. You can see them walking by in the hall. Come take a look.
During the next year library staff will reexamine how paper magazines and periodicals are used. Those not needed will be dropped to make room for subscriptions faculty and students really want. As with all library materials, the goal is to have a collection that closely supports curricular objectives and RCC community interests. Give us your suggestions right HERE.
To encourage usage, you can now borrow back issues of any periodical.
Some might ask, “Why have paper periodicals at all? After all, the library has the equivalent of thousands of online journals in its databases. Why not just stick with them?”
That’s a great question!! The answer reflects 2 ways we all obtain knowledge.
Online databases are unsurpassed when a targeted, intentional search for particular information is needed. It’s hard to believe that students ever had to do without them. But most of us, most of the time, depend on happenstance, serendipity, just stumbling onto new information that may change everything. Browsing a collection of paper periodicals is like that. You open an issue attracted by the cover graphics that the marketing department has designed to lure you in. And, voila!! Something you didn’t expect. So come take a look at the new periodicals display, have a seat in one of the comfortable chairs, and be prepared to be lured.
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) is being celebrated at RCC this year with an exciting series of events. For a full description, go to the main RCC web page at www.rcc.mass.edu. Under News and Events, select the Hispanic Heritage Month link.
The library’s contribution to Hispanic Heritage Month is in three parts:
On display in the library, Ivy’s Turn by David Updike of the English Department just published this spring.
It is 1993, and Zak Walker, newly arrived at Carver Central High School from his native Vermont, finds himself in the same homeroom with a pretty young African American girl named Ivy Whitman. As the two gradually become friends, Zak learns to navigate the sometimes complicated world of a large, diverse, urban public high school, and Ivy discovers that, thirty years after the Civil Rights movement, resistance to interracial relationships is still alive and well in America, and she must decide with whom her true loyalties must lie: her friends, her family, or herself.
Prof. Updike has also written a collection of short stories, Out on the Marsh, as well as six books for children. His essays and short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, Doubletake, Newsweek and the New York Times Magazine.
To build a better college library and provide superior customer service, we need your comments. Send both praises and gripes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you missed earlier issues of Welcome to the Library, click on “Read the Library’s newsletter” on the library website http://www.rcc.mass.edu/lib.
Welcome to the Library, published by Roxbury Community College Library, Roxbury Crossing, MA
Mark Lawrence, Library Director