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What are the library’s plans for winter break?

What are the library’s plans for winter break?

By Leah Catania

After the last blue book is turned in, the last research paper sent off, and the last dorm locked up, surely the library must close its doors as well. You may think that without students frantically printing papers and searching for that one last elusive research source, the librarians should be able to rest easy until the beginning of spring semester. And yet, RWU’s library stays open for the duration of winter break. But what exactly goes on without the students’ hustle and bustle of the regular semester?

One key benefit of the break is that it allows the librarians to focus on their various projects. Some will present at regional and national conferences and publish papers just as classroom professors do. Others will be able to focus on direct enhancements of library services. Here is a snapshot of some of those projects that will consume the RWU library staff:


  • Christine Fagan, Collection Management Librarian, will collaborate with libraries and museums across the country to create the annual John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Exhibit, this year celebrating the 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Fagan will be compiling documents and artifacts and designing the exhibit for the main exhibit space at the entrance to the University Library.
  •  Instructional Services and Campus initiatives Librarian, Barbara Kenney, will be balancing her preparation for the international students’ library instruction pilot program with a visiting class from Mt. Hope High School.  She and University Archivist, Heidi Benedict, will be building  lesson plans for each group, as well as an assessment to ensure the programs are helpful and instructive.
  •  Susan McMullen, Research Services and User Engagement Librarian, will be preparing for research assistance in support of several student/faculty groups through the University’s Community Partnership Center.
  • Mary Wu, Digital Scholarship and Metadata Librarian, will be updating the Library’s digital Faculty Scholarship Register.
  • John Schlinke, Architecture/Art Librarian, will be working on the reconfiguration and relocation of the Architecture Library’s reference collection.
  • Web & Digital Services Specialist, Lindsey Gumb, will be testing and rolling out the Library’s new cloud-based image management system, Shared Shelf.  Shared Shelf will eventually replace the current image database, MDID, and will be integrated into ARTstor to offer students and faculty seamless access to the thousands of images in our Art History & Architectural image collections for teaching and learning.

Who knows? You may return to campus at the end of January to find more seating available in the library. Remember that Fall 2013 user satisfaction survey you may have taken earlier this semester? John Fobert, Electronic Resources Librarian, is currently working with the Association of Research Libraries to formulate the results of that survey into useful information. He plans to reevaluate and consolidate the library’s collections to free up more room for student collaboration and seating.

Survey says: Students all have positive comments about the library’s staff. Every break, the lull between classes gives the staff time to enhance students’ experience, whether through building interesting and informative exhibits, helping with what the academic classes don’t always have time for, or simply creating more room to study. It makes it that much easier for the students when the eventual hustle and bustle returns to the library floors.



Behind the Book takes an in depth look at the world of the book through articles and interviews about the creative process, issues in publishing, and the writing life.