Undergraduate Library Services
in the 21st Century
Prepared and Approved by the CQI Team on Library
Services for the 21st Century
Undergraduate, and submitted to the Dean of Libraries, February 1997. Dr. James F. Klumpp,
Comments on this report may be sent to Dr. Charles
Lowry, Dean of Libraries, or Dr. Gerald R.
Miller, Chair, University Library Council.
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Problem and Charge
In the spring of 1996 following consultation with the University Library Council, Acting Director
of Libraries Anne MacLeod requested a study of the university's provision of library services to
undergraduate students. The study was occasioned by three intersecting trends. First, dramatic
changes in our society's construction of information and knowledge and subsequent changes in
libraries and their use have reached a stage to compel planning for the electronic age. The
undergraduate of the 21st century will not simply have more information available to him or her,
but will face a vastly more complex task in accessing and integrating information and knowledge.
Second, a crisis in the funding of libraries at the university has deeply affected undergraduate
services. In recent years, as material budgets remained flat and the cost of materials rose, the
collections identified for undergraduate students have eroded dramatically. Mandated cuts in
personnel have reduced services for undergraduates. These reductions have resulted in a steady
flow of students away from the undergraduate facility in Hornbake Library into McKeldin Library
in search of necessary resources. Space, staff, and collections in McKeldin are now being
stretched to meet the demands of undergraduate users while distinctive undergraduate services
housed in Hornbake are increasingly disconnected from their clientele.
Third, beginning with the Pease report in 1988 the university has engaged in a number of
initiatives to improve the quality of its undergraduate programs. The most recent affirmation of
that commitment is contained in the Strategic Plan approved in 1996 which establishes the
strengthening of undergraduate programs as a top priority. Quality library services lie at the core
of quality education. For centuries libraries have been the repository of the accumulated
knowledge that universities seek to pass to new generations of students. But in this era, libraries
also are the window on the world. Students at the university, and workers and citizens beyond,
rely on libraries to negotiate the explosion in information made possible by the electronic age.
More than ever before, using library resources to effectively and efficiently access information is a
basic ability that our graduates must master.
History of the Project
In response to these three trends, Acting Director MacLeod organized the team under the
university's Continuous Quality Improvement Principles and charged
it with projecting the
services required by 21st century undergraduate students, and recommending
necessary steps to
provide such services. Dean Charles Lowry arrived on campus in early Fall 1996, met and
recharged the team, and encouraged its deliberations. The team's report will be made to him. The
team conducted research through the summer and early fall of 1996. We read material and heard
from experts on libraries of the future and trends in undergraduate teaching. We asked various
constituencies within the library for their insights into our subject and queried them extensively
about the library's problems and possibilities. We solicited faculty members for reports on the
evolution in their teaching and shortcomings of the current libraries. We listened to the
experiences of undergraduate students with the library through messages, surveys, and focus
groups. Late in the fall the team deliberated and compiled the report included here. A draft of
that report was posted on the team's web page and invitations to respond were sent to library
personnel, the general campus community, with special notice to those having identified interest in
the team's work. We met again early in spring semester 1997 to revise the report based on that
response. The report we present is the result of this process.
Summary of the Report
Changes in libraries, instruction, and students that will define
education in the
The most dramatic change in libraries will be the transformation created by electronics. In
services, electronic access has meant that a student can reach the library even before walking
through the front door. In collections, electronics have opened a vast base of new and timely
information located within cyberspace and have built online bridges to a vast network of libraries.
However, the replacement of the paper library by the electronic library is in the short term
impossible and in the long term improbable. The libraries of the foreseeable future will be a mix
of electronics and print that exploits the advantages of each. Organizing the electronic/print
library is a fundamental challenge to librarians and mastering its logic will be a necessity to
The direction of changes in teaching will be toward a more permeable classroom wall.
equipped with classroom access to electronic and interactive resources will bring more material
into the classroom. Student learning will stretch beyond the classroom into assignments that call
for students to interact with those same resources. The so-called "paradigm shift" from teaching
to learning implies that the quality of a student's education will rest much more heavily on the
quality of library services. Quite simply, poor library, poor undergraduate education.
The university does not expect large changes in the demographics of our students in the next
decades, but the world in which they live will leave them bringing an ever-greater variety of
experiences to their college education. Many will continue to be commuters, others will live on
campus. Some will come with sophisticated abilities to unleash the power of computers; others
will have limited experience with electronics. All will find a quality education a more expensive
investment; some will rely more than ever on university resources to assist with this cost. All will
find more demand on their time as faculty require more group work, more projects, and more
contact with the world beyond the classroom.
Recommendations of the Report
The second part of the report contains the team's recommendations to produce the library services
necessary for this new mix of libraries, instruction, and students. Our recommendations point to
three necessities. The first is adequate funding. The administration of the university must develop
a more realistic assessment of the needs for financial support of library services in the information
age. The deficiency in support is evident in a visit to our undergraduate library and documented
in comparisons with our peer institutions. We found that despite the library's effort to distribute
budget cuts proportionately, logical and mandated cuts in duplicate collections and staffing have
impacted undergraduate services most severely. Today, the University of Maryland cannot claim
its library services to undergraduates to be a reason for students to attend our institution; it is a
hurdle that our students struggle to overcome in acquiring an education.
The second necessity is a renewal of the working relationship between instructional staff and
library. Instructors and library staff, both reeling under diminished resources, have learned how to
do their jobs without the other rather than how to interact to increase the effectiveness and
efficiency of each. The result of this estrangement is a limited engagement by our students into
the rich resources of our library. In the coming years, more cooperation will help faculty succeed
in bringing the advantages of the exponential growth of rich, accessible information resources to
their students. Similarly, more cooperation will help librarians succeed in organizing the
electronic threshold to bring our students ever more deeply into the information age. Through
such cooperation, the tasks of each will be richer and easier; without such cooperation our
undergraduates will be less prepared for the world they will meet beyond their diploma.
The third necessity is a reorganization of the provision of services to undergraduates by the
library. Now is the time to redesign the services for the coming transformation to the new mix of
electronics and print. We recommend that the reorganization center around perfecting three
thresholds into the library's resources. The first threshold will be electronic. It will exploit the
diffuse network of electronic resources increasingly available to provide remote access to the
services of the library. Our recommendations urge that the library's efforts concentrate on
developing electronic resources that are characterized by their ease of use and the richness of their
content in guiding students into library collections.
The second threshold is physical: the door to the newly constituted central campus facility --
McKeldin Library. The task for the new library is to deploy its staff and services in a way that
maximizes the patron's ability to effectively and efficiently negotiate the new mix of electronics
and paper. Many points of separation in the current system -- undergraduate facilities versus
graduate facilities, general use collections versus special collections, electronic medium versus
paper medium -- must be reorganized into integrated pathways into the new library. We
anticipate that this reorganization would include consolidation of many undergraduate services
into McKeldin and opening that facility for full utilization by undergraduate students. Necessary
to the success of this consolidation is recognizing of the unique needs of undergraduates, both in
training staff and in redesigning McKeldin's physical space.
The third threshold is pedagogical: an entry point into the full resources of the library from
ongoing instructional activity. On a campus where access to information and knowledge
resources is an increasingly important skill in graduates, instructional contexts integrating
electronic resources should include a threshold into the library. The third threshold would be a
prominent feature of an information literacy and user education program to introduce
undergraduates to the resources of the library.
Siting Undergraduate Library Services
While the team pursued its charge to envision the needs of undergraduates in the next century, we
were continually reminded by all we consulted that a current problem in undergraduate services
remains unresolved. No weakness stands out in our review of current undergraduate services as
much as the deterioration of the current facility in Hornbake Library. Established as a site for an
undergraduate collection, that collection is now so deteriorated that it no longer supports
adequate services for undergraduate students. Yet, Hornbake provides necessary resources for
undergraduates. Our commuter students, our on-campus dormitory students, and the increasing
number of students engaged in group projects find the study facilities an essential part of their
routine. The reserve room, the non-print media center, and the WAM computer lab in the facility
continue to grow in popularity. We believe that the time has come to reconsider the strengths and
weaknesses of our current arrangements, and redesign a siting for undergraduate services.
To that end, we recommend two major siting changes in the library system. First, we
that McKeldin Library be transformed from primarily a graduate library into a central campus
library serving the needs of all researchers, undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty.
Although many undergraduate students already use the McKeldin facility, their presence has
overloaded the facility. So, our recommendation is that McKeldin be reengineered to become the
primary site. This will involve extensive planning and some renovation of the McKeldin facility.
Second, we recommend development of an Undergraduate Academic Center to include many
day-to-day library services. We envision this facility as attracting into a central campus location
the interdisciplinary and extra-disciplinary learning that defines the best in a vital university. Here
students would find the resources for their classroom preparation including both individual and
group study space, electronic resources for connection to the university computer network and
the libraries, supplementary lectures and symposia opportunities, and planning centers for projects
required in their classes. Here the student of the 21st century would find instruction
literacy and library use. In addition, the services necessary for instructors to redesign their
teaching to incorporate information resources would be concentrated in the center. The library
component of such a facility would include the third threshold for undergraduates into the
enriched McKeldin site where collections and services of the former undergraduate library would
be consolidated as the home of the central university library. The center should become a core of
learning at the university, a crossroads where students and faculty find facilities that improve the
quality of the undergraduate educational experience. Our report recommends specific services
that we find appropriate to such a facility.
Our report provides direction for a dramatic revitalization of the place of the library in the
education of UMCP undergraduates. Our recommendations call for administration, faculty, and
librarians to each contribute to the revitalization. The library we project -- accessible through
electronic, physical, and pedagogical thresholds -- will enhance the participation of our students in
the information age. Not only is such a revitalization central to improving the quality of
undergraduate education, but it is an essential improvement if our university is to prepare its
undergraduate students to become effective workers and citizens in the 21st century.
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Members of the Team
- Dr. James F. Klumpp, Associate Professor of Speech Communication,
and Team Leader
- Dr. Linda Coleman, Associate Professor of English, and Director of the
- Dr. Trudi Bellardo Hahn, Manager, User Education Services, University
Libraries Division of Public Services
- Dr. Sheri Parks, Associate Professor of American Studies, and Associate
- Allan Rough, Head, Nonprint Media Services, University of Maryland
Libraries Division of
Public Services, Hornbake Library
- Dr. Charles Striffler, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Director,
Scholars Program on Science, Technology, and Human Values
- Jorge Velarde, Senior majoring in Biological Sciences
- Dr. George Dieter, Director of Continuous Quality Improvement
Program, UMCP, Professor
of College of Engineering, and Team Facilitator
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Report of the Team
Section 1: Students, Instructors, and Librarians in the 21st
The Mix of Electronics and Print in the Libraries of the Future
Change in libraries of the near future is certain, the particulars of that change less so. We are
comfortable predicting that the collections and access to the library will be increasingly electronic.
Our inquiries into the various dimensions of that change leave us convinced of the following:
- Libraries of the future will be a blend of electronics and print. As new
media have been
introduced through the twentieth century -- microform, sound, video, and now CD and digital
-- the book has remained the center of our culture's storehouse of information and wisdom.
We cannot foresee a total electronic library anytime soon, if ever. Print remains a superior
medium in many ways: portability, relatively more permanent and inexpensive storage, and an
easier medium to access. Electronic materials, however, have added other conveniences:
immediacy, remote access, and new search techniques. The electronic media will change
libraries more thoroughly than did audio or video, but libraries of the 21st century will remain a
blend of print and electronics.
- The blend of electronics and print will change the human approach to
libraries. We are
convinced that a good way of thinking about libraries of the 21st century is as a triangulation
of electronics, print and human intelligence. This is also a way of saying that the human
problem of the 21st century is not becoming familiar with electronic resources but developing
ways to negotiate the blend of print and electronics. In organizing the new blend, teaching the
new complexity to users, and assisting with mastery of expanded resources, the human element
will be increasingly important.
- Electronic libraries will require investing more of a university's resources, not
belief that the current shortcoming of the UMCP library's print collection can be compensated
by skipping immediately to an electronic world will so distort the priorities and needs of our
library as to leave the campus unprepared for the coming age. Computers cost more than the
human arm that pulls books off a shelf, licenses for unowned material more than subscriptions.
The obvious advantage would seem to be in storage, yet estimates are that electronic storage is
sixteen times as expensive as print after considering all the ancillary costs.
The Library without Walls
The changes brought by electronics are not simply in the physical form of library collections.
Libraries will be changed in more profound ways.
- Remote access. Libraries will need to conceptualize the client connecting
access, not as a pre-user, but as the primary client. The resources housed within the walls of
the building will be an extension of the primary interaction. Generally, the typical pattern of
searching the library's catalog from a remote location before entering the library building will
be expanded and remote computers will become a much richer threshold into libraries. At
UMCP, our campus community already has electronic access to many of our library's
resources. Our library's
home page is just beginning to give a glimpse of the sort of threshold
that will mark the coming century.
- The multi-site collection. Libraries in the new century will be a door to
the holdings of other
libraries and to commercial publishers and vendors. Some arrangements will be extensions of
current arrangements such as the cooperative ventures of the many campuses of the University
of Maryland. Cooperative arrangements, however, will expand far beyond localized networks.
Libraries in the next century will be required to devote scarce resources to contributing to such
multi-site collections as well as merely accessing the resources of others.
In many ways, the library building's most important function in the 21st century will be to
the people -- the librarians -- who will assume increased importance to students and their
Envisioning the Undergraduate Student in the 21st Century
Despite long-standing predictions of an aging student population, the university does not
anticipate great changes in the composition of the student body in the near future. We do
anticipate, however, changes in the learning activities of the students.
- Patterns of library use. The student of the 21st century will be an
information seeker who
begins his/her use of the library from a home desk, a classroom, or perhaps even an
automobile. The computer will provide the first threshold into the library's services. The
student will learn to choose among the resources of the library-without-walls. S/he will cross
the second threshold -- the front doors of the library building -- at a much later stage in his/her
work. Where to acquire information, how to assess the quality of information, and how to
integrate information into an intelligent product will be as important in differentiating the
success of a student as the quality of writing or speaking is today.
- Computer literacy. We expect the average student of the future to be
more computer literate.
Computers will touch lives in so many ways that various computer techniques will be common
knowledge. Nevertheless, we anticipate that there will continue to be a broader range of
competency in entering students than has characterized earlier technologies of literacy. The
university cannot assume a level of computer literacy but must provide opportunities to
upgrade such literacy in undergraduate students.
- Economic barriers. Universities have traditionally provided support to
assure equal access to
their resources regardless of the student's economic circumstances. Potential inequalities
multiply in the information society of the 21st century. Already on the horizon is a
fee-for-service system for information. Hard copies of electronically accessed journal articles,
articles now available in print, can soon be provided to students at a per-page cost. New
delivery systems require renewed efforts to avoid economically differentiated access to
- Technical barriers. We cannot ignore the barriers that today complicate
and frustrate the use
of campus computers. Taking a book from a shelf is still easier than accessing campus
computer resources. Students find full computer labs. Internet connections to university
computers are too unreliable to fully integrate internet resources into teaching. Access to the
university's network from remote locations is restricted by excessive demand in evening and
weekend hours. We do not address solutions to the barriers, but we believe that the failure of
the university to address them will deny our students opportunities in the 21st century.
Envisioning Instruction in the 21st Century
The electronic revolution will touch the classroom of the 21st century in profound ways. Not
only will it affect the delivery, but also the objectives and content of instruction. As members of
the team searched their own practices, talked to other instructors, received messages from faculty,
and consulted educational experts, we came to understand that many trends, although today
isolated, will dominate teaching in the next century.
- Multi-media presentation. The instructor of the 21st century will have a
wider variety of
media available for instruction. Where in the past a classroom session may have established an
agenda for students beyond the classroom -- a trip to the museum to view an image -- more
and more such resources can be brought into the classroom. The advantages of media in the
classroom that have been developing for a number of years can accelerate as the computer
allows greater access to the storehouse of knowledge. The computer's development of
hypertext logic makes the possibilities of multi-media much broader.
- Fluidity in the form of instruction. The single minded commitment to
lecture has long ago
given way to a variety of classroom activities. Teaching today involves new methods including
increasing project-oriented courses, more group projects, and projects extending the classroom
into the surrounding society. We have also found an increasing emphasis on working with
primary data and students learning to process that data into meaningful conclusions. The team
heard reports, for example, of the increased use of special collections by undergraduates.
Courses in business, writing, speaking, journalism, and other disciplines are increasingly using
data much newer than that available in printed materials. In the next century, we anticipate
increased fluidity in the form of teaching. The normal class oriented calendar and classroom
site will begin to give way to greater variety of scheduling and siting of learning.
- Multi-disciplinarity. Academic divisions into departments and even
colleges are becoming
increasingly permeable throughout the curriculum at College Park. For example, the
University's strategic plan identifies an emphasis in policy studies that combines work from
departments throughout the institution. Programs such as the highly successful College Park
Scholars program identify intellectual clusters that combine the resources of various
- Reorganized teaching staffs. Typically, today's classroom is assigned to
the single teacher
with responsibility for the education of his/her students. When team teaching exists, it involves
either a coequal arrangement of two faculty members or an arrangement of a faculty member
and teaching assistants who serve as extensions of his/her control. In the new century, the
university and the faculty will need to adapt to new arrangements. Teaching will typically
involve the active integration of activities, information, and technologies. Some describe the
more typical arrangement of the future as involving the faculty member as content expert
leading a team that includes a technology supervisor and a learning resources coordinator.
Coordinating the classroom will become a more complex task that will require new
arrangements of personnel.
- Focus on Learning. Many of these trends have begun to replace a vision
of education in
which faculty transfer their knowledge to students with a more interactive paradigm of learning
-- a vision of the student acquiring knowledge through a process in which faculty are a central
resource. In such a university, an environment in which students have the fullest access to the
information and knowledge resources of our age is critical to the quality of the students'
Envisioning the Undergraduate Librarian of the 21st Century
Perhaps no era since the advent of the great libraries has been as exciting for librarians. The team
believes that two skills librarians have brought to the era of the book for centuries will be
essential in the coming century:
- Organizing information access. The triumph of librarianship in the age of
the book has been
to organize a vast amount of print data through bibliographic sources, and library system
innovations as simple as the call number and card catalog have provided intelligent access to
the wealth of knowledge contained in the book. Today the internet world lies beyond the
computer screen, much of it unorganized and thus inaccessible to the user. Library-based
electronic products are already superior in organization to the more voluminous but
unorganized internet. Organizing these new resources into accessible form will be an
- Evaluating information quality. The screen of editors and bibliographers
authors' products and constructed the collection of the library has been circumvented by the
advent of the internet. Although certainly advantages inhere in this more open access,
concerns for quality come to the fore. The skills of evaluating the quality of data and product
is a skill students must master. Librarians will be key in that effort.
The result of these two skills and the reconfiguration of the library described above provides
altered picture of the activities typical of public service librarians.
- Increased time for training. The products that librarians must know and
be able to access
will expand beyond the walls of the library. The increase will be exponential. In the short run
this expansion will be complicated by the number of command structures for accessing
products. A portion of time of a public services librarian must be devoted to incorporating
new products into their usable knowledge.
- Priority on a computer threshold to library resources. Academic libraries
produced bibliographies on particular subjects reflecting the knowledge of their reference
librarians. This activity will cease to be a convenience and become a necessity. Furthermore,
these activities will need to be mounted on the library's web page, kept current, and become
the gateway to resources. Such bibliographic work should not simply provide access to the
electronic resources, but should present the integration of print and electronic.
- Increased interaction with instructors. Instructors will increasingly need
librarians to assist
in mastering available resources on the subjects of their courses, to assist in enriching
classroom presentation, and assist in designing assignments that fold new sources of
information into their students' learning. In turn, librarians evaluating material and preparing
specific aids to subject matters will increasingly require the knowledge of faculty in evaluating
the quality of resources. The result will be a fuller and more interactive relationship between
librarians and faculty.
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Section 2: Recommendations for Undergraduate Services
Recommendations for the Institution
In all changes as dramatic as those we are now experiencing, dangers of exaggeration and
underestimation are endemic. The electronic age not only changes how scholarship is conducted,
it fundamentally changes the ways that we perceive and measure information and knowledge. The
metaphor that has dominated our thinking about libraries is the "storehouse" of information and
knowledge. In that metaphor, the university acquired information and knowledge recorded on
paper and the library maintained the store and managed distribution of its content. Today, the
"storehouse" metaphor no longer captures the complexity. The less obvious responsibilities to
locate, organize, evaluate, and integrate information and knowledge into ongoing activity at the
university has come to the fore. Today's librarians are information managers and require the tools
to fulfill that purpose.
Recommendation 1: Reaffirm the centrality of the library at the
Finding: A library is a core service -- serving all of the university.
Indeed, is there any other
core service as central to the quality of a university? In an information age, with
multi-disciplinarity prominent, a university attempting to prepare its students and compete for
students, faculty, and prestige with other institutions cannot afford to ignore the vitality of its
primary window on the world.
The record of past UMCP administrations has not resulted in a library system commensurate
the quality of the remainder of the university. Our team has logged many weaknesses in current
undergraduate services in Hornbake Library: a large but dated book collection, a serials
collection that no longer serves basic undergraduate needs, too few reference librarians working a
reference desk that is open too few hours. These conditions are largely driven by budget
considerations. Furthermore, we can find no evidence that these shortcomings are induced by
enhancements of other parts of the library at the expense of undergraduate services. The
diminished quality traces to the general problem financing the libraries.
Many programs have been instituted to improve undergraduate education at UMCP. Yet, a
crucial element that contributes to the quality of the education of every undergraduate -- the
library -- has atrophied. The recent enhancement of the quality of undergraduate programs at
UMCP will be limited if our students are not educated to fully access the expanding resources of
the information age. That cannot happen without strong libraries.
Action: The central administration's recent commitment to
address the needs of the library must
necessarily be fulfilled. Specifically, we urge that the administration:
- Examine the erosion of the budget of the UMCP campus libraries. Although our focus has
been on undergraduate services, we note a trend for undergraduates to use all campus libraries
and not to confine themselves to particular parts of the collection. Addressing the collection
needs of undergraduates requires addressing the overall quality of the library.
- Support programs targeted to improve the quality of library and information use by the
Recommendation 2: Recognize the altered economics of information
Finding: We anecdotally hear of expectations that through
electronic access the university can
achieve faster gains in its deficiencies in library resources. This mistaken belief seems to have its
origins in the general cultural expectation that technology brings efficiencies that cut costs. One
has to go no further than the primary symbol of the computer age -- the desktop computer -- to
see that principle at work. But applying this principle to the library will obscure the changed
economics of library resources:
- Libraries will increasingly purchase licenses for resources rather than achieving ownership of
material. Until stability is achieved in the small market for these licenses, their cost is likely to
- Electronics will not replace print resources. This is partially true because paper is a superior
medium for many uses including browsing and intensive study. The tendency to produce hard
copy of materials from electronic sources testifies to this preference. But, the problems also
go to the economics of the new electronic resources. Providers of electronic products speak in
terms of "shelf life." They anticipate, for example, that scholarly journals provided
electronically will only be available for a rolling period of years defined by their frequent usage.
Paper or microform remains the best method of preserving these resources for future use after
the electronic "shelf life" has diminished. Thus, the university's role as a storehouse does not
end, but is reconfigured.
- The new systems of "libraries without walls" mandates that major universities be
as well as users. The wealth of internet based resources -- for example, the finding aids of a
remote university's special collections -- enrich our library's resources with minimal additional
cost, but require that our library support similar efforts. An economic system for such
arrangements -- essentially a reorganization of libraries from building centered institutions to
multi-building, multi-university, virtually located facilities -- is still not fully developed. Our
contribution cannot wait for that stability to develop.
- The electronic age requires initial capital investment in machines and in space alterations,
continued funding for maintenance and upgrade.
- Finally, times of rapid change such as libraries face in the next two decades are seldom
by high efficiency. False starts and backtracking are often required and dramatic decreases in
the cost of products made more efficient are often offset by new and more expensive products.
A university that only permits its library system to pursue "proven" technologies will always
have last decade's library.
Action: The university's administration must work closely
with the library to provide fiscal
support in a period of great change. The administration must encourage rapid commitment to
innovation and unlamented abandonment of eclipsed technologies. The administration should
identify its library as a primary site for the changes that the new information age will bring to the
Recommendation 3: Recognize the importance of human resources
in the library of the 21st Century
Findings: Never has information and knowledge been as
voluminous nor as immediately
available to faculty and students as today. The sheer volume of this information creates the need
for more sophisticated methods of navigation and evaluation. Librarians are vital in meeting this
need. Their success in organizing the world of the book must now be repeated in a world which
mixes print and electronics. Their leadership in designing systems to assist faculty and students in
integrating information into their work will be vital to a vibrant campus in the information age.
One of the primary places where deficiencies exist in the current undergraduate services is in
personnel. The staff providing undergraduate library services have decreased fifteen percent from
FY91 to FY97, a cut only slightly higher than the library as a whole. The result has been
decreased reference hours, and longer delays in services throughout the system. Yet, successfully
bringing our undergraduate students into the information age will increase, not decrease, the
demand for library staffing. Organizing information resources, training users in a new diversity of
products, teaching students to evaluate new sources of information, and integrating new
information products into the daily routine of instructors and students are activities that require
Action: The administration should authorize additional
positions that support provision of
services to undergraduates and that support programs to adapt the library to the new mix of print
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Recommendations to the Faculty
Recommendation 4: Develop active and diverse programs to teach
Finding: Information seekers -- students who can aggressively
locate and evaluate information
and knowledge -- will be better equipped to participate in a world where the quantity of
information is exploding and the quality is less regulated. We have found today's students
generally unsophisticated in these skills. Those who are computer literate often favor electronic
information sources without regard to the quality of the information and without knowledge of
alternative information available in print. Our focus groups confess that they find use of the
library so difficult that "first find, first use" governs their information practices. Students typically
avail themselves of information literacy programs only when such programs are directly associated
with a course in which they are enrolled.
Action: The teaching of information utilization skills should
be enhanced through multiple
- We recommend greater emphasis on teaching information literacy to undergraduates. This
instruction should include: how to define an information need, how to construct a search
strategy relevant to the need, how to carry out a search according to this plan, and how to
critically evaluate the quality, accuracy, and currency of the information retrieved.
- Instructors should become familiar with new information resources and incorporate
preparation to use those resources into their teaching.
- A one-credit add-on option should be available for courses with a research project as a
requirement. The add-on would award credit for students working with a faculty-librarian
team to enhance their information skills in conjunction with their course project.
- Faculty should cooperate in publicizing information literacy programs sponsored by the
Recommendation 5: Recognize the increasing mutual dependence of
librarians and faculty in the
Findings: For many faculty at UMCP, the library has been on the
margins of their consciousness.
For example, a recent Middle States assessment of undergraduate education prepared by a faculty
committee failed to even mention the library's relationship to undergraduate education. Many
faculty report a feeling of impotence in influencing library policies and practices. Yet, faculty
have often expressed strong support for the central place of the library. A Campus Senate
resolution in Spring 1996 specifically identifies the importance of providing sufficient resources to
In the coming years, faculty who establish closer integration of library services into their
classroom will increase their ability to respond to the new forms of information that can enhance
teaching as well as student performance. New modes of presentation based on rapid access to
electronic resources can add visual and activity dimensions to teaching. Student assignments can
access the library-without-walls to connect students with more primary data. The number of
products to accomplish such changes is increasing so rapidly that keeping current on the latest
additions is difficult.
Action: We recommend that faculty become proactive in
bringing advances in library resources to
- Working with librarians, faculty should proactively engage new products introduced into the
library that enhance learning in their areas of specialization. Faculty should work with the
products to know their potential and limitations and should introduce their students to such
advancements as a major objective of their teaching.
- Consultation with librarians should be a normal activity in preparing a course, including
working together to develop assignments that require students to employ library resources.
- Faculty and librarians should jointly develop subject aids to enhance undergraduate students'
access to the faculty member's area of expertise.
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Recommendations to the Library: Reorganizing Access to the
Our library is now reaching the end of a period in which electronic products were add-ons to
supplement the paper collection. The challenge of the next few years is to transform the library
into a place that integrates electronic and print resources into a seamless web of information.
Recommendation 6: Design electronic sites as a first threshold to
the changing configuration of
Findings: The most frequent complaint by undergraduates in using
our library's collections is the
overwhelming volume of material they confront and the complexity of navigating it. The
library-without-walls threatens to intensify that problem. The problem focuses attention on tools
through which the library directs patrons to its resources. Improvements in those tools are
- Traditionally, the front door of the library has been thought of as the threshold into the
system. Upon entering, patrons are channeled to a desk . Access to the catalog is nearby. For
many students today, a visit begins beyond the walls of the library at a computer terminal
accessing the library's website and the
electronic Public Access
Catalog (PAC). The challenge
is to provide those accessing the library's resources beyond its doors with the resources to
begin their project, resources often now provided only on-site by information and reference
- Traditionally, the systems through which the library has directed patrons -- including most
prominently the library's catalog and reference services -- have located materials owned by the
library and available within the library's walls. Only with the electronic PAC has this restriction
been broken -- the holdings of the University of Maryland System libraries are now contained
in a single catalog. The need in the next decade will be systems that direct the student into the
vast array of resources beyond the library's walls but accessible through its systems.
- Today, even the PAC complicates access. Current procedures to change data bases within
PAC become a barrier to free use of resources. Information to evaluate various data bases is
unavailable through the PAC. Instructions for using data bases available on the PAC or LAN
stations are bewilderingly diverse. Electronic library resources have been slow to introduce
new technologies that ease the use of computers as access points.
Action: The library website coordinated closely with the PAC
should become the primary
threshold into the library's services. The goal should be to provide students with assistance to
design strategies for their research, guiding them into the library's building with specific needs
identified. Much of that work is now underway. We recommend that the work proceed with the
- Ease of use. For example, the library should move with all due speed to
establish a graphical
user interface (GUI) PAC with a easily learned standardized interface and maximum
capabilities. The usefulness of both the website and the PAC would be enhanced by hypertext
access to particular entries in the PAC from the website, and vice versa. Other universities
provide hypertext from the PAC to floor maps that locate material physically in the library.
- Integration of resources. PAC and website should be designed to
facilitate the integration of
print and electronic resources, licensed and owned resources, and to locate resources
efficiently and quickly.
- On-line reference assistance. For example, well designed materials that
staff-student interactions into electronic form through the use of branching techniques and
other interactive strategies in website design should enhance the services provided beyond the
library's walls. Such strategies to supplement personal assistance can increase the efficiency of
guides. Guides that include evaluative information on print and electronic
provide rich resources for assisting students in locating basic material on various subject
matters. In addition to the general subject guides, the library reference staff should work
cooperatively with faculty to develop guides for specific courses and course assignments.
- Facilitating student use. The library should recognize that some students
will continue to be
apprehensive about use of computers and the computer threshold. The front door of the
library will continue to be a second threshold. The library should develop assistance for
students in using the website threshold.
Recommendation 7: Design the physical layout of the library to
integrate material in various media
Findings: In the past, the library has often organized materials
according to media: microforms
located in a particular location in the library, nonprint media in another place, and so forth. In this
era of electronic materials as add-ons, the library has followed this pattern with electronic
resources. The new Electronic Resources Room is located in a remote section of the library and
open limited hours. We recognize that such an organization gains the advantage of efficiency by
locating expensive equipment in a cluster. The multiplication of media sites, however, has made it
increasingly difficult to utilize the full collection. Such a configuration encourages students to
organize their research by the arbitrary floor plan of the library rather than by the logical demands
of their project.
Action: The library should work toward providing more
integrated location of resources around
subject matters. This implies distributing workstations with electronic access throughout the print
collection. The distribution of VICTOR terminals offers a model.
Recommendation 8: Institute "Square One Project Planning
Centers" to assist students in accessing
electronic resources and in integrating electronic and print resources into a research plan
Findings: Students report that they are more likely to learn the
library when they have particular
projects on which they are working. Only the most sophisticated undergraduates acknowledge
that library use is most efficient when they develop a concise plan to frame research on their
project. The juxtaposition of these two findings suggests an opportunity to improve instruction
on library use and information literacy.
Actions: We recommend that the library establish a center
identified as a place where
undergraduates can begin their project with assistance in developing a strategy for their research.
The center staff should carry students through the formulation of a research plan and refer more
advanced questions to the reference desk. The center should be designed specifically to meet the
needs of undergraduate users although not restricted to them.
Recommendation 9: Reengineer the process for introducing
products with the goal of integrating new
products into the daily activity of patrons
Findings: The proliferation of new products, particularly electronic
products, has been so rapid
that even library staff have told us they have difficulty staying current with the capabilities of new
products and instructions for their use. The library has concentrated on informational rather than
marketing techniques to announce new products. When resources have been devoted to assisting
patrons in using the new products, emphasis has been on training to use complicated instruction
sets rather than working with product developers to simplify access. In a world where new
products were introduced at a slower pace, ad hoc processes could lead to eventual absorption
into daily use. But today's accelerated pace of product introduction leaves the paradoxical
situation where the library is investing major expenditures in products that patrons do not use
because they do not know they are there, do not know their uses, or do not know how to use
Actions: We recommend that the library examine its
procedures for introducing new products
from evaluation of products to their integration into the daily use of patrons.
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Recommendations to the Library: Renewing the Librarian/Faculty
Recommendation 10: Strengthen cooperative relationships between
faculty and librarians
Findings: We find considerable confusion in the relationships between faculty and
the UMCP campus. Formally, the current system seems to have an hourglass shape with
departmental faculty liaisons and library bibliographers serving as formal links between faculty and
librarians. This system does not work well, however, with bibliographer positions unstaffed in the
library and liaisons in departments of varying commitment. Many faculty do not know who their
liaisons are. Liaisons report that the library uses them primarily to shift responsibility for
collection cuts. Informally, many instructors do work directly with particular library personnel on
a project by project basis, but these contacts are often momentary and content specific.
Yet, faculty and librarians each possess knowledge important to the other in the new
environment. Increasingly faculty will require information specialists to assure that their teaching
contains the latest in information resources on the subjects they are teaching. Such mastery will
be dramatically easier if librarians are available to assist in the task on an ongoing basis.
Action: The library should adopt specific measures to
strengthen the library-faculty relationship.
- Reevaluate the bibliographer-liaison link as the primary avenue of library-faculty relationship
with particular attention to strengthening the mutual commitments of faculty and librarians to
- Reevaluate job descriptions among librarians with specific responsibilities to undergraduate
services to strengthen the cooperation between these librarians and faculty in identifying
undergraduate needs specific to courses, developing specific strategies for teaching information
literacy skills while meeting these needs, and conducting ongoing assessment of the library's
undergraduate services. For example, librarians might be involved directly in developing
information given to students outlining research paper assignments. Evaluations distributed in
conjunction with the handing in of such assignments may provide valuable data on the quality
and appropriateness of undergraduate services.
- Develop programs to incorporate faculty expertise into building subject guides. Such guides
ought incorporate recognition to both librarians and faculty who work on the project.
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Recommendations to the Library: Reference Services for
Recommendation 11: Recognize the unique
needs of undergraduate students in using libraries
Findings: The American Library Association's ACRL Undergraduate Librarians Discussion
Group identifies the following characteristics of undergraduate library users arriving on
- "They do not yet have the sophisticated research skills needed to exploit the research
- "They are intimidated by the complexity and size of a large library system.
- "They are often reluctant to ask for assistance in the use of a library.
- "They are unaware of the many services and resources which are available in university
These coincide precisely with the problems that we heard from undergraduates in our focus
These problems are most obvious in a reference service. In the library of a research
perhaps no librarian's task is as difficult as the reference librarian. In rapid order questions may
come from advanced faculty researchers whose knowledge of library resources in their specialties
are as thorough as the librarian's, and from the new undergraduate asking how to find a book on
the shelf. Understanding the question being asked, assessing the knowledge of the patron who
asks the question, and deciding the sophistication appropriate in the action is a difficult task.
No problem in their library use surfaces as frequently in focus groups of undergraduates as
approaching the reference desk for assistance, and no complaint comes as freely as encountering
what is perceived as hostility or scorn from a librarian when a question is asked. At the same
time, no library experience is as warmly recalled by undergraduates as a reference librarian who
listens to the student's question, provides clear and understanding suggestions, and remains
patient through follow-up questions when unforeseen barriers are discovered.
We suspect that two factors at UMCP exacerbate the frequency of this student response.
the distinction between Hornbake and McKeldin libraries often turns on their identities as the
"undergraduate" and the "graduate" libraries. Our focus groups' undergraduates report a frequent
feeling of being unwelcome in McKeldin. We have heard anecdotes of comments made by staff
and patrons of McKeldin indicating that undergraduates are "in the wrong library." Although we
cannot verify the validity of the comments or their interpretation, students report comments from
the reference staff in McKeldin that they interpret in this way. Second, there is a distinction
reported by reference librarians in the UMCP system between "specialists" and "generalists."
Naturally, the specification of specialities channels the work of reference librarians into narrower
circumferences of knowledge. We believe that generalists are often more important in assisting
the undergraduates. Yet, undergraduates frequently reach levels of specific need that require
specialists. Few undergraduates can perceive this distinction among reference staff.
In general, undergraduates report greater satisfaction with the helpfulness of the staff at
Hornbake, but frustration that the advice they receive there often leads them to McKeldin where
follow up questions require a return to Hornbake or starting over with another reference librarian
In addition, undergraduates report the difficulties resulting from limited hours in a reference
department. Perhaps no service of the library is as important to undergraduates learning
information literacy skills as available reference services at crucial times. Yet, reference services
are unavailable during many hours that the library is open. A substantial portion of our
undergraduate students work and commute in patterns that shift their library use outside standard
working hours. Although the library has often recognized these patterns in open library hours, it
has not recognized the extension of the need to reference services.
Actions: We recommend review of current reference services
for undergraduates by a team
including a wide spectrum of reference staff and users, with particular attention to developing
strategies to overcome these barriers to undergraduate use. Particularly, we recommend that
reference services meet the following criteria:
- Systems of reference services ought recognize the need for generalists experienced in
with the special needs of novice users.
- Systems of training and evaluation targeted specifically at the needs of undergraduates
be a part of reference services.
- Staffing of the reference desk should expand to approximate the open hours in the
- The current triage system for reference organization should be evaluated, its weaknesses and
strengths identified, and specific strategies to improve the system developed and implemented.
Among the elements evaluated should be training of personnel to identify the level of need,
signage to help patrons negotiate the system, and the system of barriers that controls the flow
of patrons through the system.
Recommendation 12: Examine and
reengineer the provision of reference services for undergraduates
to recognize the altered demands of the information age
Findings: We find considerable frustration among staff and
undergraduate students in the
reference department related to the rapid change in library use.
- Undergraduates often require very simple help in using computer based products. These
simple, but repetitive questions are an inefficient use of reference librarians' time. Often the
students sense the frustration of reference staff required to answer such questions.
- Undergraduates express frustration with oral answers to questions about computer based
products, finding demonstration of the product a more effective form of assistance. Yet,
reference staff properly resist having to leave the reference desk and walk to computer
terminals to demonstrate simple skills.
- Both undergraduates and reference librarians report the difficulties of the latter in mastering
the new products that are arriving rapidly into the electronic world.
Actions: Current reference services should be evaluated and
reengineered with the following
- Procedures to train students in using computer data bases. For example, reference should
explore greater use of interactive guides to train students in the use of particular data bases.
Peer assistance has been used for teaching command structures and answering questions about
specific products in the computer center.
- Procedures to train reference librarians in new products before their introduction to patrons.
The need for time for such training must be recognized. If mastery of the broad range of
products is an impossibility, alternatives must be developed. No student should be informed
that they must return at a specified time to receive basic assistance in using one of these
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Recommendations to the Library: Reserve Services for
Recommendation 13: Move toward electronic reserve systems in
which most reserves are accessible
through controlled internet accounts
Findings: Copyright issues, security details, and technical
capabilities seem near the point which
would allow electronic access to reserves. Iowa State
University has already implemented an
Actions: Electronic reserve systems should be implemented.
Paper reserves will remain necessary
for some material, but the advantages of an electronic system in providing access beyond the
reserve room, simultaneous access by several students, and greater efficiency of staff use suggest
a high priority on its implementation.
Recommendation 14: Work with faculty to develop integrated
resource websites for particular
Findings: One of the advantages provided by web-based reserve
sites is the possibility of
integrating internet sites, scanned paper material, and material provided in electronic or print form
by faculty. When we invited faculty to comment on our task, no comment came as frequently as
the need to expand the scope of materials eligible to be placed in reserves. These comments came
from instructors in a range of departments. Often reserves are thought of merely as a system to
place specific library materials on a restricted check-out to ensure their wider availability. Many
faculty consider this view too restrictive.
Actions: Our vision transforms reserve librarians from
processors of information into proactive
partners in creating effective reserve sites.
- Reserve librarians should work with faculty to construct course-specific integrated resource
- A reserve system that would place whatever materials faculty wished to have on reserve
limited only by copyright restrictions should be implemented.
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In the previous two sections of this report we have described the forces that will shape library
service needs for undergraduates in the 21st century and have offered
structure the required services. Our emphasis follows from the team's charter: we were charged
with a focus on services and a focus on the 21st century. Despite our best efforts,
offered evaluation and advice diverted our gaze to the past and the present, emphasizing what
most consider a crisis in the state of the current undergraduate library in Hornbake.
Section 3: Siting Undergraduate Library Services
We do not wish to deviate from the focus on services because we believe that the most
improvements required are improvements in services. Nor do we wish to abandon our emphasis
on the need to plan for the future because we believe that too much emphasis on today's problems
will leave us unprepared for tomorrow's. Nevertheless, services require siting and matters of
physical space are important constraints on the achievement of satisfactory and up-to-date
facilities. And we will end up in the future configuring our service sites in relation to the space
problems that we face today. In this section of the report, therefore, we address questions about
current service sites and the siting of undergraduate library services required in the
Findings Regarding the Current Undergraduate Library
The current undergraduate
facility located in Hornbake reveals both crisis conditions mandating
change and glimpses of the virtue of a separate undergraduate facility. Many characteristics point
to the crisis:
- The facility is currently substandard. The collection is large but generally of poor quality.
periodical collection has been diminished to the point where it is no longer a meaningful site for
research. The reference collection has shrunk to the point where the reference staff cannot
fulfill their mission to undergraduates. The reserve room is the surviving effective unit but is
using equipment so old that it cannot now be updated.
- The facility has no apparent collection policy. The team is not at all certain that a viable
method of separating "undergraduate" and "graduate" or "research" collections is possible. A
sound collection policy would establish a duplicate collection built around a particular mission.
Duplicate collections have been largely sacrificed in the current fiscal crisis.
- Utilization of Hornbake Library is diminishing except for the reserve services (and the
Nonprint Media Center which is not organized as part of the undergraduate facility). The
turnstile count at Hornbake decreased 30% between 1989 and 1995, and 5% between 1992
and 1995. From 1992 to 1995, loans from the Hornbake collection diminished 40%, volumes
reshelved declined by a third. The decline in different kinds of reference questions during that
period ranged from 15% to 90%. The only healthy increase in use during this time was the
nearly 50% increase in reserve use. Students report that going to Hornbake to research for a
course project is useless since the material they need will not be found there. Students soon
decide simply to begin their work in McKeldin, thus bypassing services designed to improve
- The erosion in the quality of Hornbake and uncertainty about its future has created
erosion of morale among Hornbake staff. We also observe related problems at McKeldin
created by the combination of the historical "undergraduate/graduate" distinction between the
two facilities and the feeling of being overrun by undergraduate students who "belong" at
- Structural and fiscal forces within the UMCP libraries have resulted in the weakening of the
undergraduate library. We do not mean to imply that anyone has consciously pursued the
erosion of undergraduate services. But natural pressures common in a research university have
resulted in decisions that have had an adverse effect. Fiscally, logical decisions to eliminate
duplication in collections have left the undergraduate library collection so eroded as to destroy
its usefulness. Decisions to meet staff cuts where openings existed, however logical in the
short term, have left services for undergraduates seriously eroded. Structurally, the long ago
designation of McKeldin as the "graduate" or "research" library has led to priorities that
adversely affect undergraduates streaming into that facility which was never designed to meet
their needs. Although we do not believe the erosion in undergraduate services was intentional,
no safeguards were in place to recognize and halt the erosion before it became a crisis. The
current state of Hornbake serves as an object-lesson as we plan for the future, a warning of
how forces at work at UMCP can undercut the best of plans for undergraduate services.
At the same time, our investigation indicates key strengths of today's undergraduate facility:
- Among the reasons students mention for going to Hornbake are: (1) more welcoming
reference services, (2) study space, (3) reserves, (4) nonprint media, (5) the WAM lab, and (6)
a needed book is checked out of McKeldin. Periodicals and the book collection are seldom
mentioned as a reason to go to Hornbake.
- One of the primary strengths of the current Hornbake facility is its study space. On a
with far too little quality space for our large proportion of commuter students to study, a quick
tour of Hornbake will reveal the centrality of this function. Group study space is particularly
important and heavily utilized.
- Students report a sense of ownership over the space at Hornbake. Here, they report, they
know that the services are provided with their needs in mind. The linking of the space with
undergraduate students is an important element in its attractiveness to undergraduates.
Siting Demands in the 21st Century
The vision of library services that we described in the first section of our report and the
recommendations in the second section do dictate certain needs for students in the next century:
- Greater consolidation of research services. We described a blurring of
the line between the
collections needs of undergraduates and others as undergraduate assignments become more
sophisticated and utilize more information resources. Separation of collections used in
intensive research projects into undergraduate and graduate sites should therefore be
- Computers for library access. For many, the first threshold into the
library's collections will
be computers. If this first threshold is properly developed, an undergraduate site should
provide adequate computers to insure that all students have remote access to the newly
computerized library services.
- Study Space. We believe that the needs for study space will increase,
particularly the need for
group study space. We recognize that such facilities need not be located in library space, but
such space is commonly a feature of undergraduate libraries and is a feature of today's
Hornbake. Study space will also need to be wired for connections to electronics.
- User education. In the information age, services that offer information
literacy and user
education are an essential part of the library. Some such services will be provided to students
as part of their ongoing intensive research projects; some will involve programs and classrooms
to house instruction on the subjects. In both cases, a clearly designated site associated with
user education is a must if students are to develop these skills that will be expected of
well-trained university graduates.
- Incorporating information resources into teaching. We have called for
among faculty and librarians in bringing the expanding resources of the print/electronic age into
the classrooms. This cooperation will require a site where faculty can develop such materials
and sites where faculty-librarian cooperation can bring students into more immediate contact
with the library.
We would summarize these needs by noting a distinction between students' intensive or
needs and day-to-day intellectual needs. For intensive use, their need is for a consolidated
research site that provides full access to the resources any researcher requires with special
attention to their unique needs as less experienced library users. For day-to-day use, their need is
for a a familiar and welcoming environment that sites a more general range of services from study
space to instructional programs.
Evaluating Siting Options
The question then is: How does the library solve the problems with the current undergraduate
library while preparing sites that will create a space for the services needed by undergraduates in
the coming century? While decisions about services are manageable by our team, decisions on
site introduce vastly more complicated variables. Several factors complicate the framing of
recommendations on siting of services at the University of Maryland:
- In McKeldin and Hornbake the library system has two large spaces separated by enough
distance to make coordinated use of the facilities difficult.
- Currently space for the library collection is extremely tight. The addition to McKeldin
has been absorbed in the few years since it opened and the library is currently operating at 95
percent of full capacity.
- Decisions on siting require decisions that transcend our team's charge to examine
undergraduate library services. We recognize that our recommendation to devote space to
undergraduate needs displaces other functions of the library. Decisions on priorities among
these functions must be left to others, although we confess concern based on the past treatment
of the undergraduate library.
- Decisions on siting require attention to the details of estimation and design of square footage
which is not an expertise that the team could master within the time that it deliberated.
- Additions to physical space require considerable lead time and arrangements for capital
investment. They are thus less pliable in response to problems.
The team, therefore, considered our recommendations on spacing in terms of the benefits to
undergraduate students. We anticipate that further deliberation will be required on these matters,
fitting our recommendations within the framework of the various space needs of the library
system. Within the constraints established by these factors, the team presents the following
Creating the Consolidated Facility in McKeldin
Recommendation 15: Create a consolidated research
facility in McKeldin Library, open to all
students, with service points that recognize the unique characteristics of undergraduate
We are recommending that collections, including periodicals, and reference services from
Hornbake library be consolidated in McKeldin. We believe that this consolidation is, however,
but a first step toward improving undergraduate services. We believe that implementation of our
previous recommendations, particulary recommendations 8, 11 and 12 are essential to a
successful consolidation. In addition, we recommend:
- Combined reference services must be preceded by careful planning including participation by
reference librarians from both current facilities and specifically designed to recognize the
unique needs of undergraduates as reference users.
- The physical layout of McKeldin needs to be altered to accommodate the increased clientele.
This is particularly required in the online catalog, reference, and automated reference services
areas. Principles of simplicity of navigation appropriate to less sophisticated library users
should govern signage and layout.
- The layout should include stations such as the Square One Project
Centers we describe in
Recommendation 8 that offer identifiable sites for undergraduate assistance.
- The effects of eliminating the twenty-eight day checkout period on materials moved from
Hornbake should be considered. Undergraduates report that missing material because of the
long checkout periods as one of the disadvantages of McKeldin.
- Specific programs of training and reorientation should be provided to replace the ethic of the
"graduate" library in McKeldin with the ethic of a combined service site. Systems of service
need to develop awareness of the broader range of users now served in the facility, the variety
of their needs, and the sensitivities required to serve them.
- Systems should be put in place to ensure the interests of undergraduate users in collection
management. The consolidation of collections should eliminate unnecessary duplication, but
must also recognize the unique needs that undergraduates place on a combined collection.
This includes the need for more material written specifically for undergraduate readers and
more summaries of knowledge in subject areas. In addition, the consolidation should
recognize the increased physical strain on a collection used by a much more numerous
Consistent with McKeldin Library's mission as the central campus research library, the
consolidated site for undergraduates should concentrate on providing services that guide students
through research projects.
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An Undergraduate Academic Center
The consolidation of intensive research facilities into McKeldin Library leaves the siting of
day-to-day services for the 21st century undergraduate still to be addressed. Where
we see no
viable option to the consolidation for intensive research, we do believe that the siting of the
day-to-day services is open to a broader range of options. The team believes that these
day-to-day services are no less vital to a library's role in the life of undergraduates than the
intensive services required at the time of major research projects. We have attempted to
characterize a single site that we believe brings these day-to-day services together in a facility that
will place the library at the center of the campus' academic life.
Recommendation 16: In consultation with and through
support from the central administration,
create an Undergraduate Academic Center to house day-to-day library services for
The Center should be designed to serve as a central crossroads for interdisciplinary campus
academic life. When the team surveyed UMCP's peer institutions, both comparable and
aspirational, we found that six of the nine institutions maintain a separate facility of some kind
identified as an undergraduate facility. The library literature often indicates that the so-called
undergraduate library movement peaked in the 1970s and is now in decline. Our survey indicates
that this is not true in our peer institutions. Nevertheless, there seem to be considerable changes
taking place in the mission of these libraries. Some are moving toward highly technologized sites,
others are focusing on information literacy. The movement is toward a reassessment of
undergraduate facilities to match their configuration with the needs of particular campuses and of
the new era of libraries. Major examples are the Information Arcade at the
University of Iowa,
the renovated Lawrence Clark
Powell Library at UCLA, the Media
Union at the University of
Michigan, and the planned renovation of the Robert B.
House Undergraduate Library at the
University of North Carolina.
Our vision of an Undergraduate Academic Center creates a facility that draws upon the
of the current undergraduate facility in Hornbake, offers a site for the day-to-day library services
that we identified as needed by 21st century undergraduates, provides a site where
faculty can come together to provide instructional services to undergraduates, and expands the
scope of services in such a site to create a central crossroads for academic life on the UMCP
campus. The team envisions a site filled with the broad range of activities where members of a
university community find the excitements of the mind and systematic inquiry. When we invited
faculty to submit comments on the library, articulate members of the instructional staff expressed
the wish for a central place where the intellectual life was celebrated and nourished without regard
to specific subject matters. We seek to meet such a wish.
An academic center has particular attractiveness on the Maryland campus. As on all
campuses, our undergraduates' classes are scattered. The student union provides a central focus
for entertainment and general lifestyle activities. But there is no central site around which
academics of the undergraduate experience revolve. No characteristic of the current
facility is as prominent in its success as the provision of study space for students. The nature of
the Maryland undergraduate student body requires a place on campus conducive to study. This
need promises to grow as more course-related activities require students to work together on
projects. Where should this space be located? That it is located in a library facility seems to us a
positive statement to and about our undergraduate students.
Building a viable facility
In recommending creation of an Undergraduate Academic Center, we recognize both that
universities have successfully established undergraduate facilities and that Maryland is ending a
period when we have failed in the same task. So, the team has attempted to assemble a list of
elements that we believe would shape a successful undergraduate facility:
- A clearly defined mission statement. The mission statement must fix the
facility's identity and
its contribution to undergraduate education. The mission should not be tied to the curriculum
-- that is, to specific courses or level of courses. Instead, we believe the mission statement
should identify the particular characteristics and needs of undergraduate students that the
facility seeks to address. This mission statement should be a prominent element of all planning
and of ongoing operations of the facility.
- Promotion of the facility's mission. Clear advantages and uses of the
facility must be
identified and promulgated to guide the objectives of patrons and the provision of services by
the staff. The mission of the facility should be communicated to students in campus visits
before matriculation and during orientation. Library information literature, user instruction,
websites, and all other opportunities should help locate the services of the facility.
- Identifiable management structure. The unit must be governed under a
structure that can commit to and build around its unique mission statement. Units in the
undergraduate facility, in short, should be more than extensions of comparable units in
- A faculty constituency. Maintaining the quality of a separate
undergraduate facility requires
that the library identify a specific faculty constituency who will generate support for, and help
to shape the character of the facility. The group might be identified by their participation in the
undergraduate curriculum, but support of the undergraduate facility must extend beyond a
- A constellation of services. The facility should provide a wide range of
services that draw
students into the facility. This may include services beyond those narrowly identified as library
services such as group study space, computer facilities, symposium and colloquium programs
and other attractions. Perhaps the key in planning is a "town center" analogy of bringing many
heavy use facilities into proximity to create a lively space in which each benefits from the
synergy of all.
- Preparing undergraduates to use the full library system. We recommend
that the mission
statement identify one of the objectives of the facility to be preparing students for use of the
main campus library in McKeldin and the system's branch libraries. The existence of an
undergraduate center should not identify McKeldin as a "graduate library." Normal
expectation should be that by the time of completing their undergraduate degrees, students will
be capable of fully mastering the resources of the entire system. In short, the undergraduate
facility would serve as a third threshold into the library's services for undergraduates and as the
primary site for preparing students to use the full system.
Contents of the Undergraduate Academic Center
We have identified the current strengths of the undergraduate facility in Hornbake. Starting
this base we would expand the activities in the Undergraduate Center to make it a magnet for
undergraduate students. Many of these programs extend beyond traditional responsibilities of
libraries, but this extension is essential to create the central academic site on campus with a cluster
of heavily used library services at its core. There is considerable room for discussion about what
facilities would be appropriate to meet this vision. We would point, for example, to the
- Highest priority on study facilities. Current study facilities retained or
even elevated and
expanded. We believe that the current trend toward more group study and group projects will
carry into the future. Current group facilities are heavily used and such facilities will need to
expand. The need in individual study areas is for quiet study. The UAC should become a
primary site for group and individual study on campus.
- Internet Connection Facilities and WAM lab. The Center should feature a
facility for easy
connection to the internet. This should be provided in conjunction with retention or even
expansion of the current WAM lab facility. In addition, selected group study facilities should
be equipped with internet access to facilitate integration of resources into group study, and
individual study areas should be wired for student's laptop computers.
- Undergraduate reserves. The reserve facility should be maintained and
upgraded to include
- An Information Literacy Teaching Center. The Center should contain the
primary site for
teaching information literacy and training students in library and information use. This site
should include programs to assist faculty in introducing information literacy into their
classroom including cooperative programs described in our earlier recommendations.
- A third threshold to campus libraries. A threshold facility designed to
bridge the student
into the full resources of the library collection. A prominent feature of the facility should be
the central complex for teaching information literacy and library instruction skills. This third
threshold is distinguished from the other two by its location in the high activity academic
center and its direct connection to instructional facilities. It should be particularly appealing to
relatively new users of the library and those beginning more extensive projects for the first
time. In addition, the computer facilities needed by students who cannot otherwise take
advantage of the first threshold would be located in the Center.
- Magnet facilities. We believe the Undergraduate Academic Center should
be user friendly.
We endorse installation of a coffee bar, a listening room, and other facilities to bring students
and faculty into the center as a central site for campus activity. Facilities should be configured
to encourage the Center as a place to linger and read. The coffee bar at Border's and similar
bookstores might be a model. Lockers for commuter students might be another important
magnet. These facilities should establish the center as a primary focus of study between classes
and during time on campus for commuters, and a primary destination for academic related
activities in which the entire campus participates.
- Current serials. The periodicals section of McKeldin Library is usually
filled with those
reading newspapers or the most recent popular magazines. These "drop-by" readers and the
collections that draw them should be located in the Academic Center, freeing space in
McKeldin for those conducting more intensive research.
- A magnet book collection. The book collection in the Academic Center
should be small and
focused toward attracting students to the facility. This collection could, for example, contain
an area of "new acquisitions" now housed near the periodicals desk in McKeldin, a collection
of "classics" continually in print that provide background knowledge at the confluence of
disciplines, and books recently reviewed in New York Times Book Review,
Book Review, and similar sources. This collection should not be tied to specific courses,
should be a rapidly changing collection where patrons find what is new and exciting in the
world of print publishing.
- Colloquia and Symposia facilities. An elegantly appointed space for a
wide range of
academic activities such as poetry reading, book signings, first year book presentations, or any
colloquia of interest to undergraduate students. The budget for this facility should include
funding for a speaker program.
- Interactive Classrooms. Another of the advantages of the current
Hornbake facility is the
classrooms available on a reservation basis for the use of advanced information activities such
as nonprint media and internet connection. Such classrooms containing the latest in
technological capability should be a feature of an Undergraduate Academic Center.
Laboratories similar to the AT & T and IBM teaching theatres ought be located here.
Locating the Undergraduate Academic Center
The location on campus of the UAC is less important to the team than providing a site for the
services provided there. The demands on McKeldin Library seem too great to locate the facility
there without eroding our vision considerably. We would urge exploration of the space freed at
Hornbake by the consolidation we have proposed and by the departure of the Music Library. At
the same time we recognize that the consolidation may well squeeze some facilities out of
McKeldin, and Hornbake will be the largest space on campus for them. We would urge
exploration of other options beyond the constraints of current space. For example, several
non-library academic services for undergraduates such as career planning, individual studies, and
Letters and Sciences are located in the office space adjoining Hornbake Library. Should such
linkages be exploited to reconfigure the building to include those services into the UAC? Since
our vision of the UAC contains facilities that are not directly library facilities, questions of siting
the facility would seem appropriately addressed in cooperation with central administration.
Integrating the Library with the Academic Mission of the
In the best of all possible worlds, questions of siting services would be simple matters of
renovation and construction. The situation at College Park is dramatically more complicated.
Taken together, our recommendations establish the library in a more central place in the education
of undergraduates at UMCP. We believe this elevated station will benefit the library, instruction,
and our students. In our recommendations, we have urged the library to think beyond its current
practices to a changed world of print and electronics and prepare a library to serve the students
who will live in that world. We believe that our recommended siting options -- consolidated
intensive use services and an Undergraduate Academic Center -- will together offer a greater
chance for that vision to occur. A vibrant library located at the center of campus activity,
assisting our faculty to incorporate the new information rich world into their teaching, and
preparing students for full exploitation of the new resources available in the information age
should be the objective of a university planning to produce the graduates that will succeed as
workers and citizens in the world of 2010.
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