Re-Tooling Academic Libraries for the Digital Age:
Missions, Collections, Staffing

California Academic & Research Libraries
Third Annual Conference


Libraries, Instructional Technology & Computer Centers:

New Opportunities for Institutional Collaboration

In this session, moderated by Paula Hammett of Sonoma State University, three speakers from different libraries shared the joys and pains of their experiences in collaboration, or non-collaboration, between libraries and computer services units on their campuses.

The first speaker, Chris Ferguson, Director of the University of Southern California's Leavey Library, described the restructuring of the Leavey Library which opened in September 1994. Leavey Library was carefully planned and crafted to accommodate and support a holistic approach to technology by creating an "Information Commons." Skilled staff are available to promote learning and teaching "an ambitious instruction program" to all members of the USC community. One innovative transformation of library public service is the unique, "three-dimensional service". Navigation Assistants are students who move about the Information Commons floor helping those who need immediate attention, such as with machine operations and trouble reporting. Another service is provided by "computer consultants," who are trained to assist with software and hardware in the Information Commons. "Research consultants," also known as Reference Librarians, "assist users in integrating the electronic and paper technologies." The restructuring in Leavey Library was a realistic approach to make the library a partner with in the computing environment.

The second speaker was Julia Bergman, Systems Librarian at City College of San Francisco, who related a saga of a fifteen year relationship between the library and the computer center. This relationship has seen the two units merge, agree to separate, and then come back together as a result of a new building project. Julia spent long hours researching, attending conferences, and working with information technology staff looking for appropriate models for community college library automation.

Finally, after fifteen years, she can now see the fruit of her labor and persistence. A new building for the library and computer center with state-of-the-art technology was scheduled to open this November at City College of San Francisco. Her patience in involving library staff, information technology staff, administrators, faculty, students, and the community at City College of San Francisco to bring about the collaboration of the library and the computer center in one central building has brought about the culmination of years of vision, focus and persistence. The benefit for the whole campus community has finally arrived!

The final presentation was by Paula Hammett, Sonoma State University. Paula discussed the partnership between the library, computing services and the Center for Teaching and Professional Development. She focused her comments on efforts to provide information services to faculty and described some of the collaborative efforts of these independent yet equal units to provide training and keep each other informed and involved in the process.

Paula also talked about how the units share their individual expertise and concerns with one another, and how they work together to solve problems and provide information services to the campus.

The program made it clear that no matter how joyful or painful the experiences on the highway to collaboration of the libraries, instructional technology and computer centers, the library remains the strong force behind all efforts to bring these units into the twenty-first century.

Submitted Gladys Chaw, College of San Mateo

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