Individuals and Information Together
Welcome to summer in Ithaca. We’ve reached and passed the longest day of the year and for the next several months the weather will sort high on the attention scale. Some law of physics might suggest that this is a slower time of year, but that news hasn’t reached the library system. Here’s what’s new and in store for IRIS this summer.
None of these men is really replaceable, but we’ve made our best shot at doing so. The South Asia search continues, but I’m hoping to report good news in the next issue of IRIS News & Notes. The Department of Preservation and Collection Maintenance (PCM) will be in good hands under Barbara Berger Eden, the Associate Director. Click here for a look at the proposed organizational chart for that department. You’ll note that Boris Michev is joining that staff to manage the newly consolidated media and microfilm collection located on the Olin lower level (more on that below). At 38 staff members, PCM is one of the largest departments within IRIS.
It is taking five people to replace Yoram. Effective July 1, three people from across CUL assumed Yoram's selection responsibilities:
Martha Hsu has assumed Yoram's supervisory responsibilities for 504 Olin and G&E. Ross Atkinson is taking over responsibility for the Olin-wide collection coordination functions.
Other administrative changes are taking place as a result of staff departures and reassignments. With Carrie Benedict’s departure, the IRIS technical support team was down one person. We decided to forego requesting that line as part of this year’s budget reduction and Chris Bucko will move fulltime into technology coordination. The central IT unit will consist of Chris, Rick Lightbody, and Joe Richardson, who has accepted a permanent halftime position with us. Mary Arsenault will assume responsibility for budget and grants administration within IRIS, taking over responsibility from Chris. Valerie Jacoski is shifting from technology support to the IRIS Design Group, with primary responsibility for producing RLG DigiNews, which we edit here, and other web-based design initiatives.
Among the many changes occurring this summer, the most visible will affect media and microtexts, current periodicals and newspapers, the Olin reference area, and public computing in Olin and Uris. Here’s what is happening:
Olin Library Media Center: support for audio/visual resources has been scattered across Olin, Kroch, and Uris. The main media room in Uris is not handicapped accessible and not consistently staffed. Many audio/visual holdings are stored on the 8th floor of Olin and must be paged at the Olin Circulation Desk. We are progressing rapidly in consolidating all media holdings on the lower level of Olin to ensure that staff are available to assist patrons with technical and reference support. In addition the video collections will become browsable and the playback equipment will be improved. As of today, all newspapers have been moved to the south wall of the lower level of Olin (near the card catalog). The Microform collection has been moved to the space formerly occupied by the newspaper reading room. This whole area is currently under renovation. Counters will be installed next week and the microform equipment set up there by June 10. The move of the URIS media equipment, furniture, and collections will begin July 22. The Asia A/V equipment and furniture will also be moved that week. Additional A/V furniture is expected to arrive in September.
Current Periodicals and Newspapers: Rooms 101 A and B (to the right as you enter Olin) will become the home for current periodicals and same-day newspapers. The reading room has been used for the past 10 years as a staff processing area. We imagine a quiet, beautiful, sun-filled room that will be limited to those using the collections housed there. If you’re in the area, stop by to see the progress being made to convert the room to reading space and take a look at one proposed layout for 101A. We’re close to ordering the actual tables and chairs and hope to settle on soft seating soon. Still to come are more shelves and of course the collections. Our goal is to be in business by the fall term.
Olin Reference area: later this summer we will be adding additional tables in the north alcove of Olin in lieu of the soft seating to support use of the reference collections. This area is adjacent to the reference desk so that patrons can consult with library staff when needed.
Public Computing in Olin and Uris: We have been studying the use patterns of public computers in Olin over the past year and have concluded that our first priority is to ensure access to library resources and the public catalog. Additional computers in this area will be designated as library research only machines. While we will continue to support some workstations for email, word processing, and other processing functions, users will be encouraged to use the many machines available in Uris. Our current plan for the URIS Media Room is to turn it into an experimental space for high-end collaborative computing.
These changes necessitate the shifting of library staff to new locations. Substantial progress has already been made:
Still to come:
Development Pilot Program
I am currently participating in a pilot program for library supervisors and would like to share with you my thoughts on what the program is about and what I think supervisors can learn from the program. The program is being facilitated by Library Human Resources and the Cornell Office of Human Resources and Organizational Development. Unlike the Cornell University sponsored program, Performance Management for New Supervisors, this supervisory development program is intended for supervisors at all levels of management. Some supervisors attending the pilot program have been supervising for just a few years while others have been supervising for over twenty years. The group also represents all types of supervision such as the supervision of students, temporary employees, full-time employees as well as academics. Although we come from different departments with different job responsibilities, we share supervision as part of our job responsibilities. For some of us the supervision piece is 50% or more, while for others it represents just 15% of their position. The percentage of time really does not matter; it is the fact that each of us as supervisors at Cornell has certain expectations that we are required to fulfill. The purpose of this supervisor development program is to ensure that we are aware of what those expectations are and that we are consistent in fulfilling those expectations to the best of our ability. Surely we can not be expected to be perfect supervisors and to know everything there is to know, but we can be expected to know when and how to deal with particular situations and when to seek out additional information or tools to assist us in fulfilling our supervisory responsibilities.
The program consists of four full-day training sessions, each devoted to a specific area of supervision. The first session addresses Setting Expectations for your staff as well as learning what Cornell expects of you as a supervisor as represented by Cornell's staff skills for success. Those staff skills include such areas as inclusiveness, motivation, communication and teamwork. Another area is Human Resource Law and Compliance, meaning having a basic working knowledge of the more well-known human resource laws and knowing what your legal responsibilities are as well as knowing when to call Human Resources for assistance. The last two sessions cover Cornell Policies and Performance Management and Conflict. During each training session, time is spent learning and/or reviewing your knowledge of the particular area(s) covered and then having a chance to ask questions and do hands-on practice with others in the session. It is in these small group sessions that you really have the opportunity to share your thoughts and experiences with others.
The program is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your skills as a supervisor and to learn through sharing with others. Supervisors gain valuable networking links with other supervisors as well as with Human Resources. I feel that this program is a must for all supervisors and department heads regardless of how long you have been supervising. Expectations and laws change as do the situations that supervisors encounter. I think the training program is an opportunity for self-development and we can all benefit from development opportunities.
for CUL Web Developers
Also late last month, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the IRIS Department of Instruction and Learning a $75,000 grant to design a Joint Education Program in Digital Llibrarianship with the Clark Atlanta University School of Library and Information Studies. Clark Atlanta is the only ALA-accredited LIS program in Georgia and one of only 2 accredited programs among the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation. The planning grant will be used to develop a curriculum in digital librarianship that combines the theoretical and the applied; forge the connection between a formal education program and a research library; and define the specific requirements for a sustainable program. Peter Hirtle, Ira Revels, and I will all be involved in this innovative program.
Student Reading Project
The conservation display boards at the entrance to the Kroch Library highlight the Department’s education and training efforts and overseas work, as well as examples of the work of the graphics conservation facility. The exhibition cases in the same location display examples of conservation work in progress and a case study of a completed book treatment.
Another exhibition of note is the "Victorian Decorated Bindings" display in the cases in front of the Map Room. This exhibition demonstrates the wide variety of designs and ingenious methods and materials used in the production of cloth binding during Queen Victoria's reign.
And of course, the RMC display on "I will be heard!" Abolitionism in America is a must-see.
it. The next issue of IRIS News & Notes will be produced in September.
In the meantime, enjoy your vacations and drop me a line if there’s
something on your mind.
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