Through its collections, services, policies and programs, the ISU Library consistently seeks to demonstrate its responsiveness to those constituencies that depend on it for service.
1. Examples of responsiveness to ISU students, faculty, staff and associates:
- The Library collections, services, and instruction programs, described elsewhere in the Self-study, are aimed primarily at ISU students, faculty, and staff. These include: access to physical facilities and collections; borrowing and delivery services; services to support learning, teaching, and research; and a growing array of Web-based services available via the e-Library.
- Whenever possible, electronic resources are licensed in a manner that permits remote access (from home or office computers) for all current students, faculty, staff, and associates, via a proxy server.
- Library policies are readily available on the Library's website. Policies seek to provide core services as democratically as possible, and free of charge, to our primarily clientele. For example, any book that is checked out from the library's collection can be recalled for use by another borrower after two weeks, regardless of the status of the borrowers involved. (An undergraduate may indeed recall a book from a faculty member.) All user categories are held to the same standard with regard to overdue fines, lost book charges, etc. A small number of differential privileges and services are based on demonstrated client needs: graduate students and faculty, for example, receive an extended (academic year) loan on items from the general collections, and are eligible to apply for individual research study rooms in the library--based on their need for longer-term access to research materials.
- The Library uses the university identification card (ISUCard, with its CyCash functionality) as a "universal" ID for borrowing library materials, accessing electronic resources (when remote), paying overdue fines and other charges, paying for photocopying and self-serve scanning, etc.
2. Examples of responsiveness to affiliated borrowers:
- Access and borrowing privileges for individuals loosely affiliated with Iowa State University are clearly spelled out in a document on the Library's website, which is also available at the Parks Library Circulation Desk.
- The Library collaborates with the ISUCard Office in issuing a Library Visitor Card (a customized version of the ISUCard), and maintains a database of records for affiliated borrowers. The nominal charge for a Library Visitor's Card (maximum $10/year) is intended to recover actual costs.
- To better serve the needs of some affiliated borrowers, such as ISU Alumni, the Library plans in 2006/2007 to explore the creation of more customized "portals" to information resources freely available on the Web.
3. Examples of responsiveness to the broader community of citizens, learners and scholars, in Iowa and beyond:
- All visitors to the Iowa State University Library's physical facilities (Parks Library and the branches), regardless of affiliation with the University, are eligible to consult (on-site) our open-stack collections; use library computer workstations and other equipment; and access all electronic resources (including licensed content) available through the e-Library.
- Library faculty responsible for collection development have been careful to include, within the e-Library, links to scholarly electronic resources that are available free-of-charge on the Internet, and to clearly identify these resources. (See, for example, the list of Indexes & Abstracts in the e-Library, where "free" resources are identified with a globe icon.) Remote users of the e-Library, regardless of their affiliation with ISU, can readily identify and use these valuable electronic resources.
- The Library has had a long and close working relationship with University Extension, providing access, reference, and delivery services to Extension field staff across the state. A designated library faculty member serves as liaison to Extension, and is actively involved in 4H youth development activities. To better serve the needs of actual Extension users across Iowa, the Library plans in 2006/2007 to develop a more customized and coherent "portal" to relevant information resources in the e-Library.
- The Library issues temporary Visitor Cards, and provides the corresponding library services, to attendees of all ISU summer camps and programs (i.e., pre-college programs and activities for middle- and high-school aged youth).
- Library faculty and staff have occasionally helped to teach (and the Library itself has hosted) mini-courses in the ISU College for Seniors program, which promotes lifelong learning for individuals aged 50 or older.
- Library staff provide support for K-12 education, through involvement in such activities as National History Day (introducing area students to primary sources for historical research), and by contributing digital content to the fledgling Iowa Heritage Digital Collections, which aims to become a major resource for Iowa educators in the K-16 continuum.
- The Library regularly participates in outreach activities aimed at residents of the state. Examples include the provision of short-courses via the Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium; and the preparation and distribution of technical leaflets on such topics as preserving photographs and family papers.
- In addition to traditional interlibrary loan, the Library offers a cost-effective, fee-based document delivery service, available to researchers anywhere in the world. Fees are based on cost-recovery.
4. Examples of responsiveness to the Library and Information Science profession:
- Library faculty and staff are actively involved in a number of professional associations, at state, national, and international levels. These include the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA); the American Library Association (ALA) and its numerous divisions, including the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL); the Iowa Library Association (ILA) and the Iowa Chapter of ACRL; and the Central Iowa Library Service Area Alliance (CILSAA). Library faculty regularly serve on association committees, occasionally in leadership roles. In 2002/2003, the Library Dean chaired the national-level Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS).
- Library faculty and staff also participate in activities of the national-level Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Since 2002, staff in the Library's Information Technology division have played a leadership role in ARL's "Scholars Portal" project, a multiyear collaboration between seven ARL libraries and Fretwell-Downing, Inc. The project seeks to provide software tools to ensure an academic community can have a single point of access on the Web to find high-quality information resources and, to the greatest extent possible, to deliver the information and related services directly to the user's desktop. The ISU Library's local implementation of Fretwell-Downing's federated search engine is known as Multi-search, and allows users to search over 100 online collections simultaneously.
- Staff are also actively involved in our regional consortium, the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA). In 2003/2004, the Library Dean served as chair of this consortium of 31 libraries in western and midwestern states. Currently, ISU Library faculty are participating in collaborative GWLA projects to create a digital library pertaining to Western Waters, a gateway to electronic resources in bioengineering, and a national network for cooperative digital reference.
- As described elsewhere in the Self-study, the Library has recently created an internship to promote preservation education, training, and outreach, funded by an endowment from the Lennox Foundation.
- Collaborating with colleagues at the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, library faculty at ISU helped create the Program for University Librarians in the Sciences (PULS) in 2004, designed to recruit and educate librarians to support the future information needs of university library users in the sciences.
- ISU Library faculty have served as grant reviewers for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation.