The Iowa State University Library system includes the Parks Library, which houses the main collections and services, the e-Library (the electronic digital library), the Veterinary Medical Library, three subject-based reading rooms (Design, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences), and a major offsite storage facility. The Library provides an extensive array of print, electronic, and non-print information resources to support the university's learning, discovery and engagement missions. Assistance to library users is provided at service desks in these library facilities and via the e-Library, by a staff consisting of 40 tenure-track faculty librarians, 22 professional & scientific employees, 77 classified ("merit") staff, and the full-time equivalent of 46 student employees. The Dean of the Library reports to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. The University Library Committee is the formal representative campus group that advises the Dean of the Library and the Provost.
Budget: The University Library's FY06 state budget is $17,667,461, which includes an acquisitions budget of $8,497,981. The state budget supports personnel (50%), acquisitions (48%), and supplies and services (2%). Due to declining university revenues, the library faces a challenging budget situation. Since FY2002, the library lost $1,922,922 from its overall state budget due to central budget reversions, which represents an approximate 6.5% budget reduction. While the university provides annual increases to support personnel costs, its support for inflationary increases and new journal purchases for acquisitions has decreased. Over the past two years, the library has sustained an additional 16-20% loss in purchasing power for serials and books because it did not receive inflationary increases for acquisitions. In addition to its state funds, the library budget is augmented through income from student computer fee funds, grants, gifts, and other revenues (e.g., fees, fines, and one-time project funds). In the FY2005 budget year, 93% of the income and expenditures came from state appropriated funds with total expenditures accounting for $18,639,340.
Collections: The Library's comprehensive collections support instruction and research through the master's level in most fields and at the doctoral level in eighty-two Ph.D. specializations. As a charter member (1932) of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Library's resources are part of a national collection supporting comprehensive research in many disciplines, particularly in science and technology. The ISU Library's collections in entomology, botany, economics, agriculture, engineering, and veterinary medicine are widely recognized. The Library collects materials in many formats with a major emphasis on electronic resources. (In FY05, the ISU Library ranked fourth among the 123 member libraries of ARL in the proportion of acquisitions dollars spent on electronic serials.) The Library's collection of journals is nationally recognized for its strength in scientific areas. A large number of complete journal back files, some dating to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, permits unusually comprehensive retrospective study. The Library's holdings include over 2.4 million printed volumes; 35,758 current serial subscriptions (including more than 10,000 full-text electronic journals); and 3.4 million microforms. The Department of Special Collections houses rare books, manuscripts, a film collection, and university and subject-based archives.
Library faculty in the Science & Technology and Social Sciences & Humanities departments are responsible for collection management activities in their areas of subject expertise. The Library maintains acquisitions plans by which many newly published books of a scholarly nature are received automatically from publishers throughout the world. The Library also participates in numerous networks and organizations through which it obtains information resources and services for ISU faculty and students. These include: the Center for Research Libraries, which provides access to more than 3.5 million volumes of specialized research materials, government documents, and dissertations, largely in non-English languages; the Greater Western Library Alliance, a group of 31 research libraries that collaborate in consortial purchases and licenses, reciprocal no-charge lending, and expedited delivery of digitized full-text; the Iowa Access Plus Program, a formal agreement with the State Library of Iowa providing no-charge loans and photocopies to all public and academic libraries in the state; and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), a worldwide cooperative of some 23,000 libraries, providing shared access to over 37 million bibliographic records. Through OCLC's Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program, ISU faculty can also obtain borrowing privileges and on-site access to the collections of other major research libraries in the United States. Beyond traditional interlibrary loan, which obtains approximately 16,000 items annually from other libraries for ISU researchers, the ISU Library offers three separate services for the physical or electronic delivery of library materials to users: a Document Delivery Service, a Storage Delivery Service, and Vet Med Express.
Services and instruction: Assistance in using library collections and services is provided at the four branch facilities noted above and at seven separate service points in the Parks Library. The service points include the Help and Information Desk, Reserve and Media Services, Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery, the Circulation Desk, the Microforms Center, Special Collections, and the Map Room. Faculty in the Library's Science & Technology and Social Sciences & Humanities departments provide specialized reference and instructional services. Reference assistance is available at the Help and Information Desk, in consultation rooms, in faculty offices (by appointment), by telephone, by e-mail, and (since 2003) via synchronous online chat, through the e-Library's Ask a Librarian service.
Library faculty teach a basic undergraduate library skills course, Library 160, to over 6,000 students each year. Library 160 is a pre-requisite/co-requisite for English 105 (a second semester, first-year English course) and a university-wide requirement for graduation. Library 160: Measurement of Outcomes and Results data indicate that Library 160 fills an important need in orienting students to information tools, resources, and services, both in libraries and on the Web. Library faculty also give class presentations, seminars, workshops, and tours in support of individual academic courses, and to acquaint students, faculty, researchers and other groups with the Library's resources, upon request. Arrangements can be made for library instruction to take place in the Library's classroom, seminar room, or hands-on computer labs, or the librarian may visit the instructor's classroom if it is more appropriate.
Two other library programs that support classroom learning, the Instruction Commons and e-Reserve, are likely to be merged into a single program in the near future, based on recommendations from the Library's 5-Year Program Review in 2004. Broadly speaking, the Instruction Commons is both an information literacy program and a virtual space in which students, librarians, and members of the teaching faculty explore ways of integrating electronic resources and library research instruction into teaching and learning. Any course in the university's curriculum is eligible to participate in the Commons. This includes large, lecture courses as well as small, intensive seminars; undergraduate and graduate-level classes; courses taught in physical classrooms as well as those delivered electronically. Instructor and librarian collaborate to determine what resources (primarily, but not exclusively electronic) are most appropriate to support the overall course goals, as well as the specific objectives of individual assignments, term papers, and projects. Commons staff assist the teacher/librarian team in creating course web pages, which provide contextual access to selected electronic resources, along with standardized links to syllabi, lecture notes, sample exams, and (occasionally) online chat/discussion forums. The Commons website also includes several generic information literacy modules, which can be used (or adapted) by any course, and which follow the research process through the stages of defining a topic; locating, retrieving, and evaluating information; and understanding the legal and ethical issues in using information. The subject librarian may make a "live" classroom presentation, and is available for research consultations by email, synchronous chat, and appointment. Currently, the Instruction Commons reaches approximately 6,000 students per year in participating courses.
Reserve is another major instructional support service offered by the Library, providing digitized course reserve readings (journal articles, book chapters, lecture notes, sample tests, and streamed audio files) to students in some 650 courses annually. The current plan to merge Reserve and the Instruction Commons should yield efficiencies for both Library staff and users. Students and faculty, in particular, will benefit from a single point of contact for Library services in support of any university course, whether that entails reserved readings, recommended databases and websites, contact with a subject specialist, or access to generic information literacy instruction.
The e-Library@Iowa State University: The e-Library, unveiled in 2001 as the ISU Library's newest "branch facility," is a Web-based gateway to the collections and services of the entire ISU Library system, both physical and electronic. Central to the e-Library is the Library Catalog, which allows users to search the Library's holdings on a variety of access points (author, title, subject, keyword, etc.) in both basic and advanced search modes; place online recalls; link to full-text when available (through imbedded URLs); and view personal account information. The "Collections" portion of the e-Library provides access to the contents of some 58,000 electronic journals; over 1,700 regional, national, and international newspapers online; 600 electronic books, 278 online indexes and abstracts, and several thousand recommended and scholarly websites arranged by subject. The "Services" portion of the e-Library provides interactive forms allowing users to request assistance or interact with staff at a variety of service points. Online services include the ability to view personal account information (book loans, overdue fines, etc.); submit interlibrary loan requests; contact subject specialists by email or synchronous chat; submit an e-Reserve list (for faculty) or view e-Reserve material; request that items be purchased for the collections; recall an item checked out to another user; or schedule a library video for classroom use. A third major section of the e-Library, "Classes & Tours," provides access to instructional support services (described above), including the online tutorials for the mandatory Library 160 course. A fourth major section showcases "Art & Exhibits," both physical and virtual, in the Library.
A recent and major new addition to the e-Library (implemented in 2003) is Multi-search. Multi-search is a combined "discovery and delivery" tool designed to simultaneously search multiple collections and return results in a single presentation. Within the list of search results, duplicate records can be removed, and the remaining unique records can be sorted and manipulated in a variety of ways. Whenever possible, search results include the delivery of full-text. Multi-search works much like an Internet search engine, but instead of trawling the Web, it searches a variety of reputable collections targeted by library professionals, including commercially-licensed indexes and abstracts, full-text databases, online journals, library catalogs, and quality-assured websites. Currently, 111 extensive collections can be searched simultaneously using Multi-search, including the ISU Library Catalog, Elsevier's Science Direct, Expanded Academic ASAP, the Ingenta article database, and Web of Knowledge. Users can choose to search all available collections, or can narrow their focus by searching pre-defined, subject-based "profiles" in such topical areas as Agriculture & Life Sciences, Business & Company Information, or Engineering & Computer Science. Multi-search is one of the few tools of its kind that combines the convenience of a Google-like search engine with the rich content of library and commercial databases.
Facilities: In FY05, the e-Library had over 13 million visitors and the physical facilities had over 1.54 million, for a total of over 14.5 million visits or uses of the library system. When one considers both the physical and online environments, the Library's collections and services are being used at record levels.
The Library provides 3,080 seats for general patron use, including 2,668 in Parks Library and 412 in the branch facilities. One hundred-nine private study rooms (most of them double-occupancy) are available to faculty, graduate students, and professional & scientific staff who require intensive research use of the collection over a period of time. Six group study rooms are available to students on a sign-up basis. The Library's general collection is available on open stacks in all locations. Books and serials are shelved according to the Library of Congress Classification System. The ISU Library system supports 250 public-access computers, some deployed throughout study/stack space, and others concentrated in library computer labs.
Send questions or comments about this page
Contents last modified: ;
2009-10-04 Copyright © 2000-2010, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.