The Library's comprehensive collections support research and study through the master's level in most fields and at the doctoral level in eighty-four 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. Also widely recognized are collections in entomology, botany, economics, agriculture, engineering, and veterinary medicine. The Library collects materials in many formats with a rapidly increasing emphasis on electronic resources. The collection of journals and other serials is noteworthy for its strength in scientific publications, and large numbers of complete journal back files in these subject areas, some dating to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, permit unusually comprehensive retrospective study.
The Library maintains an active interlibrary loan and document delivery program. That provides a wealth of resources for ISU faculty and staff. For example, through its membership in the OCLC interlibrary loan network, the Library has access to over 37 million bibliographic records representing the holdings of over 23,000 libraries in 63 countries. The Library is a member of or has formal cooperative agreements with a number of networks or organizations through which it obtains library and information services for faculty and students. In addition, its membership in the Center for Research Libraries provides access to the Center's collection of more than 4,000,000 volumes of specialized materials and items in non-English languages, including large holdings of foreign government documents and non-U.S. doctoral dissertations. Moreover, the Library works actively with a regional consortium of over thirty Midwestern and western research libraries through its membership in the Greater Western Library Alliance. The Library is also affiliated with the State Library of Iowa and the two other state-funded universities under the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.
The Associate Dean for Collections and Technical Services and the Associate Dean for Reference and Instruction leads and coordinates overall development and management of library collections, working with library faculty and staff in the Science and Technology (S/T) Department, Social Sciences and Humanities (SS/H) Department, and other units as appropriate. Subject specialists in the S/T and SS/H departments are responsible for reference, instruction, and collection management activities in their areas of expertise. These bibliographers work closely with the faculty in the academic departments to obtain materials appropriate to the teaching and research priorities of the university faculty. Each academic department has an assigned liaison who facilitates communication between the department and the Library. Faculty, staff, and students with complex reference questions make appointments to meet with a subject librarian who has expertise in the topical area.
The Library is committed to building collections that represent a wide-spectrum of viewpoints. Providing our users open access to a broad range of opinions enables the university community to effectively assess the validity of various arguments presented as a result of scholarly discourse. Library staff participate each year in campus activities for Banned Books Week. The Library subscribes to the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights and its advocacy for intellectual freedom and the open right to access to information for all patrons.
The Library 160: Finding, Evaluating, and Using Information course is taken by approximately 6,000 students annually. Academic honesty is stressed in the introductory lecture presented by the librarian instructors in the 45 sections of this course. Included in the textbook for the course is a section on academic honesty and the importance of accurately citing sources in order to give appropriate credit. In addition, library faculty are regular presenters in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) series of workshops for faculty discussing plagiarism and academic honesty issues.
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