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The Library

Notes—Meeting on the Library

2 October 2012

Attendees: Approximately fifteen members of the library staff.

Extending Our Reach

  • New Library
    • Space: We need new and better library space.  One of CC’s greatest strengths is face-to-face interaction, which is reflected in current library practice.  However, we need to improve the physical space to enable even more interactive engagement among students and among students with librarians and faculty.  We need more space that is flexible, functional, and tailored to the block plan.  We need a variety of spaces as well as flexible space.  We need instruction rooms that could be used for different purposes. Group work-space is also important.  The library needs to be a place that allows for interdisciplinary work.  It needs to be a place that offers a quality user-experience.  Currently it is too crowded at peak times, particularly in the evening and at the end of a block.  There is conflict between quiet and noisy (presentation) spaces.  We should take advantage of our location and the view.  We should have a café.  The library should be more of a cultural and event space.
    • Collections: The library should have collections that tie together.  A big question for libraries today concerns ownership versus accessibility.  We cannot collect everything.  How do we share resources and become more specialized collections? One important way to extend our reach is for CC to develop partnerships like the library’s partnership with the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries. 
    • People: People are very important.  If we value face-to-face contact we need the “faces.”  People need not to be bogged down in administrative work to allow time for these face-to-face interactions. 

Community: As in multiple other meetings, the librarians stressed the need for CC to better promote itself among the Colorado Springs community and create more bridges between both entities.  Different folks in the community know CC for different reasons.  Some for good reasons, some for those that are not so good.  CC could and should work more with local papers.  We could also offer more workshops for the local community.  Concerts are well attended by the community.  There are terrific lecture series open to the public.  The Press is an amazing resource and a good way to promote CC.  KRCC is also a great outreach opportunity.  One new library building recently constructed actually houses a radio station.  However, it is difficult to know what exactly is going on the campus at any given time.  We, the staff, often don’t know what is going on so how could the community know?  Staff members need to know CC, its people, and its programs, so that they can help make connections to the community.  We should have staff as an essential part of networking.  Better outreach to high schools could be helpful.  For example, librarians could go to schools and provide awareness to students about CC.  But do we really value engagement with the community?  Yes, there is civic engagement and service opportunities. Are there opportunities for students to take root in Colorado Springs and really help change the community?  The “bubble thinking” needs to be taken apart.  Perhaps we could create bridge programs to help student figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives.  We could embrace internships with local companies.  We really don’t have a lot of interaction with the public libraries in the city, although we have some involvement with the AF Academy.  Again, the library staff is limited in what they can do by their space and staffing.

  • Library Repository Project: The new library Repository project is a good way to extend reputation by making student and faculty research available to a large audience, both an internal and external one.  While the platform is still in its initial stages it will hopefully become a great resource.
  • Any new initiative must not be regarded as an “add on.” 
  • In a word, for what should CC be known?
    • Inspiration
    • Innovation
    • Dynamism
    • Interaction
    • Quality graduates
    • Individualism
    • Self-motivation
    • Using what we already have in better ways
    • Intellectualism-rigor-empathy
    • Informed citizenry
    • A place not of growth but of quality education
    • A very strong cross-disciplinary interest and interesting perspectives
    • A place for seeing the world in different ways.
    • Diversity

Engaged Teaching and Learning

  • New Library: A new library with flexible space and more integrated technology would help in the transformation of teaching and learning, and in their integration.
  • Digital Archive: A digital archive could be useful in outreach and assist in research.
  • Students: How can we get students to move from doing assignments to doing their own work that really engage them? Is the purpose of undergraduate education liberal education or life skills? We teach students to learn how to learn.  Most students do not know what they are going to do when they graduate.  Are there ways we could help them sort through these issues and perhaps make their undergraduate education more engaging that way?
  • Information Literacy: It is important to know what knowledge-level students are at and to make sure they have the basics covered in terms of information literacy.  We could tie information literacy into program assessment and somehow make information literacy more integrated into the educational programs.
  • Technology: Our current library is lacking in technological capabilities.  For example: we need more outlets; there is no smart board in the library; and our use of media is limited.  Our compact shelving is sometimes immovable.  Climate control is really bad (poor HVAC, electricity, lighting, etc.).  Some academic libraries are doing interesting things, such as tracking computer use in the library.  If we are going to get ahead of the game in libraries, we need to know what is coming down the pike.  Smart phones and tablets could be more widely used.  If this use was attached to a credit or a grade, it would be a great motivation for students to engage with this technology.  It is great to have the Help Desk in the library.  The library and all its users benefit by this type of collaboration.  “Pervasive computing”: virtual spaces are currently being developed or enhanced, but how do we operate in this space?

Place

  • Colorado Springs: Colorado Springs has a negative reputation nationally and we need to try to counter that in some way.  How do we invite the community to the CC campus?  How do we become more known – and accurately known – in Colorado Springs?
  • Field Courses: One of the strengths of CC is the fact that science classes can easily get out into the field.
  • Southwest: Where is Colorado – in the West? in the Southwest?