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Christine Sharbrough (non-member)'s picture

08/06/12 Committee Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need Committee


Meeting was held virtually on 8/6/12 at 10:00AM EST using Blackboard Collaborate. 


Committee members were given a rundown of the RSS Board meeting held Friday, July 20th including the charge by the Board to take on the issue of ebooks and technology in the library.


Of note – there was one public librarian, one specialty librarian (art), and the remainder of the Committee is made up of academic librarians.  As a result, there was much valuable discussion as all were geographically dispersed and worked in different types of libraries.  



Most students prefer paper textbooks.  Ebooks in a reference situation might be ok.


Question raised:  How to eliminate fear of technology by patrons.  How to figure out what patrons want. 


Important to let patrons learn to discover resources – libraries have more than just books. 


The Committee decided that the issue of technology in libraries was much broader than ebooks.  Should we pursue electronic resources in general? 


How to let patrons know that technology is available at the library and to use the resources that are the libraries and librarians. 


Educating the patrons and the staff.  Adjunct faculty are teaching in multiple institutions may not realize that all universities do not have access to the same databases through each library. 


Presentation or training or ? knowing how to speak to faculty – get librarians to the point where they can “promote” what the library has to the faculty.  Who is the customer??


Adjunct and new professors – disconnect between librarians who may not have the same access to the databases at the libraries.


**Best practices:  how are people handling these issues? 


Portfolio of successful practices? 



Assemble a portfolio of best practices for the discovery of and help with technological resources in the library.  Possible outcomes:  flow chart.  Issues:  adjunct faculty vs “regular” different learning styles (art/specialty library versus academic versus public)

Awareness of resources (discovery) community connections; teaching via in-person, IM, text and other

Communication is Challenging!


CS design survey in survey monkey

Create doc in connect (Holly and committee)

Write up goals and send to committee for approval this week Christine

Next collaborate meeting:  TBA; email communications


Kelly McCusker's picture

Hello All,

Sorry, I couldn't attend the first committee meeting, I hope to attend the next one!

I think we should look at electronic resources in general as they are used extremely often by faculty, students, and the public. 

I'm also wondering if any librarians hold "library instruction" for new/adjunct professors.


Julia Watson (non-member)'s picture

I listened to the recording of the meeting. Sorry I couldn’t make it!

I totally agree that “the issue of technology in libraries [i]s much broader than ebooks.” That said, I’m hesitant to agree that we should we pursue electronic resources in general. It seems to me that the board member wanted us to focus in the incongruity between high ebooks usage stats and perceived unhappiness with ebooks on the front line. …and perhaps to find an explanation for this. ...perhaps that users are trying to use ebooks (which results in high stats), failing, reverting back to other formats, and expressing to front line librarians that they don't like ebooks. The question then is how can we on the front line communicate with users at the point of need to make them more successful and happier users of ebooks.

Technology encompasses a lot of things, and I think we’d be more successful if we stayed focused. Ebooks are/is a broad and somewhat controversial topic and we have a lot of issues/facets to explore, especially considering the unique challenges with ebooks and ereaders (and other modes of ebook delivery) at the point of need. Examples from our meeting:

-digital divide (required to have ereader to access book?)

-art books don’t translate well to ebooks, because these students are visual/tactile learners

-non-academics embracing ebooks, but academics not

-difference between etextbook and ebook preference in academic students prefer ebooks (but perhaps talking abook textbooks)

-help users get content onto devices

-help users identify what ebooks they want

-content not available, maybe don’t have ebooks yet or don’t have many ebooks

-public libraries – proliferation of ebooks devices and services

-job applicants in public libraries struggling with electronic application – tangential topic

-easy for methods of using ebooks (and all technology) to become out of date quickly

-making users aware of all the different types of resources that libraries have – people are not aware of this (possibly especially when it comes to ebooks.

I realize our goals have already been sent and it may be too late to change, but I’d like to encourage the group to stay focused on the issue of ebooks. Also, are the second two goals presented really goals? They are important topics that were discussed in the meeting, but they don’t read as goals. I think we should have one goal focused on ebooks, and then perhaps the 2nd goal could broaden that to technology in general, and the third goal could involve the challenges of communications. Just my two cents.


Julie Watson
Research Librarian
Marywood University
Scranton, PA 

Julia Watson (non-member)'s picture

I forgot to mention that I really love the idea of a flow chart.

Julie Watson
Research Librarian
Marywood University
Scranton, PA 

Holly Wilson's picture

Would it be possible to talk to the Board member who was specifically interested in  the committee focusing on ebooks and see what he/she thinks of our goals being more broad than ebooks? I think Julie's idea of facusing one goal on ebooks and another on technology and a third on communication (if needed - I would think the communication could be rolled into both since it's in the name of the committee). I can see the importance of following the Board's wishes, but I'm not sure how invested I can get into that narrow a focus on a personal level throughout a 2 year committee commitment. (Perhaps that's coming from my own inability to see past the flaws of ebooks to fully embrace them and the fact that my current institution hasn't yet implemented an ebook platform).