Plan Ahead for Winter Break

Some faculty and graduate students look forward to the Winter Break as an opportunity to take some precious time to concentrate on their own research. If you are planning on working during this period and need to use interlibrary loan (ILL) services, or may want to check books out from Olin Library, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of. There will be no access to the general collection on the 3rd and 4th floors and no Olin Library ILL staff working from noon on Friday 12/18/15 until 7:45 a.m. on Monday 1/4/16. This means no books can be checked out and no mediated ILL requests will be placed, no items returned, and no returnable items (like books) processed during this period. Also, while some larger libraries continue ILL service during the winter break, many do not. So that even if you place an unmediated request for an article, for instance, it may not be processed at the lending library. Plan on taking some time during the Thanksgiving break to check out books and place those ILL requests for materials you plan on needing during the winter break. This should give plenty of time for us to receive them in time for you to take them with you over the winter break. If any should have a due date when we are closed, don’t worry – just return them on 1/4 and we will take the flak, pay any fines, etc.

Some readers may remember that we added extra hours as a pilot during winter break of 2014-15. We reviewed the results of that pilot and discussed the issue of whether we needed to be open during winter break with the Library Advisory Council. Their recommendation was that we do not, but that we should give faculty and students plenty of warning so that they could plan ahead.

Olin Hours over Winter Break

In response to requests from our patrons, we will be open for limited hours during winter break for Rollins faculty.

Thank you to the 112 full time and adjunct faculty who responded to our recent survey on library hours over the winter break.  About 24% of respondents indicate an interest in using the physical collections during this period and about 43% indicate an interest in using ILL services. We also surveyed Oberlin Group and ACS libraries about their opening hours over the winter break. Approximately 84% of the 36 libraries that responded close for a similar period during the winter break. After discussion with the Provost and the various staff involved we are proposing the following as a pilot this year. After this we can review activity and see what we should do in future years.

  • ILLs will be processed from 9-1pm on Monday 12/22 and 9-1pm on Tuesday 12/23.
  • Circulation Staff will be available 12-4pm on Tuesday 12/23 and on Friday 1/2. On those two afternoons, we will open the gates to the upper and lower floors for Rollins faculty only. Faculty who take advantage of this can browse the collections, bring any books/DVDs for checkout, arrange reserves, and pick up any ILL books on those two afternoons.

A few things to remember:

  • At this point some of the relevant staff have already made travel arrangements etc. So we don’t have complete freedom to set the opening hours this year.
  • The campus Post Office opens for two days over this break – 12/23 and 12/30. However, they make it clear that they only expect USPS deliveries, FedEx and UPS will not deliver.
  • ILL will inevitably slow down for a number of reasons beyond our control:
    a.    Many of the schools with whom we have ILL relationships are closed for all or some of the break, we can’t borrow if they are not there to lend.
    b.    USPS has already announced that they expect mail delivery to slow by, on average, one day during December.
    c.    Many libraries use USPS Book Rate to deliver materials, this is the USPS’ lowest priority and will probably slow down even more.

Again, thanks to everyone who responded and particular thanks to Kristen and to Patti for their flexibility in adjusting their holiday plans.

The end of e-reserves (as we know it.)

For many years the library has provided an e-reserves service to enable faculty to provide students will access to scanned readings. In the last few years most faculty have migrated to placing such readings in their Blackboard courses. Students are far more familiar with using Blackboard than they are with using e-reserves, the copyright concerns associated with placing copyrighted works in Blackboard or on e-reserves are very similar, and in June 2015 the library will be migrated from the Sirsi Symphony system that has provided our online catalog and our e-reserve system to a new integrated library system. This seems like the right time to end the duplication of effort and confusion involved in providing access to online readings via Blackboard and e-reserves and focus instead on the system the students find easiest to use – Blackboard.

Therefore, the  next semester – Spring 2015 – will be the last semester in which we accept materials to be placed on e-reserves. After that semester all faculty are asked to plan on placing such readings in their Blackboard courses. If you need assistance in doing so, contact the IT Help Desk.

Please note, our physical reserve system (for books, DVD’s etc.) will continue and is not affected by the change.

Thank you.