This Week in LIS - 26 June 2009

Weekly news and updates from Luther College Information Technology Services. To receive email updates, please sign up here.

Headline of the Week: LIS Service Points Improvements


Those following LIS know that we have been entertaining ideas to improve our service points on the main level of Preus Library for some time. In fact discussions regarding this space occurred before my arrival at Luther in summer 2006. Since Spring 2008, we have supported task force work within LIS to develop a vision and plan for implementing changes to the main floor with the following goals in mind:

  • To enhance the user experience at LIS service points
  • To encourage broad thinking about service with LIS and among LIS staff providing service
  • To broaden the skills of professional staff through cross-training and collaboration
  • To design and create spaces that better support service and collaboration

These goals were developed as part of our Vision and Framing Document completed in early summer 2008. After a hiatus in the fall, we reactivated the team to develop an Implementation Recommendation which has just been completed and presented to LIS and a few other interested parties. We are now ready to move forward to selectively implement some features of our plan this summer, with additional work to follow during the 2009-10 academic year.

I’d like to step back a moment and discuss why I believe this work is critically important to the future of library and information service at Luther, and why LIS believes this a top priority for us to pursue now. It is clear to many that the digital information revolution we are witnessing is causing ripples (OK, more like tsunamis) through traditional definitions of library and information service. Where once faculty and students had no other resource than Preus Library collections for their academic research, now local library resources are often not the first stop local researchers make. While it is difficult to come to grips with the fluctuating and future value of local library collections, there is a sun rising for the library and information service profession, particularly at institutions such as Luther. This digital explosion of information presents new opportunities for research and technology instruction and support. In the digital world, we live much less in defined boxes, and instead have grown used to hyperlinking ourselves (physically and virtually) to discover new connections, integrations, and collaborations. Indeed this realization is what gave birth to a combined Library and Information Services organization at Luther. And it is this same vision that brings about our redefinition of service points in LIS to better align our service with the current and future needs of faculty and students at Luther. We want to be more integrated, more collaborative, more responsive, and more relevant to accomplishing our goal to support the mission of Luther College.

Therefore, we seek to define stronger supportive relationships between all LIS service points, as well as with another strong academic resource at Luther, our Writing Center. I believe the end product will result in much more flexible, forward-thinking relationships that will bring direct benefit to the academic work we support. Today, using quality library resources almost always directly involves writing and using technology (I don’t see many clay tablets still in use in the library). Building stronger collaboration among our professionals who deliver these services is fundamentally important to our ability to deliver the service needed by our faculty and students in the future. I find the cost of delaying or ignoring efforts to design our service in this way too great, which is why I’m very pleased to begin the process of moving forward this summer.

While we do intend to begin this process now, it will continue to be a work-in-progress and iterative as we go along. There are a few things LIS will be working to implement this summer. These include:

  • Relocation of current periodicals to the rear of the reference section.
  • Construction of a new Help Desk Call Center to be located where new books, the art gallery, and leisure reading materials are currently shelved.
  • Relocation of the computer lab currently outside the Help Desk to the area now occupied by current periodicals.
  • Slightly moving the current Reference Desk (though keeping the desk intact) and using it for walk-up traffic for both Reference and Help Desk support.
  • Rearrangement of casual seating and OPAC workstations as we relocate new books, the art gallery, and leisure reading to the area closer to circulation.
  • Consolidation of circulation of technology equipment to the Circulation Desk (involving transfer of equipment from the Help Desk).

Discussions are underway with specific individuals involved in each of these areas. Additional recommendations for office construction will not be pursued at this time, but instead will be discussed during the 2009-10 academic year. As we move forward, any individuals who are directly involved with any of the service points/office spaces in question will be asked to actively contribute to design and implementation. I expect that we will use all of our collective intelligence, ideas, and thoughts to come up with the best outcomes.

I want to finally thank all of the LIS staff who have worked very hard to guide conversations in both our 2008 and 2009 iterations of our task force to bring us to where we have come: Eddy Atwell, Andi Beckendorf, Kathy Buzza, Ryan Gjerde, Matt Hughes, Lindy Moeller, Germano Streese, and Rachel Vagts. Special thanks to Diane Gossman who has led the initiative forward as well.

While our vision and implementation planning phases are drawing to a close, there will be plenty of opportunity for input and discussion from everyone in LIS as we move forward. Please join in and help as we bring to reality a new vision for our public service in LIS.

Summertime Hiatus for TWILIS

This Week in LIS will be on break for the next several weeks and resume publication on Friday, July 24th.

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

The following articles are sampled from those available on the LIS Blog:

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council discussed the following topics this week:

  • Server room air conditioning
  • Update on summer library projects (flat maps withdrawn, video review project, basement clean-up)
  • KATIE upgrades
  • Faculty roll update
  • Track-It! Upgrade update
  • A/V installations in Olin
  • Lengthy discussion of our service points proposal and recommendation to continue forward
  • Ride sharing programming
  • Summer planning day planning

NITLE Opportunities

As a member of NITLE (National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education), Luther has the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of developmental and training programs intended for faculty, librarians, and information technologists. Events listed at the link below are currently open for registration by Luther participants. LIS Staff who are interested in participating in an event should speak with Christopher Barth. Faculty who are interested in participating should speak with Lori Stanley. Participation is contingent upon available funding and program acceptance.

A full list of events (sortable by registration deadline) is available at

Next Month in LIS and Faculty Development Opportunities

Click on the event below for specific information and for a link to register. More information on training and development events is available.

Notable Internet Resource of the Week: Memoryshare

From the website:

BBC Memoryshare is a living archive of memories from 1900 to the present day. You can contribute, share and browse memories of life experiences and see them in the context of recent and historical events. Memoryshare is of value to people across the UK and internationally, and may be used as a source of programme content for the BBC. Anyone registered with can contribute to Memoryshare.

This site combines interesting design and graphics to capture memories which undoubtedly will bring the BBC a very interesting collection of potential material to draw upon to illustrate events across a wide stretch of time … and will allow perspectives and opinions that would otherwise go unseen to be shared. This is certainly an innovative use of the Internet and crowdsourcing.

On the web at

Around the Web

Here are a few links to interesting developments over the past week:

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This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Christopher Barth, Executive Director of Library and Information Services at Luther College for the Luther College community as well as those interested in information services and higher education.

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