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2.9 Learning Resources and Services PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 August 2009 18:45

2.9 Learning Resources and Services

The institution, through ownership or formal arrangements or agreements, provides and supports student and faculty access and user privileges to adequate library collections and services as well as to other learning/information resources consistent with the degrees offered. Collections, resources, and services are sufficient to support all its educational, research, and public service programs.

Responsible Unit: Library Services

Compliance Judgment



F.D. Bluford Library at NC A&T provides sufficient collections and resources to support its educational, research, and public service programs. Further, it supports student and faculty access and user privileges to adequate or appropriate library collections and services consistent with the levels and types of degrees offered through ownership or formal agreements at NC A&T and other institutions. In addition to the library, the University community is served by other learning / informational support units including but not limited to the Center for Distance Learning, Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL) and the Division of Information Technology (DoIT). Instructional labs include the Learning Resource Laboratory, Writing Center, Academic Tutorial Program, Tutorial/Study Center, The Carver Hall Tutorial Laboratory, Learning Assistance Center (Nursing), Writing Laboratory, Teacher Education Center, and the Learning Assistance Center (Chemistry Department).

Library Collections and Services: The library maintains a balanced collection of print and non-print materials with an ever growing collection of electronic databases, e-journals and e-books. Current holdings include more than 700,000 volumes in books, bound periodicals and government documents. Electronic resources include over 150,000 books and more than 127,000 journals and other serials. [1] Additional holdings include a strong collection in microforms, videotapes and other audio visuals. The library maintains special collections in Archives, Black Studies and teacher education materials. Informational needs are complemented by retrieval of resources via interlibrary loan (ILL) and document delivery.

Additionally, the library participates in various resource sharing initiatives at the national, state and local levels including:

  • Online Computer Library Center (OCLC): a nationwide cooperative lending group
  • Southeastern Library Network, Inc. (SOLINET): a not-for-profit library cooperative providing resource sharing for the educational, cultural, and economic advancement of the Southeastern United States
  • UNC System: Consortia borrowing agreements with the other 15 state university libraries. A&T borrowers may visit these libraries to check out materials, or may request them through interlibrary loan [2]
  • Area Colleges and Universities: lending agreements among the five area colleges and universities as well as the local community college allow students to use and borrow materials [3]
  • Public library: the main branch of the public library is also in close proximity to the campus, supporting students with leisurely reading materials

The library is an officially designated partial depository for United States Government and North Carolina publications. In order to provide access to federal government publications not available in Bluford's depository collection, the library relies on several resources. These include:

  • The University of North Carolina, a regional Federal Depository Library
  • OCLC Interlibrary Loan System
  • Federal agency websites, including GPO Access

Bluford also maintains special agreements with institutions with joint degree programs. Among those institutions are Indiana University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. [4] [5]

Collection Building: The library encourages the active participation of faculty, staff, and students in this process. There is a general suggestion form available to faculty on the library's website [6] as well as an online request form which can be used for collection recommendations. [7] The library's collection development program provides for the establishment of policies and procedures to assure the consistent and logical growth of the collection in support of the curriculum at NC A&T. The program pairs a librarian assigned responsibility for specific subject areas, with a faculty member to serve as a library liaison to review all departmental requests for materials. [8] A policy statement for each department guides the selection, acquisition and de-selection of resources. [9]

The collection is continually evaluated based on the library's collection management policy and against standard bibliographies. [10] Outstanding recommended titles from Choice are routinely purchased, titles borrowed through interlibrary loan are acquired and journal citations are analyzed to determine additional journal subscriptions. A representative from the library serves on the University's Curriculum Committee. The representative informs the liaisons of substantive changes and new courses. [11] The liaisons evaluate library resources to support the new programs. Through the accreditation process, adequacy of the collection is verified. The library has consistently received good evaluations with no recommendations. Recent reviews include: Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Council on Rehabilitation Education, Council on Social Work Education, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Landscape Architectural Accrediting Board (LAAB). [12]]

Other measures of adequacy include benchmark comparison with peer groups. Utilizing data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) [13] for the fiscal year 2007, Bluford Library's collection in comparison to its peer institutions demonstrates its support of the University's curriculum. The University is recognized as the top producing university for African American engineers and technologists. With its strong concentration in engineering and technology, current resources are critical in supporting research at the doctoral level. Bluford leads the 14 peer institutions in the number of Current Serials Subscriptions (40,089). It is followed closely only by Indiana State University (39,330).

As indicated in its mission statement, the library provides timely access to quality information. [14] A major focus of the collection building program is to expand the quantity and quality of electronic resources providing greater access to all users, including distance education users. Acquisition of digital resources ensures a future in which faculty, students, and staff can obtain the information they want, when and where they want it, and in the format most appropriate to their need, regardless of where that information is physically located. This progression to a virtual library has resulted in a record number of databases with full text access to journal literature. [15] Bluford ranks lower among the twenty peer institutions in the category of Books, Serial Back Files and Other Paper Materials. However, much emphasis has been placed on acquiring e-resources to provide greater accessibility. Thusly, e-books holdings have increased exponentially over the past five years; e-books now exceed 150,000. [16] Another quantitative review of the collection is the Bowker's Book Analysis System which electronically compares a collection to the H.W. Wilson Standard Catalogs or Resources for College Libraries and provides reports that can be used to identify gaps and duplicates within the collection. This tool has been useful in determining the strengths and weaknesses of the collection and developing the core collection. [17] [18]

LibQUAL+TM, a suite of services that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users' opinions of service quality, is administered to the University community biennially. This web-based survey helps libraries assess and improve library services, change organizational culture, and market the library. The library analyzes survey results to determine needed improvements and enhancements. Data also allows the library to better meet users' expectations by comparing results with peer institutions and examining the practices of those libraries that are evaluated highly by their users. The 2006 survey data indicated the collection needed improvement in the following areas:

  • Print and/or electronic journal collections
  • Making electronic resources accessible from home or office
  • Enhance collection of African American Resources

Faculty and graduate students in particular were less satisfied with access to library learning resources. The following actions were taken to improve the collection:

  • Leveraged its buying power by actively participating in consortium purchases of electronic resources. The savings realized through the joint purchases have enabled the library to significantly increase its journal holding. E-journal holdings increased from 50,216 in FY06 to 127,941 in FY09
  • List of items borrowed from other libraries was reviewed and appropriate items were purchased for the collection, with emphasis Black Studies resources. The library received a donation of over 2000 Black Studies titles which have been cataloged and added to the collection. A media campaign was developed to alert the user community to the difficulties in replacing Black Studies titles (often out of print) with an appeal for users to eliminate pilfering of valuable resources

In addition to LibQUAL+TM, the library employs a variety of assessment methods to capture campus-wide involvement. The five-year strategic plan is reviewed annually to gage progress toward meeting goals.

Access and User Privileges: In addition to a 24-hour 5-day a week schedule, students have access to services such as group and individualized library instruction, document delivery and electronic course reserves. [19] A&T has one of the first three libraries in the UNC Systems to offer 24-hour service. More recently in 2006, other area university libraries have implemented this service. Among its peer institutions, NC A&T has the greatest number of service hours per week (135) compared to its' peer institutions' average of (92) hours per week. [20] The 2006 and 2004 Sophomore Surveys taken by sophomores throughout the UNC System, indicate a 96% and 94.6% respectively, approval rating for hours of operation compared to a 89.5% and 90% approval for the UNC System. The Reference Department is currently staffed by a librarian 93 hours per week. However, students have access to virtual reference 24/7 as a participating member of NCKNOWS. [21] The facility offers wireless access throughout the building, study rooms to encourage group collaboration, and access to laptop and desktop computers. The laptop program was initiated in 2004 with 100 laptops available for on-site use only. During Fall 2007, the laptop program was further enhanced by allowing users to borrow a laptop for 3-day home use.

All faculty, staff and students have access to electronic resources and services via the library's website. The physical collection is available to all walk-ins. However, due to license restrictions, access to digital resources is prohibited from use by non-affiliated users. Authorized users of licensed databases are authenticated by a proxy service. [22] To access resources on site, 270 desktops with word processing, spreadsheet applications and specific subject programs are available. Bluford Library's website is the gateway to the majority of the library resources. The website provides access to the catalog, services and all electronic resources. Patrons with special needs are provided an array of services by the Access Services Department. [23]

Distance Learning: Students who are enrolled in distance learning classes and faculty teaching online classes remotely have access to an assortment of online library resources including the library's catalog, electronic databases, full-text electronic journals, and electronic books that support learning at North Carolina A&T State University. Distance learning students and faculty can access the library's resources via Blackboard, the online course management system used by the University [24]. The link on the Blackboard website provides access to a list of library services without exiting the system. Distance learners may also access this page on the Center for Distance Learning's website [25]. After clicking Library Resources under the A&T Links tab, users are taken to the library's Distance Education Library Services page. Help Desk assistance and other computing services are also fully available to distance learners.

Information Services: Reference librarians are available 95 hours per week to assist students with their research needs. [26] In addition to one-on-one assistance, the Reference Department provides individualized instruction. During the consultation, the librarian spends time discussing research strategies, showing relevant sources and demonstrating correct use of these resources. A tour is also offered to familiarize users with the location of materials. Workshops covering such topics as alerting services and EndNote are scheduled throughout the academic year. [27] The "Ask a Librarian" service has proven to be a very useful service for patrons unable to physically visit the library. It includes E-mail Reference, wherein reference librarians answer questions by e-mail to anyone with a valid e-mail address, regardless of university affiliation and 24/7 Virtual Reference, which allows users to chat in real-time with a librarian. All these services are available to distance learners along with a toll free number.

Information Literacy: The Library Instruction Program provides library instruction (formal and informal) based upon the needs of students, faculty, and staff. The mission of instructional services is to promote effective use of library resources and technology. Instruction is presented through lectures and demonstrations to respond to the total educational process of the academic community. Since 2006, the library has collaborated closely with the Division of University Studies to integrate information literacy instruction across the curriculum, in accordance with NC A&T's General Education requirements. Further, the Library Instruction Program's goals and objectives incorporate the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards with various teaching strategies and methodologies designed to meet the individual differences in learning, including level, style, and culture. [28] Instruction in the use of the library is addressed in Principle 3.8.2. [29] The overall approval rating for library services on the 2004 and 2006 Sophomore Survey was 93.4% and 82.4% respectively.

Other Learning/Information Resources. Other learning resources supporting the University's mission are detailed below:

Academic Computing: The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) at North Carolina A&T State University provides centralized information technology services to the North Carolina A&T State University community of students, faculty and staff. The Support Services team operates as a unit of the Division of Information Technology and includes Aggie Technical Support (Help Desk), Academic Labs, Residence Hall Labs, Student Technical Services, and technical functional consultants. The Support Services area supports the academic mission of the University by implementing, enhancing and supporting the campus computing needs and providing support for the administrative information systems.

The Academic Labs and Residence Hall Labs provide students with complete access to computing facilities at convenient hours. The centralized management is crucial to providing a well equipped environment for students and faculty to have mass access to the tools they need to perform. The lab functional consultants provide a wide array of services that keep these environments accessible and functioning. They also assist Aggie Technical Support (Help Desk) services with their duties to provide computer and printing support.

The STS (Student Technology Services) organization is unique to only a few university environments in the nation and enables undergraduate students to provide the leadership, fiscal responsibility, and strategic direction in conjunction with the goals of the ITT organization. The STS team supplements many of the Division of Information Technology areas including the Laptop Checkout Program, Aggie Technical Support, Media Services, Telecommunications, Security/Audits, and so on. In this symbiotic relationship, students gain valuable leadership and hands-on technical training while the University realizes substantial cost savings.

The Aggie Technical Support team or Help Desk and the Academic / Residence Lab teams provide resolutions to technical problems by troubleshooting, analyzing and advising students, faculty, and staff when they experienced hardware and software problems. They provide Tier 1 and in some cases Tier II/III technical support.

Tier I technical support is answering general questions, expanding email storage space, resetting passwords, scheduling/ preparing service request tickets for issues requiring a field technician. General information would be (FAQs) Frequently Asked Requests regarding services, hours of operations, forgotten NCAT email ID's, reporting system problems.

Tier II/III technical support is advanced telephone and remote desktop support with customer interaction for problem resolution. This support can be classified as re-installing software along with downloading application updates and upgrades. Unresolved issues would require a technician to repair hardware failures and/or the installation of hardware/software for the customer.

An automated ticketing system from Computer Associates called Service Desk is used to track and monitor requests and problems. There are 18 academic computer labs distributed across the campus in various classroom buildings. The Laptop Checkout Program is an innovative program that allows students to check out a computer for use in the library or take it out of the library for up to 3 days just as they would check out a book. Students love the concept since many cannot afford their own unit.

Academic Labs are open during convenient hours for students to access for study and research [30]. Adequacy of this lab space is determined by monitoring the utilization of seats and is reviewed each semester. Currently there are over 600 computers available along with printers and other peripherals.

The campus wireless network is available throughout most of the campus and focuses on open areas where students have access to seating and electrical power. Access to this network requires a valid Aggie Access credentials and password that are used to access email and other campus systems. Access to the wireless network is available campus wide with the exception of dorm rooms where wired access is available.

Tutoring and mentoring programs further support the institution's teaching, research and service mission. Students have access to a broad range of services including the Writing Center and other tutorial and mentoring services. Tutoring sessions provide supplemental instruction for traditionally difficult classes as well as skill building sessions for students identified as "at risk". Schools and Colleges also offer preparatory courses for professional examinations. Mentoring programs primarily serve the freshmen population, but relationships formed often extend beyond the freshmen year. Students meet with mentors on the average bi-weekly. [31]

Findings conclude that the library's collections, resources, and services are sufficient to support its educational, research, and public service programs.

Supporting Documents

[1] Library, Statistical Summary

[2] Library, Cooperative Direct Borrowing Agreement

[3] Library, TALA Borrowing Agreement

[4] Library, Indiana State University

[5] Library, Consortium Membership

[6] Library, General Online Suggestion Form

[7] Library, Online Request Form

[8] Library, Bibliographer-Liaison List

[9] Library, Collection Development Policy

[10] Library, Doody's Core Titles, 2008

[11] Library, New Course Program Review

[12] Library, Accrediting Bodies

[13] Library, NCES Library Comparison

[14] Library, Mission Statement

[15] Library, Databases

[16] Library, Statistical Summary

[17] Library, Comparison Collection

[18] Library, Bowkers analysis

[19] Library, Course Reserves

[20] Library, Service Hours

[21] Library, NCKnows

[22] Library, Proxy

[23] Library, Disability Services

[24] Distance Learning, Blackboard Academic Suite

[25] Library, Distance Education

[26] Library, Reference Department

[27] Library, Spring 2008 Workshops

[28] Library, Instruction

[29] Library, Instruction

[30] Library, Academic Computing Labs

[31] A&T, Tutoring and Mentoring

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 February 2010 16:22 )

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