Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the Access Service Conference in Atlanta, GA with Mary Beth Lock. As she pointed out in her post, there were many relevant sessions available. I mostly attended those relating to Course Reserves. The keynote speaker, Peter Bromberg, was an engaging speaker with a positive attitude. My favorite quote of the Conference: “It’s not failure, it’s data!”
It’s always interesting to see how other libraries handle the same challenges we have here at ZSR. There was a follow-up session from last year about UTSC‘s self-service model for Course Reserves. They had just implemented the service last year and came back to report on lessons learned. By providing self-service they estimated a 54% increase in circulation of Course Reserves material. They also reported a 90% drop in Circulation Desk traffic which resulted in having to repurpose that staff. Fines were charged for overdue items at $.50/hour and it sounded like they strictly enforced them. Only 4 items out of 1300 have gone missing since they adopted this model even though they allow Course Reserves books to taken out of the library. While this model is not practical for ZSR ($31K (CAD)), it does demonstrate that some security concerns could be reevaluated.
Peter Bae from Princeton University Library began his presentation by showing us one slide that he said summed up the entire presentation: “Consider more Ebooks for Ereserves and do your math. It may save you time and money”. While he was basically correct, we all stuck around to learn more. Factors used to evaluate an available Ebook included: instructor preference, multi- or single-use access model, price, quality of printing options, the print format (pdf, html, etc.), and whether additional software was need to view the books. We currently use Ebooks for Course Reserves whenever possible but there may be opportunities to be more proactive in finding an Ebook that meets the instructor’s needs.
Textbook cost was addressed as it has been in other conferences lately. Sewanee‘s Library made a decision to purchase every class text and place them on Course Reserves. They felt these books would be more likely to be used than many of the other books that were being purchased by the library. With the assistance of the bookstore they identified and purchased over 600 books ($24,500) which resulted in a 2,284% increase in circulation statistics. They also charge fines for overdue Course Reserves materials ($.75/hour) and reported that they were taking in quite a bit of money. They did not include course packs on Reserves, instead, offering supplemental course materials through SIPX.
Other presentations on circulating technology items (cameras, iPads, GPS, and microphones) and marketing library services had similarities to what we’re doing here at ZSR.
Our self-guided tour of the Georgia Tech library was a fun adventure (included a trolley ride) and the weather, the facilities and the fellowship were great.