Research & Information Services, Fall 2012
Since the concept of the “home page” was first introduced to us in the mid-1990s, our library has had a number of “Web presences,” all of which can be viewed by means of the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive (at http://archive.org) by searching by the library’s old website address, i.e., lweb.tc.columbia.edu. It occurred to me that it would be interesting to accompany this report with successive iterations of our website; it’s in some ways illustrative of the evolving nature of the Internet to see how the library chose to represent itself over time, what collections and services were featured, and how we gradually incorporated more and more interactive elements in the online public face of the library. If you click on the images below, you can get a pretty good sense of what these pages looked like “in real space.” (Incidentally, the library was dedicated as the Milbank Memorial Library in 1982 and remained so named until the 2003-2004 renovation.)
Fall semesters are traditionally the most intense among academic terms at Teachers College, and this past semester was no exception. Here are some figures summarizing research and information services the library provided to its users during Fall 2012:
- From September through December, Services responded to a total of 678 in-person and telephone reference queries.
- Library Services staff members received and responded to 662 queries of various kinds submitted via the library’s Support Request (ticketing) system.
- Services librarians provided 75 research consultations to individuals or small groups over the course of the fall.
- Services team members presented 23 course-specific library information sessions, either in the courses’ regular classrooms or in the library, for a total of 365 students.
- At the beginning of the semester, research and information services librarians provided 15 library orientation tours for a total of 66 new students.
The following sampling represents the diversity of queries submitted to us by various TC community members as well as students and researchers from Columbia University and beyond:
- Factors affecting verbal interaction in group work in a content-based ESL classroom;
- Various aspects of evaluation theory, including stakeholder values and interests, theory-driven evaluation practice, and conceptual frameworks for evaluators’ everyday practice decisions;
- The role of participatory videorecording in ethnography;
- The role of arts education directors as arts administrators;
- Core principles in continuous and in-class assessment;
- Specifics concerning Teachers College in 1888, the year of its founding (in preparation for TC 150th anniversary celebrations): Where was its campus? What were students like? Who were they? What was the cost of living? How would students have gotten here? What might classes have been like?
- Attrition (dropout) rates among students in various marginalized communities;
- Correlations among bilingual education, immigrant youth, and academic performance;
- Conditional cash transfer programs in global educational funding:
- Radical pedagogy and educational activism from the 1930s to the present, different approaches to schooling, and ways in which teachers and activists have worked together both within and without formal schooling structures and institutions in the 20th century;
- The existence and availability of College Board annual reports and financial statements;
- Psychological risks relating to hospitalization in high-risk pregnancies;
- Aspects of happiness and well-being in later adulthood.
In addition to research-related transactions, Services staff deal routinely with questions pertaining to e-reserves, fines and holds on College accounts, printing in the library, Blackboard course platform functioning, access to print and digital archives, hardware and software issues, room reservations, and a myriad of other situations and issues. Increasingly we find ourselves challenged to master routine library transactions as well as more complex technology-related problems, in addition to keeping up with developments in electronic resources and research protocols. It seems to me that this range of responsibilities has always made library service engaging and rewarding, and with the certitude that the new year will bring a new collection of challenges, we’re looking forward to honing our skills to provide our users with the best possible service in 2013.