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It's a new academic year and a new issue of the Libraries' newsletter. On behalf of the library I am writing to welcome back returning faculty, and to extend a special welcome to the many new members of the faculty who are joining us this year. There are well over a hundred new faculty members this year. It is unusual for JMU to see so many new faculty members and we in Libraries and Educational Technologies look forward to meeting you and working with you to support your teaching and scholarship. I hope that many of you have already taken advantage of the Libraries’ collections and services. I’d like to highlight a few of both below.
First of all I invite you to visit one of our libraries. Our flagship library is the Carrier Library. There is also a Music Library in the School of Music and the CISAT Library in the Health and Human Services Building. I also encourage you to visit our web site where you can find our online collections. I think you will be impressed with the high quality authoritative information that can be found on our web site. The knowledge and ideas available in the library contribute to the university mission of preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who will lead productive and meaningful lives.
I am most pleased to announce that the Libraries’ materials budget received another increase this year, amounting to $500,000. This comes on top of a $500,000 increase last year, meaning that the library collections budget has increased by $1,000,000 after nearly ten years of steady-state budgets. We would like to recognize President Rose for his efforts in marshalling funds for the university and in particular for his support of the James Madison University Libraries. His efforts continue to help us fulfill our mission of connecting students and faculty with ideas.
How are we using this major increase in funding? The size of the increase has allowed us to make progress on multiple fronts, to acquire information in virtually every format available and to increase support for academic programs across the board.
We have been able to purchase subscriptions to numerous databases across various disciplines, ranging from traditional reference sources like Biography Resource Center to ARTstor, a database of images for art and art history. For more, see the article in this issue highlighting some new reference databases. You can view the list of new database purchases through the link on our library home page, or directly at /databases/newdatabases.htm
We have also allocated additional funds for traditional book collections. This year, departmental allocations will be increased by a minimum of five percent. Last year allocations were increased by a minimum of ten percent. We are also setting aside funds to make purchases in subject and interdisciplinary areas where our collections have been weak. See the article in this issue describing the Libraries’ efforts last year to grow our interdisciplinary collections of Islamic and African materials. Starting this year we are creating an ongoing fund to improve our ability to build general interest collections for introductory undergraduate research. We have made significant progress in increasing the breadth and depth of our video collections. And, in support of the University’s mission to promote faculty development, we are developing collections of books and other materials focusing on pedagogy in higher education.
Since our funding was increased we have made dramatic improvements to our journal collections. For the past couple of years we have conducted journal reviews—not with the intent of cutting titles, but with the goal of adding new titles where needed. Our affiliation with VIVA, the state wide library consortium, also continues, enabling us to add even more new journal titles. A list of new journal titles from VIVA and our own subscriptions can be found on the library's web page. Our Periodical Locator service has been thoroughly revamped and it is now possible to browse our journal holdings for journals in specific subject areas as well as to do keyword searching of words in journal titles. I am now comfortable in asserting that we have solid journal collections that support all of our academic programs.
The Library has new services to offer as well. Staff have been working to develop a New Titles feature, accessible through the Library’s home page. Think of this service as a virtual New Book Shelf. You can narrow your search by location, department, and date added; and you can sort your search results by call number, author, title, fund code, to name a few. Our Interlibrary Loan service is highly regarded and we attempt to obtain articles that are not in our collections as quickly as possible. Copies of articles that we obtain for you can be delivered electronically.
Many of our services center on our liaison program. Each academic program has a liaison librarian who is responsible for building collections, consulting with students and faculty and teaching students to use information resources and services. Your liaison librarian can provide library instruction for your classes, help to acquire needed items for our collections, assist you in developing course bibliographies, and recommend sources for your research. We recognize that it is more difficult than ever for students and faculty to make good judgments about information. In this environment it is not easy to use and evaluate information. Nor is it easy to separate the good quality information from the bad. Information literacy is a critical skill for today’s student. That is why I hope that faculty will take advantage of our nationally known library instruction program. In summary, I strongly encourage you to get to know your liaison librarian. This is an exciting time of the year and this is an exciting year for the library. We look forward to renewing our relationship with returning faculty and to getting to know our new faculty. Welcome.
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