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Harold B. Lee Library News
Updated: 11 weeks 1 day ago
The library has installed a great new electronic directory. This new system contains all of the information traditionally found on the library’s printed floor maps and so much more. The new directory can show you not only where computers are located, but also how many of them are available to use. Looking for an office? A personnel directory is available. You can even find the lockers in the library, a detail that was hard to fit on the old printed maps.
The new directory is located on level 3, the main level of the library. It is on the wall by the north elevators. Since this is a brand new system we expect that we will need to learn a lot about what people are looking for in the building and how they want to find their way. We invite you to try out this new system and to share your feedback through lib.byu.edu/feedback.
In the meantime we will be adding features and details as we learn more.
There was a time when the millions of books in the library were represented by cards in a catalog. On level 6 of the library, the official list of every book in the library (known as the shelf list), can still be seen. Millions of small cards organized neatly into dozens of wooden cabinets fill hundreds of drawers. Today the library catalog is much larger, and yet all of that information will easily fit onto a single flash drive.
The change from print to digital was actually far greater than the shelf list analogy shows. The library’s collections now reach far beyond the walls of our building. The scholarly journals you read are maintained on servers located in other states or even other countries. We manage the subscriptions for them as well as the academic databases so faculty and students never have to deal with a pay wall or authentication issues. But this has created a new challenge for scholars and academic librarians. Back in the day of print materials, we knew every book in our collection. And while we continue to invest in print, we now only buy an average of 78 printed books a day to support the needs of the hundreds of faculty and thousands of students who use our collections. But no one can tell you how many journal articles or how many items in our databases are added each day. The common comparison of information to a cloud appears appropriate. The library exists in the middle of an information cloud. We know it is constantly growing but no single individual knows how fast and no one can comprehend all the information that is added each day across the many disciplines. That is why we have divided up the responsibility of understanding our resources.
For every discipline taught on campus we have assigned a librarian to develop collections—digital and print—and support them. If you are an engineer you can talk to Peter Zuber, if you are an artist you can talk to Chris Ramsey. Educators know that Rachel Wadham is their resource, while faculty in the Tanner building turn to librarians Leticia Camacho and Andy Spackman who know about business. It is the custom of the library to hire librarians who not only have advanced degrees in library science or information studies, but who also have advanced degrees in the subject area they support.
If you are curious about the new resources the library has acquired in a given field, we invite you to contact a subject librarian. You can find their contact information on our list of subject pages http://guides.lib.byu.edu/browse.php.
BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit, “Victorian Illustrators from Sketch to Print”. Located on level one in the Special Collections gallery space, the exhibit displays Victorian illustrations from books, magazines, pamphlets and more. The 19th century was a pinnacle in illustrations for books and other printed materials. The exhibit opens August 18th 2013, with the beginning of BYU Education Week.
Visitors to the exhibit space will be able to view original illustrations as well as their printed versions from Sir John Tenniel, famous for illustrating Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, original printing plates from Charles Dickens novels and art from Aubrey Beardsley, who illustrated the works of Oscar Wilde.
The exhibit will be on view to the public through Spring 2014. Admission is free.
As you walk around the library this summer you will see a number of projects underway.
The first thing you may have noticed is that it is not always easy to enter the building. With 3 million patron visits a year, our doors get a lot of work. If you figure that after 12 years, any one of the 12 doors in our main entry may have been opened 3 million times, it isn’t surprising that they are due for some maintenance. In fact, we decided it was time to replace the doors and the accessibility systems.
Once you are in the building, you will find that while the north end of the building is nice and cool and the south end of the building is quite pleasant, the middle of the building, the oldest section as it turns out, is just plain hot. The air handling system in the middle section of the building has worn out and we are replacing all the fans. Some people have asked, “why didn’t we do this work in the winter?” That is a fair question, but the fact is that people, computers, and library materials can deal with some heat and some cold, but if we turned off the system in the winter there is a risk of freezing pipes, and that is too big of a risk for any library. The good news is that there are plenty of seats and study tables in the cool parts of the building during the summer.
Finally, you may have seen the construction in the reading room on level 2. The changes to the reading room are part of a long term plan to improve service to our patrons. This summer, there will be some changes to the area in the south end of the room. New furniture will finally be installed along with new shelving. We think it will make a space that is already popular into one of the favorite destinations on campus. Don’t worry; it will still be a quiet study area.