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Reflections: Fant FaculTEAs III - Library Collections & Services

by Hillary Richardson on 2018-07-09T14:37:00-05:00 in Theatre, Science & Mathematics, Psychology & Family Science, Music, Languages, Literature, & Philosophy, History, Political Science, & Geography, Culinary Arts, Art & Design | Comments

Our FaculTEAs inevitably found their way into a familiar territory in libraries—talking about books. Most faculty were interested in new tech and top tier journals in their field, but many people also just wanted to know how to get the books they needed, and a select few expressed a deep need—a giddiness, perhaps—to browse the shelves and commune with physical volumes.



We heard from many departments about options for reserving texts and ordering books. Following our meetings with Psychology & Family Studies and Science & Math, they made additions to our eBook collection by ordering editions of classroom e-texts with unlimited users, so many students could check items out at once. Music and HPG also made sure that with the addition of Athena, we weren’t abandoning the browse-able print collection. We reassured them that all items recently ordered circulate into the Stacks upstairs and are searchable on the online catalog. At the end of the spring semester, we ordered 927 books requested by faculty, staff, and students, which will initially be shelved in our New Releases area.

A number of departments also expressed interest in making more use of the Beulah Culbertson Archives and Special Collections. History, Political Science, and Geography has designed assignments around various archival collections for student research projects. Both HPG and Art & Design have requested course-specific Libguides for primary source research projects, and have used the reading room itself for holding class sessions focusing on this research. Theatre, LLP, and surprisingly, Culinary Arts expressed an interest in the (newly available) rare book library, including its 19th and early 20th century popular magazine holdings, and the image collection, much of which is digitized through the Mississippi Digital Library, particularly for coursework on costume design and women’s literature.


Regardless of discipline, online supplements to coursework was a common thread in every conversation. A different version of “I want my students to be able to find better sources” was the refrain at each FaculTEA. Since a good portion of classes are either taught online or managed in Canvas, we decided on a two-fold approach to meeting this need. For general linking to library resources and services, we created a library page in Canvas Commons that anyone can import into their course for a quick library link. Additionally, for subject- and course-level assistance on assignments and topic research, we are creating LibGuides, or online research guides, that combine library help with course resources. Currently, we are working to create subject guides for each department as a general resource, and we are able to customize any page for any person interested.

Even while departments on campus have wildly different goals and agendas when it came to using the library, we realized there are tools and services are flexible enough to meet these disparate needs. These FaculTEAs made this clear. Not only did we realize again how important it is to listen to and synthesize the needs of all of these different departments, but we discovered how much that seemingly different departments and colleges had in common with each other. We plan to continue to stay in conversation with the faculty across campus and host more events like these to leverage these conversations in creating an information and technology-rich teaching and learning environment for MUW.


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