Emerging Technology Planning

Branchview Tech Campus – Library Plus Program

Introduction

This project was inspired by the Michael Casey discussion over a new customer service initiative at the Gwinnett Public Library. The library is utilizing the Open + software from Bibliotheca to increase library access to the community during non-staffed library times. Michael Casey discussed how the Gwinnett community is a commuter community and the Open+ program increased access to the library for those who could not make it in during traditional open hours.

“We’re very much of a commuter community. So some people don’t get home until you know seven or eight o’clock when the library is closing and I can’t get out to get their holds until after that” (INFO 287 The hyperlinked library, 2019).

I immediately thought of the Branchview Tech students who are working all day and cannot make it to the campus library before it closes at 8pm. Would the Open+ model work in an academic setting to meet the needs of these students who could benefit from access to campus library services? I argue yes, and it would do so without increasing the needs of additional staff. 

Description of Community you wish to engage:

Branchview Tech College has a significant non-traditional student population. Non-traditional students generally fall into a few categories: over the age of 24, parents, or working full time. These students are often taking classes in the evening or online to meet their schedule demands. Non-traditional students are not able to engage with campus services during normal working hours due to their work and family schedules. 

“The lives of many of these students will not be campus-centered. They will already have multiple commitments to work, to home and families, plus their education” (Fox, 2001, p.122) 

With multiple constraints on their time and attention, non-traditional students can struggle with succeeding in the classroom. When technology and internet access is a barrier at home, this struggle is exacerbated. 

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

“In a survey of library use patterns, Ann Curry (2003) found that 20% of her respondents noted that late-night hours are the only time that they had to visit the library (p. 381). Many nontraditional students’ time is limited due to their commute to campus and other commitments such as employment and family” (Sewell, 2013, p. 16)

The goal of the Library Plus program is to serve the needs of non-traditional students at Branchview Tech while also expanding service offerings for traditional students as well. The on-campus library provides computers, access to WiFi, student printing, and a quiet place to study and focus. The library is currently open from 8am- 8pm Monday-Thursday, 8am-5pm on Fridays, 8:30am-noon on Saturdays, and is not open at all on Sundays. The library Plus program will expand library hours to 7am-midnight Sunday – Thursday and 7am-9pm on Friday and Saturday. The Library Plus program aims to support the academic success of Branchview Tech students by providing extended access to library services outside of staffed operating hours to accommodate the busy schedules of our non-traditional students.

Action Statement

Convince busy, working students and administration that by utilizing self-service extended library hours students will have access to computers, WiFi, and quiet study space during times that fit with their schedule which will help them complete their coursework and reduce technology barriers to improve academic success and retention because the Branchview Tech library recognizes that all not all students have access to technology at home and no matter their home/work schedules, deserve access to free, on-campus resources that will support their academic achievement.

“The library also holds a close kinship with students and their academic success. Providing access to the building and its physical and online resources is a core component of the library’s mission. Reducing access to Belk Library runs counter to that mission” (Johnson and Mccallister, 2015, p. 85).  

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service: 

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service: 

There will need to be many stakeholders involved with setting policies for an extended hours campus library service. The dean over the library, the library director, the campus dean, and the head of security will work together to create the building procedures, space use policies, and safety guidelines for the after-hours access. These policies will be modeled after our parent institution that has a 24-hour library lab on the main campus (WSU Ablah Library). Additional policies will be modeled after public libraries that allow access during unstaffed time.

Safety guidelines will include: video monitoring during unstaffed hours, access to a campus phone to call security, policies concerning children in the library

Building procedures will include: limiting access to library spaces to Branchview Tech students by utilizing ID card access points

Library policies will include: acceptable use, technology access

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

Funding for the technology to install proxy card access to the library doors as well as remote access security cameras will be the largest upfront investment. Fortunately, the Branchview Tech campus already has contracts with companies and is utilizing the technology at other campuses. This will reduce the time it takes to negotiate new contracts and vendor selection. Utilizing established vendors will also allow the library to take advantage of contract discounts. The South campus location where the extended hours service is proposed is introducing a prox card security system in the Spring 2020 semester. The library could request to be included in this rollout to reduce project costs as the prox card project is funded by the campus general fund. The library would then only be responsible for the installation of security cameras and a campus security phone/emergency button.  

The library will be applying for a technology grant through the Mid Continent Library System to cover the costs of the security cameras. This grant would cover the initial purchase and installation of the technology needed for this new service. Upkeep costs would be covered by the library general grant fund for the first year and institutionalized into the budget after the first pilot year of the project if given approval by the dean over library services. 

Action Steps & Timeline: 

Fall 2019 Approvals

  1. To begin the project, initial approvals from the Dean over library services, South campus Dean, and the head of security would need to be obtained. 
  2. Upon step 1 approvals, the proposal to include the library in the prox card system campus installation would need to be taken to the Vice President of finance for approval of two additional prox card systems.
    1. If the approval from the VP of finance is not obtained, additional funding would need to be secured through grants to pay for the library prox card units. 

Spring 2020

  1. If all these approvals were granted, the prox card system would be installed at the south campus in March of 2020.
  2. During early Spring, all policies would be drafted and submitted for approval by April. 
  3. The library director would apply in the spring funding round for the matching technology grant funding through the Mid Continent Library System. This grant opens late January 2020 and would be awarded by April. The grant funds would be used to cover the security camera installation.
    1. If the grant is not awarded, there are enough funds in the library general grant account to cover the security installation
  4. The security system would be installed in April with extended hours beginning in May.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

The Library Plus hours expansion will not require extra staff and will expand library hours through a card entry self-service model. 

Training for this new service will be for students who would like to use the library during expanded hours. The Branchview Tech campus library will require students enroll for the Library Plus program and attend a short orientation to receive their prox card. Many libraries have utilized the orientation onboarding model to reduce concern with inappropriate use during unstaffed times (Bibliotheca). This will be the largest amount of staff time and could be handled by producing an online orientation series in the future.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

Marketing will be important for the success of this program. Information about the additional library service will be included in all new student orientation programs, all library orientation classrooms, and through the student communication app utilized at the college. The library will also need to communicate the expanded self-service hours to the faculty and advising department in order to help staff get the information to the students who might benefit from the expanded library hours the most. 

“The research discovered the library was a haven required by a dedicated group of students who greatly needed a late-night place to work in. At the Bizzell Memorial Library at the University of Oklahoma, Engel et al. (2002) conducted a questionnaire about library opening hours and found that 70.3% of the respondents typically used the library between 10:00p.m. and 12:00 midnight, which surprisingly was the highest typical usage” (Yip, Chiu, Cho, and Lo, 2019, p. 172)

Evaluation:

Expanded hours usage will be collected throughout the program. The card entry system will also provide details into who is using the space and when so the library can develop targeted marketing for specific student populations. There will be periodic surveying of the Library Plus program users to determine common issues the student run into while using the library without staff (printer or technology issues may be common). By evaluating common issues and determining satisfaction with the expanded hours, the library staff can create interventions or expansions to the service model. For example, librarians could look into creating a “virtual librarian” with pre-recorded responses for common tech troubleshooting issues. The evaluation stage is extremely important in order to justify the continuation of the Library Plus program as well as establish additional services to meet the needs of the Library Plus program users.

“The participatory library is open and transparent, and it communicates with its community through many mechanisms. The participatory library engages and queries its entire community and seeks to integrate them into the structure of change. The community should be involved in the brainstorming for new ideas and services, they should play a role in planning for those services, and they should definitely be involved in the evaluation and review process” (Tame the web, October 2011). 

By engaging with the students who are using the program, the librarians can create new student-centered services that will benefit all students.

References

Bibliotheca. (n.d.) Ventura Public Library. Retrieved from: https://www.bibliotheca.com/ventura-public-library/

Fox, A. (2001). The After-five syndrome: Library hours and services for the adult learner. The Reference Librarian, 33(69-70), 119-126.

INFO 287 The Hyperlinked Library. (2019). Michael Casey recording. Retrieved from: https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/blog/michael-casey-recording/

Johnson, K., & Mccallister, K. (2015). Assessing the 24/5 library: A Case study in data and perspectives. Journal of Access Services, 12(3-4), 75-90.

Tame the web. (October 20, 2011) Revisting participatory service in trying times. Retrieved from: https://tametheweb.com/2011/10/20/revisiting-participatory-service-in-trying-times-a-ttw-guest-post-by-michael-casey/

WSU Ablah Library. (n.d). 24-hour Study Room. Retrieved from: https://libraries.wichita.edu/c.php?g=748625&p=5360872

Yip, T., Chiu, D., Cho, A., & Lo, P. (2019). Behavior and informal learning at night in a 24-hour space: A case study of the Hong Kong Design Institute Library. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 51(1), 171-179.

Leave a Reply