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STL Special Library Spotlight: Technology in Special Libraries June 30, 2009

Posted by Cynthia in Library Stuff.
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At the beginning of our Special Libraries class our instructor informed us that Special Libraries were more than likely to be the most cutting edge. After a few weeks of visiting various special libraries, I find that this couldn’t be more true.

Almost all the libraries we have visited have found ways to creatively utilize technology to best serve their parent organization or the library’s community. Whether it was the HOK Library using blogs and networking applications to help their members communicate, the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Library ordering electronic versions of curriculum to save students money, or the Covenant Seminary Library loaning out free USB flash drives to their patrons I have been very impressed by the use of technology to help improve the services they offer.

As someone who is interested in applying library philosophy to new technologies, Special Libraries are very interesting.

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STL Special Library Spotlight: Covenant Seminary Library June 28, 2009

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We recently visited the library at Covenant Seminary. I was completely astounded by the user-friendly aspects of this library. The Library Director seemed very concerned with meeting the needs of all the library’s patrons. Seminary students make up the majority of those patrons, but the library is still open to the public. To that end, none of the research computers had user log-in screens, and are therefore easily open to anyone wishing to use them.

Another particularly user-friendly innovation is the move to more electronic and social network teaching tools. There is an ipod-led audio tour of the library, tailored specifically towards students who need to learn about the different resources, spaces, and collections. This is an incredibly helpful tool, and takes a heavy burden off library staff. Also helpful is the library’s embrace of social network technology. Their Facebook page is easily located (just type in Covenant Seminary in the search), and although it has just started in May, it already has 447 fans. It’s an excellent way to get the word out easily to patrons about new collections, new databases, and new classes.

I continue to be impressed by the efforts of Covenant Seminary Library, and I hope that other libraries, academic and otherwise, will follow their lead in becoming more and more patron-friendly. GN

STL Special Library Spotlight: St. Louis College of Pharmacy June 28, 2009

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The St. Louis College of Pharmacy library is located on campus in the CWE and serves the students, faculty, and staff. The total number of students is ~ 1000 and they are recruited from high school for the 6 year program. I would imagine the small number of students and length of time they are there, allows the staff to really get to know their students.

Because this program also includes their undergraduate courses (for the first 2 years), the collection houses resources for both general undergraduate courses and the more specific pharmacology courses. Many students live on campus and use the library extensively to study and for social interaction. There are also many interesting pharmacy-related items displayed throughout the library.
Take a tour if you can!

HAK

STL Special Library Spotlight: Mercantile Library June 28, 2009

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This was a fabulous library and presentation! Located in the Thomas Jefferson Library on the UM-St. Louis campus. This special library is a combination of a library and a museum. The Mercantile also houses the Barriger Railroad and Pott Waterways libraries. The collection concentrates on Western Expansion and the rail and river industries. Since its relocation to the UMSL campus in 1998, it is now free and open to the public. Patrons have access to 210,000 books in addition to 10 million clippings of the St. Louis Globe Democrat, 700 glass plate negatives, and 225,000 photos, rare books and art collections. The library itself has so many interesting exhibits, historical pieces, and art work. Collection Highlight: 435 signed plates of John Audubon’s, Birds of America.

HAK

STL Special Library Spotlight June 27, 2009

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The recent visit to the Covenant Seminary Library left me with a genuine interest in the types of services a library can offer to meet the diverse needs of the user community. The Covenant Seminary Library offers the needed and expected information services to the students of the seminary but they go beyond this and offer such diverse services as flash drives and lockers (of two different sizes). Policies need to be codified for this to happen, such as the ability to check the locker for any foul odors or perhaps for any type of hidden contraband when warranted. The broader services, beyond information services, offered on an as needed basis for every institution is something to be considered and investigated. Something like lockers may be needed for a commuter campus but a residential campus may not need them. Lockers in a public library may be something to avoid altogether.
JHM

STL Special Library Spotlight: Covenant Seminary Library June 26, 2009

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On Wednesday June 24th the Special Libraries class went to visit the Covenant Seminary Library. While I was struck by a number of outstanding features of this library, the first thing that I noticed was how beautiful the library itself was. Various reading rooms, study nooks, and picturesque lounges makes for an inviting and clearly much loved library. Donated works of art lining the halls that the patrons passed through had stories to tell as well. As we toured the library it became clear to me that the librarians there had outdone themselves in developing their space to appeal to a wide variety of study and reading habits in the students and faculty. In addition to the physical beauty of the library the collection boasts of some unique and beautiful monographs and sermons dating from the early 16th century, and an extensive archive of Presbyterian documents and histories. In all, I found the staff of the library to be very impressive, passionate, and a thrill to talk with and I would definitely recommend a trip to visit them!

CJS

STL Special Library Spotlight: Covenant Seminary Library June 24, 2009

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Our special library visited the very interesting (and friendly) Covenant Seminary Library tonight. I was especially taken with the rare book collection. 75% of the collection comes from the private donations of an Englishman with the last name of Tait. Among the monographs collected are a physics book by Aristotle called “Aristotelis Stagiritae De Physico Auditu Libri Octo,” the oldest book in the collection, published in 1540, and a Ukrainian Bible from 1936, written in the Ruthenian dialect, when the Ukrainian language was being suppressed by the Soviet occupiers of the Ukraine. The rare book room also contains a collection of Puritan sermons and some literature from the Missouri offshoot of the Church of Latter Day Saints, some of which can be found nowhere else (at least accessible by the public). Many thanks to the engaging and committed staff of the Covenant Seminary Library for an extremely interesting tour.

HOK Library June 23, 2009

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Wow! The technological advancements that have been made at this library by the solo librarian is impressive. The mutual respect and collaborative relationship found between the librarian and the IT department is commendable. What I found most informative was the spreadsheet designed to list all of the research questions handled per month. Also, the outreach being conducted through email alerts is inventive and I hope to incorporate this idea in my job. It was also good to know that solo librarians have a network within SLA.

Special Library Spotlight: Logan College Of Chiropractic LRC, St. Louis College of Pharmacy Library, and Goldfarb School of Nursing Library June 22, 2009

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On the visits to the two health services (academic) libraries, Logan, and Saint Louis College of Pharmacy, and the visit from the Goldfarb School of Nursing librarian, I began to consider the special challenges faced by libraries and librarians in serving one very targeted subject area in an academic environment without the ability of other departments or colleges to begin to support the work and collection of the library. I can see how consortial membership can become very important as well as networking and pooling of resources other ways can be crucial to the work in such small libraries. I can also see the advantage of knowing the user needs very well in such small academic environments.

STL Special Library Spotlight: Logan College of Chiropractic Learning Resources Center June 19, 2009

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Logan College of Chiropractic Learning Resources Center is located in Chesterfield, Mo. The Learning Resource Center serves the 1,000 student population of the college. The LRC will also assist law offices, doctors, patients, and community residents. Depending on they situation, they will charge for literature searches, copy service, reference, and loaning of materials. The LRC has 13,000 books and 240 journal subscriptions (print and electronic). Some of the more unique collections include 500 bones and models, a pamphlet file, the college’s senior research papers (in print and electronic format), and the college’s archive. The LRC went through a 4.2 million dollar renovation in 2004, at which time, the computer lab merged with it. The LRC contains 75 computers, most of which are located in the main area as you enter the LRC. I enjoyed visiting the nice looking campus and Learning Resource Center.