Council examines Berry space

by Megan Spillane | 11/7/03 6:00am

The Council on Libraries met Wednesday to discuss several issues concerning both the design of physical spaces within Baker Berry and the digital course reserves.

The Council, which is comprised of members of the administration, faculty and the student body, looks into many of the long term issues confronting the library and is largely responsible for the direction that the entire library system takes. According to Susan Fliss, Head of Research and Informative Learning, one of those long term goals is "redesigning the physical space."

"Libraries are not just holding books anymore," Fliss said. While there currently are study spaces for almost any situation in Baker Berry, the council will be taking on space improvement projects.

Among the planned improvement projects is the creation of the D CAL -- the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning. D CAL will be located in the reference area of Berry. According to Fliss, the D CAL will be a place for librarians, faculty and students to convene and learn about everything from what type of material is of academic quality to how to establish Web course components.

"We are looking to create an area where we can meet and work with different constituents," Fliss said. Cayelan Carey '06, a member of the Council, noted that similar spaces exist at many research libraries. Fliss also expressed a desire to "improve the focus of teaching here at the library" and to establish "a center to support teaching and learning across disciplines."

A second project the Council is taking on is the creation of the Calendar Reading Room on Berry's third floor. Michael Beahan, the director of Jones Media Center, will also be looking to create more group production spaces and more individual study spaces in Jones.

Fliss noted the immediate benefits that have been reaped from the recent establishment of the 1902 room as a 24-hour study space. She is optimistic the projects discussed at the council meeting will provide similar benefits.

Jennifer Taxman, the Head of Access Services for the library, addressed the Council on the topic of improving electronic course reserves and on related copyright laws. Taxman stressed the ability of electronic resources to expand what can be offered.Over the summer, eight courses uploaded reserve readings onto Blackboard, an online teaching resource. This fall, 37 courses have reserve readings on Blackboard.

Links to text chapters, articles, and databases can all be set up easily -- provided that the material is either digitally licensed by the library or that proper copyright measures have been taken. A workshop on academic computing will be held on Nov. 19 and copyright issues will be addressed.

Digital course reserves should eliminate the chronic problem that many students face in dealing with time limits and late fees. "The advantage," Taxman said, "is that students can get to these materials from their room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."