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The Graduate and Professional School Libraries

Gutman Library

Report of John W. Collins III, Librarian

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During the 2005–2006 academic year, Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Librarian John Collins served as the acting director of Student Affairs. In addition to his regular library responsibilities, the work in Student Affairs brought him in close contact with every student organization and event, and afforded the opportunity to work with colleagues in Student Affairs, Admissions, Registration, Financial Aid, Career Services, and Academic Affairs. This experience had the effect of integrating the library into the everyday aspects of student life, and, in addition, of directly exposing the library to important issues faced by students at all stages of their academic programs. It was an experience that has already resulted in new and expanded library programs supporting students and the creation of increased opportunities for students to engage with librarians in a variety of new ways.

FY 2006 also saw completion of a long-overdue renovation of the second-floor stack and study areas of the Gutman Library. Working with the architectural design team of Chang and Sylligardos, student focus groups, and staff committees, the second floor was transformed. Multiple varieties of new furniture, a new color scheme, flooring, enhanced wireless installation, lighting, and art were installed. Upon its opening, use of the area increased dramatically, exceeding our expectations.

On the first floor, the Reading Area continues to be a popular exhibit space for artwork and school-wide events. The works of Harvard affiliates, area schools, and local artists are on display year-round. The Gutman Library was privileged this year to be the recipient of funds that will enable us to establish a small endowment in support of art exhibitions, particularly those focused on art in schools. As a result, the library will host an exhibit by students of the Codman Academy in Dorchester and, along with their parents and teachers, will be treated to a reception in their honor.

In the summer of 2005, the library designed and implemented a new departmental organizational plan that organized the library staff into two teams. The Access Services Team, led by Marcella Flaherty, consists of Circulation, Technical Services, Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery, Reserves, and Stack Maintenance. Forming the Research Services Team are Research and Instruction, Collection Development, Special Collections, and Writing Services. The Research Services Team is led by Deborah Garson. This departmental reorganization was instituted to facilitate communication and decision-making within the library, especially around issues of services, access to materials, and staffing needs.

Access Services Team

The purpose of combining the Circulation and Technical Services departments into one team was to improve service to our users and create a smooth transition of materials from the point they are ordered, received, and cataloged, through end-processing, to the stacks and eventual circulation. This reorganization provided an opportunity for an ongoing comprehensive review of workflow, policies, and procedures, and identified immediate concerns and long-range projects. Initial projects completed include:

  • reorganizing the book conservation area;
  • prioritizing cataloging projects; and
  • documenting procedures for a variety of tasks.

One major effort was the Media Conversion Project, which involved updating records for over 500 video and DVD titles to create item and library holding records. Some long-range plans identified were:

  • setting policies and procedures for cataloging and registering electronic resources;
  • streamlining dissertation processing;
  • planning for the Harvard–Google Project; and
  • updating department training and manuals.

Several position vacancies allowed for a review of staffing needs and hiring options for the Access Services Team. Major cataloging responsibilities were consolidated into a new position of cataloging services librarian, filled by Karen Carlson Young. Options for additional cataloging help were explored. Matthew Olen Martinez Thompson was hired as weekend supervisor and Gwido Zlatkes as reserves and access services librarian.

The resignation of our conservator, Mary McMillen, presented a challenge and created a backlog of core library and special collections materials in need of repair. Two members of the Technical Services staff, Simon Demosthene and Kevin Kavanagh, expressed an interest in book repair, and both attended classes at the North Bennet Street School. Together they are able to handle basic and some advanced book repair and they are exploring advanced courses. Their ability to handle much of our immediate book repair issues and move the backlog along allows for time to investigate a permanent solution for our conservation needs.

Joanne Melanson resigned her position as manager of administrative services, to assume a senior position in Radcliffe’s Operations department. Netta Davis was hired to fill this position.

Research Services Team

The year was a busy, productive, and challenging one for the Research Services Team. The Research and Instruction department continued to develop its goals—providing access to high-quality education information, ensuring library spaces and technologies to facilitate campus intellectual and community life, and being a vital leader among education libraries. Key elements to the department’s central role at HGSE are our commitment to collaboration—across library departments, academic and administrative units, and student organizations; our focus on user needs; and our continued goal to develop staff and provide them with the resources, education, and tools needed to achieve a continuing high level of service.

Highlights of these partnerships include working with Office of Student Affairs staff for events such as Fall 2005 orientation, International Students Orientation, the Spring Welcome Back event, the 2006 Student Research Conference, and the Alumni of Color Conference; planning and implementing information sessions and hands-on workshops for students; and collaborating with various HGSE units such as the Fellowship Office, the Office of Career Services, and the Learning Technologies Center. Examples of these collaborations are the “Get A Grip” orientation for incoming doctoral students, qualitative and quantitative research training sessions for faculty and students, library services refresher sessions for HGSE staff (particularly academic program coordinators and faculty assistants), a welcome orientation for newly admitted doctoral students, HGSE Teaching Fellows Professional Development orientation, and library orientations for new faculty.

The Research Services Team supports HGSE through its role and services, which include, but are not limited to:

  • participation in the implementation and enhancement of the HGSE and Gutman Library intranet pages;
  • a redesign of the library’s web page for the new HGSE web site;
  • the staffing, administration, and supervision of Research and Writing Services;
  • providing distance services to our doctoral students and our faculty on leave, as well as offering off-site database access to HGSE alumni/ae;
  • full participation in HGSE’s new “Useable Knowledge” portal highlighting faculty research); and
  • active involvement in the development of a social-tagging project for doctoral students known as “EdTags.”

Additionally, Research Services librarians provide training to Cambridge College students both on site and at a Cambridge College satellite campus, APA citation workshops for the HGSE community, basic and advanced EndNote training, training for RefWorks, and active contributions and support for HGSE Presidential Information Technology Fellows.

HGSE Writing and Research Services continues to support HGSE students through the academic process from research to writing. In addition to one-on-one sessions for master’s and doctoral students, we developed an online writing tutorial module to support academic writing. One unit of the module was tested with incoming international students in the summer of 2005. Writing Services is closely connected with other offerings, including dissertation and research consultations, as well as electronic resource-specific sessions.

In the area of collection development, we continued the ongoing collaboration with other Harvard librarians through the acquisition of shared electronic resources as well as regular communication regarding collection matters, other accessions, and/or gift materials. This year, for example, a large gift to the Gutman Library of Slavic studies materials was relocated at the appropriate Harvard library.

The second Annual Jeanne S. Chall Lecture and Award Presentation took place on March 7, 2006, at Gutman Library. The overall event, the lecture itself, and the award are all supported by the Jeanne S. Chall Endowment, which was established through the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation challenge grant and by Dr. Chall’s many admirers, colleagues, and former students. Chall, a former HGSE professor, made immense contributions to the field of reading research and instruction that have had a lasting impact on generations of teachers and students in school and university settings. Andrew Biemiller, professor emeritus of education at the University of Toronto, delivered the Jeanne S. Chall Lecture, which was entitled “Words Worth Teaching and Where They Came From.” The recipient of the HGSE student research award was Margaret Pierce.

Planning and discussion pertaining to two digitization projects at Gutman Library took place this year. We held a number of meetings to plan for the Harvard–Google Project to digitize all public-domain books and periodicals in our core collection and a large portion of the books in Special Collections. In addition, plans are under way for Gutman’s contribution to the Open Collections Program, Immigration to the United States, 1789–1930.

The extensive use of Gutman’s special collections by HGSE, Harvard, and the greater scholarly community, nationally and internationally, prompted a review of our need to fill an open position for a special collections librarian. A search was launched for this position, and Edward Copenhagen was hired as a full-time special collections librarian.

Other Library Highlights

The Library continues to seek ways to partner with other areas of the School of Education. We worked closely with the Registrar’s Office on matters pertaining to course pack production and copyright issues. We have established regular meetings attended by library and the Learning Technology Center (LTC) staff on matters of mutual technology and computing concerns. The library and LTC worked together planning for the conversion to the new Reserve Tool.

Finally, the HGSE Library staff continued to play a major role in campus life at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Serving the Gutman Library, HGSE, Harvard, the profession of librarianship, and scholarship in general, the staff contributed in immeasurable ways to the teaching, learning, and research at HGSE and beyond, through their dedication, professionalism, and commitment to providing the best information services possible to our wide constituencies.