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New Service Model for the Veterinary Medicine Library Final Report

New Service Model for the Veterinary Medicine Library Final Report

College of Veterinary Medicine Library Committee[1]

Submitted November 8, 2016, revised November 18, 2016



            The impending renovation of the Veterinary Medicine Library space will provide an opportunity for both the college and library to better align with their respective goals and strategic plans.  From a library perspective, it is an opportunity to shift energy and resources towards providing more and better services and away from managing physical space.  Research practices have shifted, while at the same time it has become more efficient and cost-effective to manage campus library collections centrally, making it prudent for the Veterinary Medicine Library to move from a “just in case” model to a “just in time” model supported by the rapid delivery of materials directly to students and scholars.  To this end, the College of Veterinary Medicine Library Committee was charged to collaborate with representatives from the University Library (JoAnn Jacoby, Associate University Librarian for User Services; Jeff Schrader, Assistant Dean of Libraries for Facilities; and Sarah Williams, Interim Head, Funk ACES Library) in developing a new service model for the library.

Trends in Library and Collection Usage

The field of veterinary medicine relies heavily upon the journal literature both for practice and for teaching.  Over the past fifteen years, the veterinary journal literature has shifted from print-based to primarily electronic access. Although many publishers have been reluctant to make their veterinary textbooks available to libraries in electronic format, the veterinary textbook market is slowly following suit.  All of these factors have impacted the collections budget; yet the funds have been well managed over this time, meaning the Veterinary Medicine Library is well positioned to continue providing these critical resources to the college, campus, and state.



The shift from print to electronic has dramatically improved access to the veterinary journal literature, and to some extent the textbooks.  Consequently, it has changed the way in which the Veterinary Medicine Library and its collection are used.  Circulation statistics for the print collection have declined steadily over the past ten years.  Most patrons who use the print collection search for materials online and request them for pick-up or delivery; very few browse the collection.  It is important to note that use of the collection as a whole has not diminished; rather access has evolved to allow students and scholars to use materials from their own desktop, wherever that may be.

As circulation numbers have declined, so have gate count numbers.  Even so, the library continues to be used for individual and group study, particularly during exam periods.  The college and the library have recognized the continued need for study space.  During the renovation process, the study space will be separated from the library, allowing each to function independently.

Accessing the University Library and Collections

As the University Library has consolidated spaces and shifted collections, it has continued to provide timely access to both.  Faculty, staff, and graduate students who have a campus mailbox may have library materials delivered to them via Campus Mail.  Additionally, the Doc Express Service may be used to obtain copies of print journal articles, print book chapters, and microfilm/microfiche located in campus libraries.  Interlibrary loan may be used to obtain materials not found in any campus library.  The University Library provides all of these services at no additional cost to the patron.

New Service Model for the Veterinary Medicine Library

Collection:  Based upon 3-year usage data, a collection size of approximately 1,900 titles will keep the highest use items in the Veterinary Medicine Library, including course reserves.  This number can be adjusted over time as more textbooks become available electronically and in response to usage statistics.  The remainder of the items (approximately 2,000 volumes) will be transferred to the Oak Street Storage Facility.  A self-service system will be implemented whereby patrons check out materials to themselves using dedicated in-library technology (such as an iPad) or by downloading a smartphone app.  This system will allow materials to circulate outside of the Veterinary Medicine Library while minimizing staffing needs.


Services:  The librarian will continue to provide reference, instruction, and collection management and development services to the college, campus, and community.  By minimizing the physical library space and print collection, the librarian can shift more focus to teaching critical information literacy skills to students and scholars.  The librarian will maintain regular office hours in order to assist patrons and will also be available by appointment.  The library space will be available to the college at all times via card swipe access and open to the campus and public during established business hours.

Space:  The proposed collection will be housed in 1257, where the circulation desk and course reserves currently reside.  The librarian’s office will remain in its current location of 1257A.  A card reader and security camera will be installed at the main entrance, provided and managed by the college.

Staffing:  1.0 FTE – Veterinary Medicine & Life Sciences Librarian.  As of December 2016, all permanent civil service staff will be transferred to other units in the University Library.  Part-time student assistant support will be coordinated with and provided by the Funk ACES Library for tasks such as processing call slips and re-shelving materials.

Technology:  A public computer terminal, color printer, and scanner will remain in the library space and be managed by University Library IT.  The self-checkout system will be purchased by the University Library and maintained by Library IT.

[1] Erin Kerby, Chair; Jon Foreman, Michael Biehl,  Megan Mahoney,  Marilyn O'Hara, Ruiz‎; Rebecca Smith, Edgar Garrett, Kenneth Welle, Eleanor Meisner, Lauren Novak, Lauren, Chelsea Bohner.