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Biology and Life Sciences Implementation Team 1



Biology and Life Sciences Implementation Team

Final Report

July 2010



Table of Contents

Vision                                                                                                  page 2

Background                                                                                         page 2

Guiding Principles                                                                               page 3

Recommendations                                                                              page 4

Assessment Plan                                                                                 page 10

Implementation Team Members                                                       page 11

Appendix 1.  Implementation Team Charge                                      page 12

Appendix 2.  Biology Services Planning Grid                                      page 14

Appendix 3. Tabular Chart of Recommendations                              page 16








Biology and Life Sciences Team Report and Recommendations

June 30, 2010


The focal point for Library services for the biology and the life sciences will shift to the Funk Library with the biology librarian also having an active presence within the user communities including office hours in Burrill Hall.  Funk is evolving into the primary service point supporting the information needs of the students and researchers across the biological and life sciences including those departments traditionally served by the Life Sciences Division (Colleges of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, the Schools of Integrative Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology) and will also work with colleagues elsewhere in the Library to meet the needs of the emerging areas of translational biology, bioinformatics, bioengineering, and health.  The life science librarians expect to play leading roles in assisting researchers to preserve and enhance access to their publications and data through e-science initiatives and IDEALS.





In August 2009 a Biology and Life Sciences Planning Team was formed to begin to address the Spring 2009 recommendation to close the Biology Library in Burrill Hall and "integrate some or all of its service program into the Funk Library while pursuing opportunities for possible alignment of appropriate Biology Library services with [other related libraries]."  The Planning Team, consisting of library faculty and staff and representatives from the School of Integrative Biology (IB) and the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), met twice a month from September 2009 to January 2010.  The team conducted a survey that targeted life sciences faculty, students and staff across campus to help determine how the library was currently used and what potential services were most desired in a future iteration of biology services.   Both the survey and existing statistical data indicated that physical usage of the library was waning, except in its role as a study space.  Survey responses made it "clear that the library's role on campus is fundamentally changing."  Two specific recommendations resulted from the Planning Team's work.  They include: 1) the development of a team to explore training needs and opportunities identified and 2) downsize and repurpose the existing Biology Library to meet the increasing demands for new services and resources in the life sciences through partnerships with IB and MCB. 


The Biology and Life Sciences Implementation Team was charged in March 2010 to move forward with the recommendations of the Planning Team, including the plan to close the Biology Library as currently constituted and further developing specialized library services to support research, teaching and learning in the biological sciences. (See Appendix 1)  The team was specifically charged with 1) consulting and collaborating with constituents to develop a services profile, 2) developing timelines and schedules for implementation, and 3) recommending a plan for assessing the effectiveness of the new configurations and services.   The team met face-to-face five times and divided into smaller working groups that focused on collections, space, and services.  The team submitted its final report on July 14, 2010.



Guiding Principles

There were numerous resources that informed the Implementation Team as it began its work; these include the extensive work completed by the Planning Team, the Biology Library User Survey, and numerous Library statistical reports.  The Implementation Team is grateful to the Planning Team for the work it completed that allowed this team to move forward with plans for closing the Biology Library in an expeditious manner. The team sought to create a plan that would cause the least disruption to Biology Library patrons, examined collections with an eye toward the future, and envisioned new services that would enhance research experiences in the life sciences.

The team kept in mind the "Key Assumptions and Principles for Planning" from the 2009 New Service Models Report and strove to complete the implementation plan on a timely basis.  As the charge focused largely on three principal areas - space, collections, and services - the team divided into working groups to establish recommendations for each of these areas.  The working groups consisted of the following:










 The team's charge asked for the development of timelines and schedules for specific steps needed to vacate the current Biology Library space.  Initial discussion and recommendations for the Biology Library space were addressed by the Space Working Group. 

The Schools of Integrative Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology shared independent proposals for use of the space and areas of mutual agreement were identified.  Using the areas of agreement as a foundation, a preliminary joint proposal was created identifying collaborative use of the space.  The two schools recommend to the Provost's office that the space be reassigned to the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Office of the Dean for allocation to the two schools (SIB and SMCB) with a primary focus of space utilization for undergraduate educational needs.


The group also discussed the need for a continued Library presence within Burrill Hall.  Discussion focused on what space allocation would be necessary to meet the anticipated service needs.  The group recommends allocation of an office (100 -150 nsf) for use by the Library.


Preliminary discussions regarding possible reconfiguration of the space, if reassigned to the College, focused on the best use of space to meet the needs of both schools with respect to undergraduate educational initiatives, but it was determined that before any specific designs were created, consultation with an architect/engineer must occur to determine the feasibility of any plan.  The schools offered joint general recommendations for potential use of the various areas of the vacated space.  Likewise, the working group identified additional recommendations for submission to the Biology and Life Sciences Implementation Team for inclusion in the final report to campus.

The team recommends the following:

o   Office of the Provost

o   Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Ruth Watkins)

o   Director of School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (Steve Sligar)

o   Director of the School of Integrative Biology (Evan Delucia)

1.  Centralize Student Instruction and Advisement Services. 
2.  Expand Capacity to Accommodate Student Demand. 
3.  Modernize Instructional Space to Meet Current Instructional Models.


Reassignment of the vacated space to the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences for the purposes stated above meets not only school and college needs, but serves campus by maximizing the use of existing space to meet the increasing demands and needs of our undergraduate students.  We believe these recommendations serve as a model for others if/when additional space is vacated and reassigned.

The existing plaque in the Biology Library Reading Room noting the "Lyle E. and Lois R. Bamber Reading Room" will be removed and relocated into space dedicated for use of the Biology Librarian, an arrangement which the Library Advancement Office has indicated is in keeping with the intentions of the gift agreement. 




Recommendations for the Biology Library collection appear below.  It should be noted that some subject areas or document types may be evaluated separately and differently by the Biology and Funk Libraries. Browsability needs to be kept in mind, particularly with regard to long runs of periodicals or sets of monographs with multiple volumes that need to be compared or that have poor indexing and need to be physically examined in order to figure out whether the information desired is present. 

The existing endowment funds (Lyle E. and Lois R. Bamber Fund, Biology Library Endowment Fund, Evelyn Voss Pflaum & Barbara Lynn Pflaum Memorial, Rose Briem/Lita Bane Library Endowment Fund) should remain under the discretion of the Library's subject specialist responsible for Biology as should the regular funds for Biology acquisitions.  The University Library remains committed to an excellent Biology collection.

  1. The Team recommends that materials be housed at the Funk Library, central bookstacks (STX), and the Oak Street Library Facility (OS), and not be dispersed further to other libraries and collections except in rare circumstances.
  2. The  following criteria should be used in determining which of the above locations is appropriate for items in the collection:




Rare books:

Government documents:







The committee recommends that the Library continue to maintain the role of biology librarian. The data from the Planning Team's campus-wide survey was clear on the value of having one or more professional librarians focused on meeting the information needs of life sciences faculty, staff, and students.


The committee recommends that life science librarians have an active presence in their user communities to ensure both responsive service provision, and active and ongoing engagement with users.  It is recommended that an office for the biology librarian be located off the first floor corridor of Burrill Hall, adjacent to other student services.  This space would be made available to the Library by the College of LAS for Library use.   Office hours and consultations will be scheduled in this space and it is anticipated that this will initially be the primary office space for the biology librarian.  In addition, work space (such as a cubicle with a desk, file cabinet, etc.) should be provided in the Funk Library.  In the future it may be desirable to provide an office in Funk as the primary workspace for the biology librarian.  The biology librarian will split her/his time between Burrill Hall and the Funk Library and contribute to the Funk Library science hub by providing a limited number of hours each week to reference services, attending librarian and staff meetings, and participating in other unit activities as appropriate.   The primary location of the Biology Librarian should be reevaluated at a later date.


Based on the Planning Team's campus survey, discussions with life sciences faculty, and service models established at peer institutions, the committee recommends a variety of services be maintained, established, and/or explored. It is anticipated that office hours provided in Burrill Hall may include other life sciences librarians.  Specific services to be provided to biology students, faculty, and staff will include:


Walk-up reference services and librarian's office hours

Chat reference services


Biology Library web presence

Library Instruction



E-science, E-Scholarship, Bioinformatics, and Data Services


See Appendix 2: Biology Services Planning Grid for specific existing and potential services.




Upon the closing of the Biology Library staff and student hours will be available for reassignment. 


Assessment Plan

An assessment plan should be devised to assess the desired outcomes for the Biology Library's new service model.   Voluntary patron evaluations should be provided for user feedback, particularly with regard to new services.  The results of these assessments will help inform the continuation and/or revision of existing services and the creation of new services. Suggested outcomes, criteria, and assessments include:   


Desired Outcome


Assessment /Data Source

Biology Library patrons utilize the office hours and workshops (i.e. Savvy Researcher) provided in Burrill Hall.

Number of patrons participating in office hours.

The variety of workshops and patron participation in them increases.

Desktracker notes field or new custom field (baseline: will start after unit opens).

Savvy Research evaluations.

Voluntary assessment of service completed via patron form.

Life science librarians collaborate in the provision of reference services in Funk Library.

More reference interactions involving multiple experts, inside and outside the unit.

Desktracker statistics from Funk Library.

Follow-up questionnaire/self-reporting by subject specialists.

As per the anticipated Reference Services Team recommendations, subject and IT specialists from within the library and other campus programs provide support for patron consultations.

Number and variety of collaborative consultations for patrons increases.

Follow-up questionnaire/self-reporting by subjects specialists.

Voluntary assessment of service completed via patron form.

A robust Biology web portal.

Usage of online resources for Biology patrons increases.

Bean Counter

LibGuides statistics

Increased library instruction integrated into biology courses.

More classes taught to larger numbers of students.

Greater awareness of biology resources on the part of students.

Instruction Statistics database.

Pre and post assessments of students.



Implementation Team Members

Library faculty:

Campus faculty and academic staff:

Library staff:

Appendix 1.  Implementation Team Charge

Biology and Life Sciences Implementation Team


In Fall 2009, a planning team composed of faculty in the life sciences, Library faculty and staff was convened to "identify opportunities for enhanced collaboration in the design and delivery of Library services to support research, teaching, and learning in the biological and life sciences"    This planning team considered longitudinal data that indicates "downward trends in the use of the physical library and its print collections," undertook a comprehensive user survey that identified needs and opportunities to develop specific new services,  and identified "opportunities for collaboration between the Library, the School of Integrative Biology (IB), and the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) for the cooperative development and use of the physical space currently occupied by the Biology Library."  Based on these findings, the planning team recommended that the Library establish "an Implementation Team...with the charge of repurposing the physical space currently occupied by the Biology Library" and explore opportunities to further develop specialized library services to support research, teaching and learning in the biological and life sciences.  The full report of the Team is available on the NSM Website.

The Implementation Team now being charged is asked to move forward with these recommendations from the planning team, including the closure of the Biology Library as currently constituted, on an accelerated timeline. 


This team is expected to build upon the work of the planning team. The Team will:

1.       Consulting and collaborating with constituents in the Biological & Life sciences on campus, develop a service profile that:

o   Draws on the findings of the survey conducted by the planning team, as well as conversations with relevant campus communities, to further define existing and emerging needs of students and scholars in the life sciences

o   Identifies opportunities for the development of new initiatives and for the expansion of services currently offered

o   Considers how services that might be more effectively provided at a larger service point, such as access to print reserves, may be provided in nearby Library units

o   Situates the proposed services for the biological sciences as a core component in a broader array of Library service programs supporting scholarly work in the sciences (e.g.,  in the Life Science or  Physical Sciences & Engineering Division) as well as through Library-wide service programs such as the Scholarly Commons

o   Offers suggestions about use(s) of the space currently occupied by the Biology Library, with the expectation that most, if not all, of the space will be vacated by the Library and returned to the Office of the Provost for re-assignment.

2.       Collaborate with the NSM coordinator to develop timelines and schedules for  implementation, including:

o   specific steps needed to vacate the current Biology Library space (except that portion that may be related to a continued Library presence serving needs such as those noted above)

o   a rapid assessment of the collection to inform the development of criteria to determine the location of materials.  Following the process described in the  Special Collections Guidelines for Library Moves or Closures, the Team should work with the Special Collections Division to determine the disposition of administrative records, rare books, and maps

o   a timeline and phased plan for transferring collections from Burrill to other locations

o   a table of staffing and resource needs for each phase in the transition

o   a plan for communicating the transition to the new services profile to campus and library constituents

3.       Recommend a plan for assessing the effectiveness of the new configuration of collections and services

4.       Submit a report with its recommendations to the University Librarian by June 30, 2010.


Appendix 2: Biology Services Planning Grid




Existing in

Biology Library

Existing in Library

Potential New Biology Service

New in Library

New Partnership/

Extra Library

Existing in Peer Institution

Collection development and selection for Biology & related subjects



X - limited in Biotech/UGL/





Circulating, browsable print serials available in Biology Library








Circulating books from Biology Library








Reserve services







Walk-up reference service








Chat reference service







 Biology web page/portal

X (needs revision)






Classroom Instruction sessions








Bibliographic database searching (mediated searches, training, and  automated custom searches) 







Tutorials/subject guides /libguides








Data storage & manipulation





X - IDEALs, Scholarly Commons



Digital resources & online access




X - Genomic databases (licensed)


Bioinformatics group, IGB





X - IDEALS, Data Services Librarian, Connections [BibApp]





Statistical analysis/software





X - partnership w/ATLAS


Bibliographic management software


X - Savvy Researcher





Molecular/genomic database instruction


X - biotech limited





Bioinformatics Tools






X - Bioinformatics group


Visual/imaging software





X - Bioinformatics group


GIS software/applications




X - Scholarly Commons/data services librarian (limited)

X - GIS interest group


Database and information management software and applications







Microarray analysis





X (requires further assessment and prioritization)





Existing Biology Library: existing service provided by the Biology Library.

Existing in Library: existing service supported outside of the Biology Library, but in a Library unit.

New Biology Library: a new service, specific to Biology Library clientele, that would be desirable to clientele of the Biology Library.

New other library: a new service that might be offered by the Library and would likely be of interest to Library users across a number of units.

New partnership extra-library: a new service, program, or space
Existing in peer institution:  services offered in peer institutions


Appendix 3: Tabular Chart of Recommendations



Specific Recommendations

Start Date

Completion Date


Close Biology Library service point

Have a party to mark the transition before the end of the semester.  Invitations to the Library, MCB/SIB and other biology-related departments.

May 2011

May 13, 2011


Remove furniture and any remaining materials in former Biology Library space, relocate staff


August 2011

December 2011

Labor costs

for Library

IT and



Space formerly occupied by Biology Library in Burrill is available for reassignment by the Provost's office


December 2011

December 2011


Establish librarian office hours and instruction program in Burrill Hall

The team recommends that SIB/MCB will make a temporary office available for during reconfiguration of the first floor of Burrill Hall.  After the reconfiguration is complete, we recommend that an office located off the corridor in the planned cluster of student services be made available for available for librarian office hours.   The Biology Librarian and others (e.g., Life Science Data Services Librarian) will provide reference services, and work with partners inside and outside the library to provide consultation and workshops in areas of identified need.  These may include citation management, e-science, statistical support and bioinformatics.

August 2011


staff cost

Biology services in Funk

Walk up reference services will be available in Funk, with the Biology librarian participating in this and other relevant service programs

August 2011


staff cost

Transfer Biology cage materials (1000 volumes) to Rare Book O.S., after digitizing those not yet scanned

Scan all non-folio, pre 1922 titles not in Internet Archive or Google.  Also scan those that are in Google but would benefit from color.  Upload to Internet Archive and tag for the Biodiversity Heritage Library collection.


August 2010

January 2011

DCC will scan as part of Internet Archive project, using projects funds.   Estimated cost: 10 cents/page for scanning and uploading to the IA website. Approximately $4/book for retrieval, cataloging, prep and transportation.

Transfer approximately 50,000 items from Funk to Oak Street

Fund .25 time grad hourly in Funk ($13.76/hour)

July 2010

December 2010


 (NSM funds)

Transfer and relocate approximately 50,000 items from Biology  to Funk

Use professional mover to relocate items (Library Facilities indicate they are at capacity with current O.S. Google obligations).  Get quote from mover by April 2011.

May 2011

July 2011

Estimate requested from Library Facilities June 2010

Transfer  94,000 volumes from Biology  to Oak Street  and Main Stacks (and from Stacks to OS to accommodate any transfers in)

For materials transferred to stacks, materials must first be transferred from Stacks to Oak Street to make room for any transfers into Stacks.  Transfers to Stacks should be limited to those items for which browsing is essential.

August 2011

May 2011

IPM, Stacks and unit staff costs

Continue to watch for journal backfiles

Biology and Funk currently don't have any requests for journal backfiles, but will continue to watch for new offerings that would allow for additional transfers to Oak Street and will notify the AUL for Collections so these can be considered for priority purchase