New Service Models for Area Studies: June 2007

The Area Studies Division would like to establish an organizational structure that will make the area studies collections more visible and easily accessible to users. With this reorganization Area Studies can offer convenient services such as a one-stop circulation point for Area Studies users, a combined international reference desk, and a coordinated outreach program.

The Area Studies division has identified 5 critical elements that need to be in place for this reorganization to be successful:

  1. Area Studies units should be clustered in close proximity to each other, in order to promote a cohesive grouping of similar units with similar user needs
  2. Area specialists need to be located close to specialized language resources
  3. Users need to have extended hours of access to area experts in one location, and comfortable space to use specialized area resources including a modest array of area-specific software
  4. Circulation and reference desks for all Area Studies units need to be combined into a one-stop service unit
  5. Given the scope of their operations as representative of premier national collections, the Slavic and Asian technical services units should remain integrated within their units according to the successful Harvard model, and use their greater proximity to intensify sharing of training, macros and innovative procedures. Due to the unique demands associated with acquiring and processing Asian and Slavic language material, the linguistic and area expertise required, and the multiple functional responsibilities of Asian and Slavic librarians and staff, the technical services operations should remain in the Division, but streamline the operations as much as possible to achieve economy and efficiency.

We therefore propose the following:

  1. Relocate the Slavic Library in closer proximity to the other area studies collections on the third floor, to promote centralized public service and streamlined technical service
  2. Establish a centralized Area StudiesInformation Center to promote our public services and collections on the third floor.   Since four out of five area studies units are already located on the third floor this proposal seems the most logical and economical, and can be achieved in two ways:
    1. Utilizing the third floor hallway as the Area Studies service point for Africana, Afro-American, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Slavic and East European libraries. This would involve moving Slavic and East European Library to the third floor where the current English Library is.
    2. Utilizing the front quarter of the current English Library as the   service point for Area Studies units and the rest for the Slavic personnel and reference collection. This option should provide more space for a combined international reference desk.