700 University Avenue, Monroe, LA 71209
Phone: (318) 342-1050 • Fax: (318) 342-1075 • http://www.ulm.edu/library
Library Background/history: The stunning twenty-four million dollar building currently housing the University Library is located on the banks of the scenic Bayou DeSiard. The five-story facility, of approximately 140,000 square feet, seats 2,000 users at study carrels, tables, and in comfortable easy chairs placed throughout the building. When the Library opened on April 12, 1999, the beautiful furnishings included ample shelving to accommodate at least ten years’ growth. Growth and change have been a constant throughout the more than seven decades of the University Library’s history.
Just as the university has gone through several different iterations, so has the Library. It has been housed in various buildings on campus, including Brown Hall and Bry Hall, before taking up residence in a building built for the library, Sandel Hall, name for Mr. Percy Sandel, a former district attorney and judge who had been instrumental in the establishment of the university. The library was housed in Sandel Hall from 1961 until 1999, when it moved to its current location. The library is both a state and a federal respository.
staff: A total of seven staff members, five full-time reference librarians (including me), one ILL librarian (who also serves as a reference librarian), one acquisitions librarian, one technical services/cataloging librarian, one special collections librarian (who also serves as the current assistant dean), and the dean.
types of materials you buy: At this time, the majority of our budget goes towards our membership in a state consortium of electronic resources (databases, ejournals, and eBooks). We are currently transitioning to a more electronic/digital format and are trying to obtain a grant to fund etextbooks.
use of mobile technology: We do not currently have a mobile platform for our library resources.
What do you think your library WILL be like in five years? The print collection will be reduced from four to two floors (a process currently in the offing). More digital resources will (hopefully) be added. The two floors “freed up” by the extensive weeding project we’re currently undergoing will be fitted with technology-equipped spaces for teaching, learning, and collaborating. I think in five years it will more closely resemble the socializing/collaborating spaces that many libraries are transitioning towards.
Departmental Information: I, Megan Lowe, currently serve as the Coordinator of Public Services. I am over Reference/Instruction and ILL. I coordinate with the Head of Circulation regarding public services issues. I work as both a reference librarian and an instructional librarian still, as well as serving as a liaison librarian to several departments. I frequently convene (and sometimes chair) committees to address issues and projects in the library. I meet weekly with the Head of Technical Services, the Assistant Dean, and the Dean to identify and address issues which arise within the library and those issues from the campus which may affect the library. As a faculty member, I serve on university-related committees outside the library. I must also publish and participate in professional development as a means of maintaining tenure and pursuing promotion again, to achieve the rank of Full Professor.
How many divisions are there in your department? Technically, just two — Reference and ILL.
How many people work in your department? A total of six, including myself.
What is your materials budget? $0. The library’s budget is entirely handled by the Dean, and it goes primarily to our consortium membership and access to electronic resources.
Additional Items of interest to ATG readers: Currently my library is undertaking a HUGE deselection project. Part of the reason is that the collection hasn’t been weeded in over 30 years. The other part is that it represents the first step in our transition to a primarily digital library. While there has been a lot of resistance on campus to this transition, I see it as an inevitable change, a reasonable response to the changing face of our student body and their changing needs, as well as a logical “evolution” of libraries in an increasingly digital, diverse, and global society. I also see it as a responsible use of our budget, given how unstable higher education monies and budgets are in this state, especially for public institutions.