Under Construction

The first day of classes is today, and a sense of change is definitely in the air as the campus comes to life. New students arrived over the weekend, returning students arrived over the last few days, faculty are here as well… and all are returning to the sight of the New Science Center almost fully framed and actively under construction. This morning they had the final beam out for everyone to sign; I along with many others could not resist.

To me, this construction serves as a good symbol for the upcoming year at Wheaton, especially for Library Information Services. We’re actively reconstructing how we get our work done as people change and/or take on new duties. We have a new leader adjusting to her new role and helping us set priorities for the coming year(s). Susan Wawrzaszek moved from her position as Deputy CIO and University Librarian at Brandeis University to Associate Vice President for Library Information Services at Wheaton on August 9.

We’ve “constructed” a few new things over the summer– making some significant adjustments to several of our core services for the new academic year, some of which we are still putting the finishing touches on! One change is the redesign of the Library website, which significantly improves how users access our resources and find information about Library happenings. It is a vast improvement over the old site in my opinion, but we also know that it isn’t perfect. We’ll definitely be using the feedback we get from our users to improve it and other websites within LIS over the course of this year.

We’ve also changed our Learning Management System’s architecture (we use Moodle) to allow for better navigation and archiving of online course materials. In addition, we upgraded to a new version of Moodle this summer, which brings new features to faculty and students. Over the course of this year, I hope to continue to look for ways to improve this service.

And LIS has implemented a new print management system on campus and introduced Multifunctional Printers/Scanner/Copiers. This new printing/copying system will continue to allow students to print for free, but will hopefully also reduce the amount of wasted paper on campus. With this change in particular, (but with the others as well) comes a whole set of needs and anxieties from our users as they adjust. And that’s where the real work starts for many of us. It is our role within LIS to construct a network of support that will ensure that our users can adjust to our changes as smoothly as possible.  We have documentation in place and will continue to make adjustments to it as we discover holes in it. We have already done some training, more will come. And as with most small liberal arts colleges, we will also provide a lot of one-on-one help.

I’m told that in a few minutes, they’ll be raising that beam up onto the Science Center. I plan to go out and watch. The framework is in place; now over the course of this year they’ll be filling in the rest of the building. I think the same can probably be said for several of the things we’re working on in LIS…

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