It is clear from discussions with the faculty and students of Peabody College that they value and need a highly responsive information center that is closely integrated with their teaching, research, and service. In its emerging new role, the library will become a provider of innovative information services and knowledge resources that will be essential to the support of the Peabody programs. The library has developed a strong service philosophy and the ability to quickly identify needs and acquire the skills necessary to meet those needs.
The organizational framework within which these changes are taking place is team-based. Work is accomplished through collaboration on cross-functional teams. This facilitates communication among staff members and encourages job flexibility. Staff members move seamlessly to different activities, as they become priorities. The teams identify areas to be addressed and work together to solve problems.
Renovations of the historic facility have resulted in an environment that is impressive, inviting, and functional. The library is a central gathering place near the intersection of the Peabody and Vanderbilt campuses. The library spaces are designed to encourage community-building and scholarly exchange of ideas. There are two reading rooms, group study rooms, a Learning Commons, a Census Information Center, an outdoor terrace and sculpture garden, a Curriculum Materials Center and Youth Collection, and a Curriculum Design Studio. Classes, receptions, and lectures are routinely held in the library. A cafe will open this fall to foster interaction among people.
At Peabody, three teams mirror the essential functions of the library: Public Services, Curriculum Support, and Collections. Every staff member serves on the Public Services Team, because the library's most essential function is service to our "public." That team is charged with providing excellent service at our main service desk in the library, through liaison relationships with the Peabody College departments, and through other services such as reserves and interlibrary loan. The Curriculum Support Team is charged with developing a program that will instill information competencies in Peabody College graduates and will address ways of keeping faculty members current on new information resources and methods of accessing information. The Collections Team will ensure that the faculty and students have access to the materials they need for their teaching and research. There is a group of team leaders that guides the library's activities, ensures consistency and quality in service, and addresses priorities across the teams.
Lara Beth Henderson
Each librarian is an information consultant and liaison to one of the departments of Peabody College. The liaison is the first point-of-contact for instruction and research consultation for the students and faculty of that department. The librarian is knowledgeable about the curriculum, teaches classes about information-related topics, and develops Web pages for courses. The librarian is aware of the research interests of the faculty. The librarian is available for consultation on information questions and can collaborate or consult on information aspects of grant proposals. She purchases materials for the library's collection and facilitates access to electronic resources.
The librarians have collaborated with the Peabody Office of Research Enhancement to develop a database of Peabody faculty research interests. They have created a Web site of sources of grant funding information. They identify funding announcements that match faculty interests and forward them to the appropriate faculty members. This is an exciting opportunity for the library to fulfill an important information need for the faculty.
The main Service Desk in the library is a significant point of contact with our patrons. The new model for service at this desk has improved the quality of our assistance and maximized our use of staff resources. Because many students have expressed a need for longer library hours, the library's hours were extended until midnight on most evenings during the semester. The laptops that we have available for checkout are continually in use.
The number of faculty members and students in Peabody College continues to increase. New degree programs and faculty members with new research interests require ongoing evaluation of the resources to which the library commits funds. We are systematically identifying emerging subject areas in the College and assessing the Vanderbilt Libraries' collections to determine subject gaps that need to be addressed.
The library will need funding beyond its base budget to become a leader among its peers. We will aggressively pursue external funding through grants, donations, endowments, and other fund-raising activities to help support our programs and services. This will enable us to experiment with programs and services, conduct research on topics relevant to the profession, and develop a strong reputation for excellence and innovation.
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