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Summer Projects Will Provide Fall Library Enhancements

Graduate Research Center to Launch in Fall
Launching the Graduate Research Center for the start of the 2010–2011 academic year is a major summer priority for the AU Library.

Part of the new School of International Service building, this dedicated space connects with the lower level of the library. As envisioned, the center will include a dynamic new teaching and learning space with multiple electronic displays. In addition to offices for AU’s Graduate Student Association, the center will house collaborative study areas and spaces for quiet individual study. 

Copy Center, Reserve Desk to Merge
On the library’s lower level the Copy Center and the Reserves Desk will merge, enabling students to visit one desk to meet multiple needs. With the use of both these service desks growing, the merger will also support staff efficiency.

Reserves houses traditional print materials and makes a growing number of electronic journal articles available for courses through Blackboard. In addition to providing photocopy and other services, the Copy Center is the library lender of laptops and e-readers (Kindles and Nooks).

Expansion of University Archives and Special Collections
University Archives and Special Collections will expand into the former graduate study room (which is being replaced with the new Graduate Study Center).

In the book stacks, a major weeding project will identify books for storage at the Washington Research Library Consortium and create space for the new books ordered for 2010-2011. With these changes underway, the library will also launch a new effort to identify and prioritize next steps for maximizing use of the Bender building.

Information Technology
The library’s Web pages are visited nearly as much as all other university pages combined, so the library’s IT services will receive major attention this summer. One key project will be implementing the new (2009–2010) Web design on the library’s Web sites.

A powerful new search feature will be added to enable simultaneous searching of both the ALADIN Catalog and many article databases.

Books and Software
A new central book vendor will be selected for the first time in several decades. The new vendor will have a profile that closely matches AU’s curricular and research needs. 

Other projects include redesign of the popular information literacy tutorial and implementation of new software for the subject guides.

Summer Exhibits, Reading, Guests
While freshmen meet with their academic advisors during summer orientations, their families will be hosted by the library. The visitors can take in summer exhibits. One, about the Potomac River, highlights this major regional natural resource and landmark; a second, “The State I’m In: Preservation@American University Library,” shows book preservation up close. A third exhibit, “American University:  The First Fifty Years (1893–1943),” contains some very interesting materials from AU’s past. All members of the AU community are invited to visit the exhibits and tap the library’s popular fiction and nonfiction collections for your summer reading.

Gwendolyn Reece contributed to this column.