Updates: 2017, Quarter 4 | October - December


Priority area 1:

 Strengthen the stability of the scholarly research record for the KU community and beyond by refining our practices around how content is produced, acquired, described, managed, and discovered. We will continue to align our scholarly communication and content priorities, and ensure that we have the right tools, skills, and data to make work efficiently and effectively influence informed decisions.
  • Staff continued to make progress in analyzing the Oxford package as it comes up for renewal. The package was assessed, and a quote for alternatives was received in November. In effort to generate added savings, a number of smaller journal packages were reviewed and select titles were identified for cancellation. Staff from several units have also been collaborating to explore ways to improve and expand the data we are collecting to inform the evaluation of publisher packages. 
  • Jupyter notebooks were set up, allowing staff to track electronic resource usage (EZProxy and Google Analytics) to better inform assessment of database usage. 
  • The November release of PRIMO was installed in December, addressing a number of improvements and updates to enhance search functionality.  
  • The RAPID R Lending resource sharing system moved into production. 
  • Staff made a significant push to migrate content from the existing intranet into the new location in SharePoint by the end of the year. 
  • The Research Sprints ToolKit, created in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Minnesota Libraries, was finalized and made available. 

 Priority area 2: 

Expand our capacity to support digital scholarship and enhance the research profile of KU faculty. Build our expertise for supporting scholars engaged in digitally-enabled research through targeted professional development and engagement with partners. 
  • Library faculty led the local planning committee that began to collaborate with colleagues at the University of North Texas to start planning for the 2018 Digital Frontiers Conference. KU Libraries faculty played active roles in other digital humanities initiatives, leading workshops and presentations, hosting speaker events and co-directing the Digital Humanities Seminar. 
  • Professional development: The MozillaWOW open science workshop took place, library faculty and staff hosted an OpenRefine workshop for colleagues and the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) webinar series on application programming interfaces (APIs) for scholarly information resources was completed.  
  • Planning, advertising and registration for the January Software Carpentry workshop moved forward throughout the fall. 
  • Haricombe Gallery Lecture Series: Ray Pence discussed his research on Vietnam-era correspondence between Kansans and U.S. Rep. Robert Dole. 
  • The Students as Scholars panel event on “Student Activism” in October provided an opportunity for KU students and faculty to join in an engaged scholarly discussion surrounding the power of activism, including their own activism and resulting research. 
  • The “Read Between the Lines: Social justice, the media and you” teach-in featured four KU faculty members whose work explores how issues such as gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and class intersect and play out in various media and social media platforms.  
  • In December, KU and Haskell Indian Nations University librarians hosted scholars from institutions across North America for two days of training in cultural and methodological practices, as part of the 11-institution project on Indigenous Studies Scholars, led by Ithaka S+R. 

Priority area 3: 

Enhance the utility of KU Libraries’ distinctive resources. By taking advantage of new technologies, employing collaborative workflows, and developing new skills, KU Libraries will improve the discoverability, use, and durability of our unique and distinctive resources.
  • After 18 months of staff collaboration, the procedures for digitizing CDs/DVDs were finalized, with SharePoint workflows made available online.   
  • Several opportunities were coordinated to increase a shared understanding of distinctive resources on campus and in the community. Joint orientations of the Music & Dance and Law Libraries were conducted with user services staff from KU Libraries and Lawrence Public Library. Reciprocal visits between Kenneth Spencer Research Library and Watkins Museum of History were also conducted, with a focus on local history. 
  • All remaining pre-2017 theses and dissertations from KU ScholarWorks were ingested into DPN (9,673 items). Work advanced beyond the initial pilot to proceed with digitization of all remaining theses and dissertations.  
  • After the contract was approved and processing and conservation were complete, the Coach Record series of the Phog Allen collection was sent off to Scanning America for digitization. The Athletic Director record series is in progress. 
  • Staff explored delivery methods (a map server) and obtained funding to hire a student for georeferencing help with the Sanborn Maps. This project was also featured through presentations to all library staff and members of the Endacott Society. 
  • Librarians drafted a Memorandum of Understanding for our organization to become a steward for hearings that are already held in the Annex, in conjunction with the Federal Depository Library Program. 
  • Staff in Distinctive Collections began to pilot a new approach to increase awareness of our unique collections, through posting series of WWI-era letters each Monday on the Spencer blog that document a soldier’s experiences through his correspondence (including images and transcriptions).  
  • Spencer Research Library collections were featured for the first time in #ColorOurCollections coloring pages, which will be made available to patrons and friends and support an increased awareness of the libraries’ distinctive resources. The process was informative and will likely streamline the ability to develop these outreach tools in the future. 
  • In partnership with KU Alumni Association, the libraries developed a new, traveling exhibit, “Commemorate the Gr8s,” to share with hundreds of Jayhawks in cities across the country. Featuring items from University Archives, this exhibit will facilitate engagement with new friends and alumni – further increasing awareness of KU Libraries’ distinctive collections and digital image resources. 

Priority area 4: 

 Create diverse, strategic, and enduring experiences that support student success and retention efforts. The libraries will strengthen contributions to teaching and learning through sustainable, strategic partnerships, providing responsive and scalable resources that support campus-wide retention efforts, particularly for those focused on first-generation or underrepresented students, as well as students in need.
  • The Innovation Fund proposal to make information literacy mini-grants available to faculty was approved and will move forward toward implementation. 
  • The libraries promoted the completion of new private, gender-inclusive, ADA-compliant restrooms on the third floor of Watson Library – in compliment to the gender-inclusive, ADA-compliant restrooms on the second floor of Anschutz Library. Renovations to the fourth and fifth floor Watson restrooms also ensured ADA-compliance in these areas. 
  • A new reflection room, located in Spahr Library, Room 2300C, was promoted to library users this fall – the third such space, in addition to those in Watson 585 and Anschutz 320L. 
  • Collaborations continued with the School of Architecture & Design to complete renovations of the Watson third floor west study carrels. In order to meet student needs, modern furniture, stable power and lighting were added to each carrel. These updated spaces are now available for student use and have already seen an influx of new student users.

Priority area 5: 

Continue to build and support a more diverse and engaged faculty and staff. The libraries will continue to build and support a faculty and staff that is deeply engaged in their work and committed to the libraries’ common mission. 
  • The proposal for the resident diversity fellow was accepted and a position description was drafted in concert with other steps to enable a spring search. 
  • A campus-level team, led by a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) working group, hosted the second workshop centered on difficult dialogues –increasing workshop outreach to a total of 140 attendees through the fall semester. 
  • The DEI working group is collaborating with campus partners to develop new LibGuides – one centered on LGBTQ African American films, documentaries and streaming services, and another on trans awareness resources. 
  • The Library Staff Assembly and Organizational Development initiated plans to revive the annual staff development day, an internal opportunity for staff to hone professional skills and engage with colleagues. 



1.5 million visits a year at 7 library locations
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection
—American Library Association
KU ScholarWorks offers access to more than 13,000 items created by KU faculty and students
An international leader in the open access movement
Users check out nearly 300,000 items every year
Users access more than 3.3 million articles online each year
More than 111,000 scores, books, sound recordings, and other volumes in Music & Dance Library
Anschutz Library serves as KU’s 24-hour study facility for students
More than 700 Vosper Society members support the mission of KU Libraries
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
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