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Messages From the Dean

Dupré Digest, Library Newsletter
Fall 2023, Issue 1

One of our top goals is to provide our University of Louisiana at Lafayette community robust access to the materials they need for their research, teaching and learning. We developed this goal through our interactions with faculty and students, surveys, assessments of our services and through our knowledge of what materials we currently license or purchase and what we don’t yet have.

There is a considerable gap between what we have and what we need, and our strategy to improve access to information will come gradually through several initiatives. While increasing our overall expenditures for information is a key component of our strategy, there are other activities that we will engage in to help us to show continuous improvement in our collections, and, consequently, improved overall satisfaction of our users.

This past summer, we implemented a service called RAPID Interlibrary Loan. RAPID was first implemented at Colorado State University in the late 1990’s to provide a method of access to back issues of print journals. Colorado State endured a catastrophic flood in 1997 that caused more than $140 million in damage, mostly to its library. Their collection of bound journals was completely destroyed. To deal with this significant loss, they posited several solutions. They quickly realized that replacing the journal collections was far too costly. So, instead of rebuilding the collection, they opted to develop a service that could get scanned journal articles from other libraries to CSU users quickly and efficiently. Today, RAPID member libraries pledge to process requests for loans within 24 hours, providing a scanned copy of the requested article or book chapter directly to the user.

RAPID membership is one of the first steps we are taking to begin to meet the research and learning needs of the UL community. As we move forward, we’ll introduce other initiatives to advance the Libraries.

—Brian Doherty, Dean of University Libraries

Past Messages

Dupré Digest, Library Newsletter Summer 2023, Issue 1

As we slog through the dog days of summer, our library faculty and staff are, at once, reviewing the past academic year and preparing for the new one. Summer is an intense time of the year for academic libraries as we take advantage of the down time for classes and activities to focus on our projects and planning.

Among the many things that we have learned over the past year is that we need to become more visible to our users. To address this issue, our library faculty have formed a task force to develop ways that we can better interact with faculty and students in and to convey to them the things that we do. In the near future, faculty, staff and students will begin to see that the library provides much more than just books on shelves.

We are committed to working with faculty and students to create a futuristic library that will support the kind of research done at a Carnegie R1 university. Data services, scholarly publishing services, technologies and expertise to use information in sophisticated ways, and pedagogical support for truly engaged teaching and learning are some of the areas that we intend to develop and fortify. Our work with faculty and students will help inform us on how we realize these aspirations.

As part of our vision of a futuristic library, we see our building as a nexus for social and intellectual encounters. Renewed spaces with comfortable seating, tools for study and collaboration, and an environment rich in technologies and spaces that inspire creativity and ingenuity are central to the library. We see the library becoming an even more essential resource for the work of faculty and students.

Finally, as the University rolls out its new strategic plan, we will develop a library plan that will support the University’s goals. The library’s role in many of the University’s strategic goals is significant, and we intend to advocate for the resources we need to build the collections and services that will best enhance the scholarly endeavors of our users.

—Brian Doherty, Dean of University Libraries

Dupré Digest, Library Newsletter Spring 2023, Issue 1

Of the many places on a university campus, the library serves as a “third place,” a socio-intellectual environment that is distinct from home or dormitory room (first place) and the classroom or lab (second place). The concept of third place was first defined by sociologist Ray Oldenberg in his book The Great Good Place. It is a zone outside of home and workplace where one goes to socialize, work and learn, and develop skills. It is a space designed to provide a sense of belonging and satisfaction that is not fully realized by other places.

Typically, the third place is characterized by several distinct traits. First, hours of operation are robust enough to allow users to visit throughout the day and evening and on weekends. The environment is highly social and interactive. A non-threatening and relaxed environment allows users to enjoy their time there. The third place is accessible and open to all, providing accommodations for all styles of use and learning. All individuals are considered equals and interact as such in the environment. People can also come and go as they wish with no constraints as to usage. Academic libraries mirror these characteristics.

Before the advent of the Internet, and the pervasiveness of computers, smartphones, and other technologies, the university library was a place of order and icons. Back then, users had to search for information according to the terms of the printed index and reference. The catalog of print and media materials was available via printed index cards housed in large cabinets. The library of the past was designed as second place, with a focus on isolation, quiet, and work.

The contemporary university library must accommodate multiple purposes. For students, comfort is essential as they typically spend many hours in the building. Soft seating, attractive furnishings, décor that is both stimulating and inviting, and a clean building that provides a safe and healthy environment. Older students who juggle careers, families, and other responsibilities while working on degrees see the library as a space to relax and refresh as well as prepare for their academic endeavors. For faculty, spaces to interact with students and colleagues is important as are venues to work with librarians and explore collections and technologies to further their research and teaching.

As we move forward, making Dupré Library into a more engaging and stimulating place is a top priority. Creating an environment that meets the many expectations of students, faculty, staff, and the greater community is essential to realizing our vision. We will be looking for your ideas and support as together we continue to develop our third place.

—Brian Doherty, Dean of University Libraries

Dupré Digest, Library Newsletter Fall 2022

One of our top priorities is to provide access to collections, services, spaces, and infrastructure that support the exceptional research that faculty and students produce at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. As a new tier 1 research institution, UL Lafayette and its faculty, students, and staff engage in significant research and scholarship that require considerable resources and support. Access to books, journals, online databases, and other scholarly materials is essential in all phases of their research and scholarship. Other services such as data management, organization of information, digital scholarship support, and instruction in the discovery and assessment of information contribute to the success of UL Lafayette. Without the support and resources of University Libraries, our institutional research output would be hampered, and the mission of the university impeded.

Our costs for information materials, equipment, and supplies have increased over the years and skyrocketed during the past 12 months. State-funded support has proven to be inadequate, especially when measured against the needs of those we serve. In comparing our expenditures for library support against other top-tier research institutions, we are significantly behind our competitors. New streams of revenue are needed in our efforts to raise funding to supplement state resources. Over the years, University Libraries has benefitted from the generosity of numerous individuals who provide financial resources to help us support the mission of the University. Opportunities to join these donors and invest in the support of research and scholarship are available. Please consider the University Libraries when deciding where to make your investment.

—Brian Doherty, Dean of University Libraries

Dupré Digest, Library Newsletter Spring 2022, Issue 2

One of the questions that I ask people in our community who may employ our students after they graduate is what it is that they expect from their future employees. It is a common question, but one that provides a great deal of insight into employers' thinking about what it is to be a college educated person in the world today. A big part of a college education is developing the ability to examine issues and ideas from a variety of perspectives.

The Library is not just a quiet place to study, nor is it merely a building that houses books and other materials. The Library is a vibrant edifice that changes as knowledge changes and co-locates information and the expertise to discover and use that information.

Now more than ever, we live in a world that expects people to be able to devise solutions to complex problems in short order. Understanding ideas from multiple perspectives is critical to solving these problems and assumes a basic knowledge of many disciplines and how they interact. In our time, we can learn the content of disciplines through technologies that generate and manipulate information.

Libraries serve users from all disciplines—we are discipline agnostic—and our work helps to bridge the gaps between disciplines. The Library is an intellectual nexus that brings together the scientist and the humanist, the engineer and the teacher, the artist and the nurse. Our services, technologies, and collections are available to all regardless of what major, subject, or course. The information technologies that we implement work across disciplines and are useful in addressing the complex issues that we all encounter in the world of work.

As you engage in your research and learning, remember that the University Libraries are here to lend support and expertise to help you accomplish your goals and develop the skills expected of college educated workers. We can also help to guide you to think of your research from many perspectives.

—Brian Doherty, Dean of University Libraries

Dupré Digest, Library Newsletter Spring 2022, Issue 1

As we enter an exciting new era at the University, our work begins to develop a library that reflects our status as an R1 institution. This means focusing on supporting the research and learning needs of faculty, students, and staff. Invariably, our collections will grow by incorporating materials that reflect the intensity of the research that happens here, and our services will expand to include support for data management, digital scholarship, publishing, and technology. Our library will also increase teaching and learning support, implement newly reconfigured spaces and state of the art technologies, and enhance the skills and expertise available through our library faculty and staff.

One of the keys for our growth and development is securing resources in order to build collections, retain and develop staff and faculty, implement new research infrastructure that supports faculty research and enables students to become savvy users of the technologies of their professional lives, and create spaces that reflect out offerings and bring people together to learn. Investment in this vision will need to come from a variety of sources, including the state, granting agencies and foundations, and generous donors. Our focus will be on support for teaching and research of our faculty while we work with students to develop skills in identifying, assessing and using information in its various forms.

Let us know what you think about Dupré Library. Your perspectives on our future are important to us as we build the services, collections and spaces that you need to succeed at the newest R1 university and beyond.

—Brian Doherty, Dean of University Libraries

Dupré Digest, Library Newsletter Fall 2021

Hello, Ragin' Cajuns! I am incredibly pleased to present our inaugural newsletter to you. I welcome everyone to our spaces, technologies, services, and collections. Our expert faculty and staff are focused on helping you succeed here at UL Lafayette and beyond. Dupré Library is for everyone, regardless of major, status or department. Our mission is to facilitate the access to and use of information in all forms—physical and virtual. Our faculty and staff have the knowledge and experience to help you identify information and the technologies to appropriately use it. As we prepare for our future, we look forward to further enhancing the library. To that end, we plan to reconceive our spaces, making them more comfortable and attractive, and enhance their usefulness for learning, studying, and engaging with technology. Our collections will grow in areas that reflect evolving knowledge and scholarship. The library will become a nexus for intellectual and social discovery, digital skills development, and information fluency. We ask you to help us create our future by sharing your thoughts. Do not be afraid to tell us what you would like to see in the library. What are the information resources and technologies that you need to succeed? What kinds of spaces help you to study? How can the library support research (e.g. data services; bibliometrics; publishing services) Can you see the library as a place to learn valuable academic and career skills? Let us know. In the coming months and years, keep an eye out for new spaces and services. I look forward to seeing you.

—Brian Doherty, Dean of University Libraries