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Saint Mary’s library introduces new services

| Thursday, February 6, 2014

Recently, the Cushwa-Leighton Library at Saint Mary’s has taken numerous steps to update the research functions and promote new technological advances, including a delivery service for requested books shared between the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross and Bethel College libraries, library director Janet Fore said.

“Starting Monday, this new delivery service will allow students and faculty to click on a ‘Request’ button in the online catalog shared by the libraries,” Fore said. “Unless it is already checked out, you can request a book from one of the other libraries and have it delivered and held for you at your home library, usually within one to two days.”

Another improvement that has been available since the fall semester is the OneSearch box from the Cushwa-Leighton Library’s home page, which is similar to the OneSearch box on the Hesburgh Library’s home page. This function searches the four libraries’ catalogs, a growing collection of articles from the library databases and most of the Cushwa-Leighton Library’s online journal subscriptions, Fore said.

Junior Mandy Gilbert said this function has been useful to her in searching for articles related to her nursing major.

“Whenever I have to do research or look up a book, I go immediately to the OneSearch box instead of looking for it at just one of the campuses,” Gilbert said. “I find the results I need almost instantly.”

The Cushwa-Leighton Library has also implemented an online chat box on the website, which puts students in contact with a librarian to answer all questions during reference hours, Fore said.

“Chat reference [allows students to] get help from across the room, across campus or across town,” she said.

In addition, the Library has subscribed to three new databases of streaming videos, including Academic Video Online, Films on Demand: Master Academic Collection and psychotherapy.net so more professors can use videos in their classes, Fore said.

In addition to multimedia, the Library has also been working to increase the number of journal and periodical subscriptions in electronic format.

“Currently, students can access over 7,000 eBooks,” Fore said. “More and more of our periodicals are online and accessible from anywhere, and we are looking at collections in archives that can be digitized and made available for use more easily.

“More students are being asked to find primary documents as a way of studying history and culture and archives collections are treasures awaiting deeper discovery.”

Gilbert said she is particularly excited about accessing the archives more easily.

“I don’t like eBooks as much, but I think that having the option to view the archives digitally will benefit many students,” Gilbert said. “The archives collection has so much to offer; every time I go to the basement of the Library, I can’t help but search around in all of the old medical journals and newspapers. There are some super fascinating things that go unnoticed by many students.”

Fore said she thinks the advancements are crucial to ensuring the College is consistently adapting to each student’s skills and needs.

“Using technology effectively in the educational and cultural experience is an essential part of preparing our students to be successful in her Saint Mary’s College life as she prepares herself to make a difference in the world,” she said.

The Library is also planning a remodel in the near future, a project in the Saint Mary’s fundraising campaign.

“The preliminary plans include updating the study space [on the first floor] to help students collaborate together in groups with their laptops and library computers in a more flexible space,” she said. “Additional group study rooms on the second level of the library will include large screens and allow students to display their multimedia projects and rehearse and edit presentations.

“We hope to better support the various devices that students already have as well as updating the campus technology to support the way student learn and study together.”

Gilbert said she thinks these changes will benefit collaboration between students in a significant way, while also reinforcing the importance of academics in the community.

“The Library has been essential to my learning experience here, and I am excited for all of these changes that will help more students to utilize all it has to offer,” she said.

Follow the Cushwa-Leighton Library on their new Twitter account, @Cushwa-Leighton for updates and news.

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About Kelly Konya

Kelly Konya is an English major bred on Catcher in the Rye and Roman cornettos.

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