TRECKER LIBRARY HOURS FOR 2012 FALL SEMESTER FINALS

Friday December 7 —   10 am  to  9 pm*
Saturday December 8 — 10 am to 9 pm*
Sunday December 9 — Closed
Monday December 10 — 8 am to 9 pm*
Tuesday December 11 — 8 am to 9 pm*
Wednesday December 12 — 8 am to 9 pm*
Thursday December 13 — 9 am to 9 pm
Friday December 14 — 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday December 15 — 10 am to 5 pm

Notes:

* indicates days with expanded hours.

Other Library Hours are available via the Campus Library Hours link at the right.

If the weather is questionable please call ahead, 860-570-9024, before coming.

We wish you a happy end of semester!

William Uricchio — Library Director

VIRTUAL FOCUS GROUP PROJECT PLANTS 500 TREES IN AFRICA

This year’s Greater Hartford Library Virtual Focus Group (see previous entry) got off to a challenging start with Hurricane Sandy and then a Nor’easter interrupting campus and library operations.  Prior to those weather events, we had offers to participate from 20 students.  At the start of the focus group process, however, only six had signed up to receive the necessary instructions.

To help “grease the wheels”, we discussed offering some kind of participation incentive which would increase our focus group numbers while at the same time providing an additional benefit to others.  We felt this kind of incentive would have a broader appeal than say $10 gift cards or other small monetary rewards.

We centered on an organization called Trees for the Future  http://www.treesforthefuture.org which plants trees in some of the world’s most challenged environments.  We settled on West Africa as a good place for our incentive,  checked with a Peace Corps volunteer who works there who spoke very highly of Trees for the Future, and announced we would plant 25 trees for each participant, up to 500 trees total.

The involvement of 12 participants translated into 300 trees.  We were so thrilled by the quality of their responses, however, we increased our donation to 500 trees which is a “grove” according to Trees for the Future.  The grove will be planted in the Kaolack district of Senegal — a very hot and dusty place much in need of shade  according to the Peace Corps volunteer who assisted us.

A green arrow points to Kaolack, Senegal

A green arrow points to Kaolack, Senegal

Please join with us in celebrating the outcome of our Virtual Focus Group and the good it has done both locally and in a very far off place  http://www.treesforthefuture.org/projects/senegal/.

William Uricchio — Library Director

LIBRARY VIRTUAL FOCUS GROUP PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR SPACE PLANNING

Our thanks go to 12 students, a mix of grads and undergrads, who participated in our Virtual Focus Group about library space. During the 10 days of activity we received 94 different comments concerning the size, usability and comfort our group study, quiet study, media, and other locations.

The Virtual Focus Group, still somewhat experimental,  is a process which uses internet based blog software to emulate an in-person focus group discussion (but with everyone getting a chance to “talk” without that interrupting big mouth at the table who seems to be part of every in-person focus group).

The focus groups were designed several weeks ago and were implemented at about the same time at each of the five regional campuses.  A few days after the Greater Campus effort began, we received a surprise announcement that plans were underway to move the campus to downtown Hartford.  This made the collection of library space information more pressing because, almost immediately following the announcement, our gears shifted from attention to improving our present facility to designing a new one from the ground up, a daunting task to say the least.

Responses Summary (By Question):

What is your favorite place to study by yourself in the library?  The glass-wall Quiet Study Room has a large number of fans who tout not only its quiet but also that it tends to draw others who like and respect the quiet atmosphere.  A number of respondents wanted to see more computers in the Quiet Study Room.

 

When you study with a friend do you choose a different space to study than when you are by yourself?  This depends on the kind of studying being done.  Quiet study people gravitate to that dedicated space.  Students working with others like the group study rooms which often are reasonably quiet even with groups in them.

 

If you are in a group project, where does your group choose to work in the library?  The large and small Group Study Rooms, the Social Work History Room, and the individual study rooms all have fans who generally praise them.  Some use each of these spaces depending on what kind of project they are working on.  Several comments criticized the claustrophobic nature of the smaller, individual rooms and the lack of chairs/tables in the Small Group Study Room.

 

Do you like to visit the library to socialize with others?  Most respondents were firm that they generally do not socialize in the library and that they wish others would not socialize also.  Quiet is valued very highly. The campus cafeteria was mentioned as the proper place to socialize.

 

Do you have any comments/suggestions about library spaces?   Popular comments were for more computers and more electrical outlets.

The following were among desired items:  A Husky Bucks machine; cleaner tables especially in the group study rooms; regularly updated computer software; DVDs and media which are more visible; and more instructions in the Media Room.

Sample Comments Included:

“I like to study in the Quiet Study area when it’s for a midterm or final but I like working in the group study area mainly because there are more people to study with and the chairs are comfortable. It would be better if there were more computers.”

“I like the individual study rooms but I’m a bit claustrophobic and they are kind of small. I like the rooms because it is quiet and I can actually get work done. If they were bigger that would be more helpful because then I can spread my work out. The rooms should be big enough for one person but small enough where it isn’t a group study room.”

“The group study rooms upstairs are ideal for studying with a friend because students are allowed to talk and the noise volume isn’t overwhelming.”

Socializing is an “absolutely inappropriate use of the library. If you want to socialize, go to the undergrad building. Real students have work to do, and don’t need you being obnoxious.”

I “used to meet up with a friend in the room to the left on the second floor. Also meet with my English teacher for peer editing sessions in the private rooms off of that room.”

“I want beanie chairs so I can comfortably relax and read!!!!”

Next Steps:

The information gathered via the Virtual Focus Group is already being put to use in initial planning for the new campus library.  In particular, based on focus group results and other source materials, attention is being  placed on the number and variety of learning/study spaces as we consider square footage allocations.

Down the road, we hope to be able to provide other opportunities for the voices of our clientele to be heard as we consider the best ways to meet your personal and academic needs.

William Uricchio,  Library Director

JOIN OUR FALL 2012 VIRTUAL FOCUS GROUP AND HELP AFRICA!

Greetings Greater Hartford Campus Graduate and Undergraduate Students!  The Trecker Library is looking for information about how you use the Library when you visit.  We especially want to know if you find our spaces comfortable and whether or not our spaces meet your needs.

To encourage participation I will pay for the planting of 25 trees per participant, up to 500 trees, in Senegal, West Africa!

We are using an experimental technique called a Virtual Focus Group (VFG) which is based on  internet  blog software (see previous entry on this blog).   VFG users will converse with one another just like in a regular focus group but without a requirement for everyone to meet in the same place at the same time.  Earlier VFGs received high marks from participants who found them both easy and interesting to use.

The VFG has been rescheduled to November 7 to 16.  To participate you just need to respond to five questions and then go back in two more times and either add additional comments or respond to the comments of others.  Of course, you can then visit the blog as many times as you wish until it closes.

The information we receive will be used to plan improvements to the library to make it better for you.

Right now I need to know who is interested in helping us.  Please send me an e-mail with your full name, your status as a grad or undergrad, and which program you are affiliated with.  I will then create a mailing list so I can send more detailed instructions.  Your name and contact information will be kept confidential.

I look forward to hearing from  you!  Thanks very much for your assistance!

Bill Uricchio, Library Director
William.uricchio@lib.uconn.edu

ps — I’ll post the number of trees to be planted at this blog when the activity is concluded.

INFORMATION UNIVERSE @ TRECKER LIBRARY

ImageDid you know that our Campus once had a championship basketball team?  Or that Charles Dickens ate supper in Hartford?  Or that you can make professional looking graphics in minutes on your computer for free?

The Trecker Library is beginning a new series of brief information sessions on a variety of topics.  Sessions are about 40 minutes long and will cover the history of the campus, introductions to free or low cost software, tips on database searching, and other subjects.  The overall program is tentatively called:  “Information Universe @ Trecker Library”.

The first three sessions, listed below, are being held in the Library’s Social Work History Room, directly opposite the Library’s main doors.  They will happen from 12:45 pm to 1:20 pm.  Due to the nature of the room, seating is limited.

The first sessions are:

“The History of the Greater Hartford Campus:  A PowerPoint Show”.   Over 100 pictures are used to trace the colorful history of the campus, including its championship sports teams,  beginning in 1939.   Wednesday, February 22 & Thursday, February 23.

“Searching the Hartford Courant Historical Database, 1764-1986”.  This session will show how to key-word search articles, advertisements, photos, obituaries, and more,  in our country’s “Oldest Continuously Published Newspaper”.  Wednesday, February 29 & Thursday, March1.

“An Introduction to Photofiltre”.  An experienced user will show the basics of this popular and free graphics program which can to used to edit photographs, create graphics from scratch, make flyers, and more.  Wednesday, March 7 & Thursday, March 8.

If the weather is dicey on the day of one of the sessions please call the Library at 860-570-9024 to confirm the schedule.

We will send campus e-mails to announce upcoming sessions and also list them on this blog.  If you have topics of particular interest which we should consider, please let me know!

Bill Uricchio, Library Director
william.uricchio@uconn.edu

LIBRARY EXHIBITS CELEBRATED CONNECTICUT’S WOMEN INDUSTRIAL WORKERS

Two recent exhibits celebrated historical aspects of Connecticut women who worked and now work in heavy industry.

All in a Day’s Work:
Photographs of Women in Connecticut Industry from the collections of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

 

Women in Connecticut have a long and rich history as workers. Their traditional place was in their own homes, where nearly all household goods and services produced were done so through women’s labor. The Industrial Revolution ushered in a new role, that of paid worker, and women entered the workforce in significant numbers. Economically disadvantaged women augmented their household income by working in the textile mills and industrial factories that proliferated across Connecticut. By 1900, 1 in 5 females over age 10 were paid workers, and 25% of them worked in manufacturing.

The influx of southern and eastern Europeans between 1880 and 1920 to Connecticut brought thousands of immigrants into the workforce, including women, eager to contribute to newly established households. As did their American-born counterparts, immigrant women employed in manufacturing faced grueling workdays, hazardous working conditions, and substantially lower pay than men. Yet, work brought with it a sense of empowerment and wage-work provided the immigrant woman a new found freedom that was often not tolerated in the old country.

War accelerated opening the gates to women’s work in industry. During World War I the need for war goods and the absence of men of fighting age gave women new opportunities. But the gains did not last. After the war, returning soldiers expected their jobs back and there was enormous pressure for women to return to their domestic sphere. Most of them did. That pressure remained through the Depression when national sentiment strongly favored men holding the few jobs that were available.

World War II again brought women into industry in large numbers, many becoming skilled factory workers in jobs previously held only by men. The prohibition of married women holding paid jobs faded only as women reassured the country that they were still maintaining their homes and families. The home was still very much the woman’s responsibility, but it was increasingly possible for women to hold down a day job as well.

African-American women forged an alternate path in the workforce. In the late 19th century African-American women worked outside the home in higher percentages than white women, but they were less likely to gain employment in factories. Most worked in agriculture or as domestics. Manufacturing jobs were for the most part racially segregated until the Civil Rights era.

About the Photographs

The photographs in this exhibit were from the Business History Collections in Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center of the University of Connecticut in Storrs. These collections illustrate Connecticut’s rich history as a leader in business and industry, and represent the diverse nature of the state’s industries, ranging from textile mills to complex technology. Many of the companies had their start as family-owned and operated small businesses and evolved into nationally known producers of such products as brass, hardware, machine tools, cutlery, clocks and watches, silk and other textiles, and toiletries. The collections are composed of a wide variety of materials including administrative and financial records, maps and facilities drawings, and advertising samples, as well as thousands of photographs depicting the diversity of workers and their work.

“We Can Do It”

was a short video slide show highlighting women who worked in Hartford area defense industries during World Wars I & II.  Produced by the Trecker Library, it saluted both the “All In a Day’s Work Exhibit” and also the fact that UConn’s Hartford Campus played a significant role in the education of thousands (literally) of men and women moving from civilian to defense occupations during the war years.

GREATER HARTFORD CAMPUS GRAD and UNDERGRAD STUDENTS: New Virtual Focus Group Process To Begin — Please Join Us!

Please join our new Virtual Focus Group — It’s fast, easy, and will help us provide better library service!  Volunteers will  receive a nifty, suitable for framing, declaration of achievement.

Last spring’s very successful Virtual Focus Group activity (see earlier post)  has already led to some improvements at the Trecker Library including an increasingly popular small group meeting space.  Three individual, private study spaces are also about to be implemented.  More improvements are on the way!

This time, instead of responding to questions about library space or other service issues, a new virtual focus group will be asked to help us clarify the results of a large-scale University Libraries survey conducted last fall.  You do not need to have participated in that 2010 survey process to participate now.

That survey, which came from a vendor and was not developed locally, contained some confusing language which we are having trouble interpreting.  Our expectation is that, by responding to a short list of questions, and also to the comments of others over a two week period, virtual focus group members will provide insights which will make our survey results much clearer.  It is critical for us to more fully understand that survey because it is one of the most important planning tools used by the University Libraries as we strive to improve our services to better meet your needs.

At this time, we are asking for volunteers to join our new Virtual Focus Group.  You will be given a confidential web address to gain access to our survey instrument of just five questions.  We know this is a busy time so we ask only that group members visit the blog site three times (although more visits are welcome) to first respond to each of the questions and then to respond to the comments of others.

The only requirement for participation is that you currently be enrolled in one or more classes at the Greater Hartford Campus.

When the Virtual Focus Group concludes,  we will give each volunteer a colorful, personalized certificate featuring a photo of our namesake, Dean Harleigh B. Trecker.    This certificate, acknowledging your valuable assistance, will make a handsome addition to your career portfolio.

Will you help us?  Please e-mail me with your contact information and let me know if you are a graduate or an undergraduate level student.  We hope to start this process November 7th with a conclusion on the 18th.

Regards,

Bill Uricchio, Library Director  william.uricchio@uconn.edu

VIRTUAL FOCUS GROUP CONCLUDES RECENT LIBRARY SPACE SURVEY PROCESS

An experimental virtual focus group process, developed at the Trecker Library, proved to be a success resulting in six campus students, three graduates and three undergraduates, providing almost 100 detailed comments concerning library spaces and services.

Responses covered a number of topics which will be made part of planning sessions for the 2011-2012 academic year.  Suggestions for service improvements were made for 1.  The building;  2.  Copying, faxing and printing;  3. Furnishings;   4.  Group and Quiet Study Rooms;  5.  Hours;  6. Marketing and increasing library usage; 7. Printed and electronic resources; and  8. Technology.

The virtual focus group concept developed from an effort to host an in-person session with volunteer attendees.  Respondents to the initial survey were asked to indicate interest in participating in a subsequent meeting.  Twelve of the original fifty-four respondents said they were willing to do so, but efforts to gather even a subset of that number of busy people in one place at one time proved fruitless.

Instead of working with two or three members of the campus community, a library staff member used online blog software to develop an experimental “virtual” focus group.  In a nutshell, eight questions were to be posted on a specially designed blog and respondents would be invited to comment on either the questions or on the comments of others.

Six of the twelve agreed to participate and over a three week span provided some 90 useful comments and ideas, vastly extending the library’s depth of knowledge of issues to be addressed in future planning/funding cycles.  The large number of comments compared very favorably to the 12 somewhat general statements received as part of the original survey instrument.

At the conclusion of the virtual focus group,  “themes” (similar remarks from more than one respondent) within each of the categories noted above were identified.  For example, several respondents felt that students, as well as the library, would benefit from an expansion of orientation sessions to include all new students, not just incoming freshmen, as part of Trecker marketing efforts.  Library staff will now investigate the feasibility of implementing this, and a number of other very interesting suggested service improvements, in the months ahead.

Regarding the virtual focus group process itself, five of the six students who participated indicated that they found it preferable to in-person focus groups.  The one person preferring the in-person approach still rated it eight on a scale of nine for its value.  All six found the process easy to use and one commented that “I enjoyed the virtual medium so much, it gave me time to think about my answers and give good responses. I would love to answer more questions online”.

We are grateful to the six students who took time to participate.   We gained a large amount of valuable information which helps provide context to the numbers resulting from the online survey.  And we may have also discovered a relatively painless and yet productive way to inform our future planning efforts.

Bill Uricchio, Library Director

COLOR SCANNING COMES TO THE LIBRARY

Scanning services have been a frequent request from library users and we are happy to announce the arrival of BookScan, a color scanner which is available for self service and which is free.

With BookScan, you can send scanned images to your e-mail address, where they will arrive as attachments, or you can save them at the library on your  flash drive.

BookScan can convert the scanned image to a number of file formats including:   pdf, jpg, and tiff.  It can even translate printed text into Word .doc format so it can be utilized in your word processor*.

And it is VERY easy to use as shown in  this video from the Fairfield Public Library:

Please come by and try BookScan — it’s located just inside our front door.

Bill Uricchio – Library Director

*Note:  As with any text converted from an image file, users will have to examine the results very carefully.  In tests we discovered that BookScan did not covert very large fonts on a chapter title page and instead left blanks.  Also, page “71” at the bottom was converted to “7i” because the original utilized an uppercase “I” instead of a “1”.  Anyone who has used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software will recognize these as typical conversion issues.  Happily, the remainder of the text on the page was flawless.