Update on Future of Journal Subscriptions for UConn Library – January 2023

UConn Library has been shifting over the past ten years from just-in-case collection development practices to a budget sustainable just-in-time approach for providing access to scholarly information. Journals have always required a significant source of funding, and as journal costs rose exponentially over the last two and a half decades, libraries paid for “Big Deal” journal subscription bundles with flat or reduced library budgets. This meant cutting the other materials and services that libraries provide. “Big Deal” packages were once a way for libraries to pay for access to large amounts of content at reduced rates, but the increases in costs for packages have far outpaced both inflation and library budgets. Additionally, many of the bundled journals are used very little. “Big Deals” have put pressure on the entire library budget and forced academic libraries to eliminate staff, programming, and support services. This is unsustainable.

Every research library regularly cancels journals or ends publisher contracts, including schools such as MIT, Purdue, and UNC Chapel Hill, to stay within their budgets. In the Fall of 2020, Dean Langley and Provost Lejuez convened the Future of Journals Committee, including administrators, faculty, and staff to assess journal subscriptions at UConn with an eye on strategies that would yield a viable long-term solution. The committee-approved pilot project was successful and we began the first phase of Future of Journals in 2021. We are in year three of a six-year implementation schedule. Each year different publisher contracts are not renewed, and we purchase articles on demand, quickly and conveniently, with access paths only slightly different than before. Because publishers limit how we provide articles, you may have to alter how you search and request materials. We have created a guide to help you learn the most efficient methods.

Consistent with the Future of Journal timeline, we did not renew our bundled contract with Elsevier, which expired at the end of 2022. What does this mean for your access to journal articles found in Elsevier and other subscriptions that have not been renewed? Using past use data and forecasting tools we predict that 85% of articles most frequently requested will be available immediately. If an article is not, it can be requested by any member of the UConn community via Interlibrary Loan. Faculty and graduate students have expedited access to articles from a subset of publishers. Depending on where the article comes from, most items will be delivered within five minutes (or less) to an hour. The Library will annually review article usage statistics and other criteria to assess the most cost effective models for access.

We can now manage the Library budget without the burden of the unsustainable increasing costs of journal subscriptions and we’ve been fielding questions and giving presentations to other academic libraries interested in our implementation of this expedited process. It continues to be a top priority for UConn Library to support the research mission of the University. The Future of Journals approach has given UConn the flexibility to be nimble in how we provide access to the library materials you need as the publishing landscape continues to change.

 You can learn more about the Future of Journals at https://lib.uconn.edu/research/collections/future-of-journals/ and we encourage you to email us your feedback and/or questions at journalsfeedback@uconn.edu.

Finals never looked so good – Paws to Relax at the Homer Babbidge Library

Get your study on AND a little love from some of our favorite four-legged friends (well, maybe besides Jonathan, Tildy, & Carson.) These doggos and their humans will be camped out on the first floor of Homer Babbidge, Monday – Friday, December 12-16 from 12-5pm to help relieve a little of the end of semester stress. Stop by, hang out, and get (and give) a little love.

Monday December 12
12-1pm – Gracie (Pug)
1-2pm – Willow (Foxhound)
2-3pm – Finn (Labradoodle)
3-4pm – Cassie (Golden Retriever)
4-5pm – Benny (Shih-Tzu)

Tuesday December 13
12-1pm – CC & Jake (Irish Wolfhounds)
1-2pm – Andy (Golden Retriever)
2-3pm – Tegan (Welch Springer Spaniel)
3-4pm – Kammy (Keeshond)
4-5pm – Sawyer (Akita)

Wednesday December 14
12-1pm – Sheena (Hound Mix)
1-2pm – Mica (Retriever Mix)
2-3pm – Finley (Yellow Lab)
3-4pm – Seneca (Yellow Lab)
4-5pm – Wrigley (Newfoundland)

Thursday December 15
12-1pm – Brody (Shetland Sheepdog)
1-2pm – Raena (Rottweiler)
2-3pm – Shadow (Cocker Spaniel)
3-4pm – Cora (Bernese Mountain Dog)
4-5pm – Brody (Shetland Sheepdog)

Friday December 16
1-2pm – Millie (Spaniel Mix)
2-3pm – Summit (English Lab)
3-4pm – Mazzie (Cocker Spaniel)
4-5pm – Tori (Golden Retriever)

New eResources at the Library – Fall 2022

UConn Library has acquired permanent online access to hundreds of scholarly journal archives, 2,000 scholarly books, 1,200 documentary films, and hundreds of thousands of pages of primary sources across a wide range of subjects. Unlimited access is available to all UConn faculty, students, and staff at all campuses and remote locations.  

If you have questions about any of these resources, please contact ermsupport@uconn.edu or your subject specialist. 

Streaming Videos

The Library continues to build a streaming video collection, purchasing collections (when possible) that support the curriculum. Faculty can also request course assigned individual streams, see Requesting Library Electronic Resources – Streaming Videos. The following collections are part of the Library’s permanent collection. 

DocuSeek Complete Collection 
The Library added approximately 600 new releases from DocuSeek through 2023. These new titles enhance the current 2400+ documentary film collection from leading film producers and distributors, including Bullfrog Films, Icarus Films, Good Docs, Women Make Movies, National Film Board of Canada, and independent filmmakers globally, such as the complete filmography of India’s foremost documentarian, Anand Patwardhan. Find titles that cover environmental studies, sociology, anthropology, global studies, area studies, women’s studies, history, political science, health, psychology, and the arts. 

Screenshot from DocuSeek Complete Collection

Film Platform Collection 
This collection includes 2020-2022 releases of Oscar nominated and film festival winning documentaries from international film makers and film distributors. Topics cover environmental science, media studies, women’s studies, and sociology, and include popular titles such as RBG, The Hunting Ground, Dolores, and John Lewis: Good Trouble

Scholarly eBooks

The Library continues to build a responsive ebook collection, by adding scholarly publisher ebook collections that support the curriculum. Faculty can also request individual ebooks, see Requesting Library Electronic Resources – ebooks.  

The Library added 300 scholarly ebooks to our permanent ebook collection by the following publishers*: 

  • Harvard University Press 2022 
  • Iberoamericana Vervuert 2021-2022(in Spanish) 
  • University of Chicago Press 2022 
  • Yale University Press 2022 

The Library also provides temporary access to hundreds ebooks from the following major academic publishers/vendors*. The library will secure permanent access to highly used and faculty requested ebooks from these collections. 

  • JSTOR (all publication dates) 
  • Elsevier frontlist (2018-2021) 
  • Oxford University Press (2015-2023) 
  • ProQuest ebooks (scoped collection) 

*Some publishers hold back certain titles for library purchase, such as textbooks. 

Serial archives and primary sources

The Library regularly adds online journal, magazine and primary source archives to the permanent collection based on curricular need, usage, and available funds. 

Image of 'Contemporary Open Air Museum" article from Art and Architecture Archives
from the Art and Architecture Archives

Art and Architecture Archives 
Includes articles from magazines covering art and architecture published between 1895-2015. 

Artforum Archive 
Includes articles from ArtForum published from 1962-2020. 

Ethnomusicology Global Field Recordings 
Includes audio recordings, film footage, field notebooks, and interviews covering various aspects of music as it relates to culture. 

LGBT Magazine Archive 
Includes articles from journals covering LGBT interests from 1954-2015. 

Le Monde 
Le Monde Archives 12/19/1944 until 12/30/2000 

Selection of cover images found in the LGBT Magazine Archive
From the LGBT Magazine Archive

Elsevier Journal Backfiles – Environmental Sciences/Clinics 
Permanent online access to the full text of Elsevier-published ejournal backfiles in Environmental Sciences and additional Clinics series. 

American Medical Association Journal Backfiles 
Permanent online access to the full text of 11 AMA-published ejournal backfiles from their first volume and issue through 1997, which includes the complete backfiles of JAMA. 

Periodical Archive Online 
Includes articles from periodicals covering the humanities. 

Comings & Goings at the UConn Library – Academic Engagement

The pandemic has reshaped the work environment in unprecedented ways, forcing organizations to adapt to a new way of working. The UConn Library is no different. Since March of 2020 we have shifted access to collections, increased online outreach, created new programming, and found new ways of working with each other and our communities. We have also seen an incredible shift in staffing. We have been fortunate enough to welcome several new staff members, said good luck to others moving to other institutions, wished many a happy retirement, and said goodbye to a dear colleague. In the final post of this three part series, we will look at the shifts in staffing and service to our areas of work and hope you will join us celebrating the people, past and present, of the UConn Library. If you missed the first two posts in the series, they were regarding our Library Administration and Collections & Discovery areas.

Academic Engagement

The Academic Engagement area is one of the most externally facing areas in the Library, and responsible for a number of our programs and services aimed at advancing research, teaching, and learning on campus. It is also the area that has seen the most changes due to staffing over the last few years. 

We often call our Access Services unit the “face of the library” because of their role in serving our patrons through circulation & reserve related services, including staffing the iDesk in the Homer Babbidge Library. In the spring of 2020, we were fortunate enough to welcome two new staff members to help coordinate the work of the iDesk. John Cropp came by way of the University of Georgia Libraries, where he had similar job responsibilities including supervising the Circulation Desk and managing student employees. John got his MLIS from Valdosta State University and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from the University of Georgia. In addition to his responsibilities for the evening and weekend shifts in Homer Babbidge, he is also the advisor to our favorite student organization, the Homies Student Advisory Board. We also welcomed Michelle Greene to Access Service and our circulation desk. Michelle previously worked as a Library Specialist at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Michelle is currently in the Master of Science in Library Science program at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Library Science from the University of Maine at Augusta. They both jumped into an Access Services department as it was being upended during the COVID-19 pandemic. Services that were primarily based in-person, shifted online, and we had to create new protocols like sanitizing and bagging materials, scheduling pickups, and much more. Michelle and John learned the ropes from their colleagues, one of which, Steve Grigoreas will retire from the position of Access Services Associate this month. Steve began his career at UConn Library in 1992 and held various positions for the Library in his 30 years of service. Steve was also an active member of the UConn Professional Employees Association (UCPEA) union.  

The Access Services unit was led through the pandemic by Barbara Mitchell who had ushered us through many changes in the over 42 years she worked for the Library. Sadly, Barbara passed away unexpectedly in April and the loss to our institution runs deep. On June 17, we honored Barbara by inviting her family, colleagues, and former colleagues to come together and share memories around a small garden planted with a hybrid daylily called the Barbara Mitchell Daylily outside the east entrance of Homer Babbidge Library. John Cropp will be serving as Interim Head of Access Services until a formal search is launched.

Of great importance to the Library is ensuring students are successful at UConn, and the team dedicated to it is our Reference & Student Success Services unit. The unit works to support academic success and enhance the holistic student experience by connecting students to information literacy initiatives and library resources. Understanding the need on campus, we created two new student success librarian positions in July of 2021 and hired Kelsey Brown and Zach Claybaugh in those roles. This duo have been working across campus developing innovative programs and services with students in mind. Kelsey Brown’s focus is on advancing the Library’s information literacy program. Kelsey left sunny California, where she worked at the University of California, Irvine as a Library Assistant. She received a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies from California State University, Long Beach.

OER at UConn image

Zach Claybaugh’s special focus is on advancing the awareness and adoption of Open Educational Resources at UConn. Zach received his Master of Science in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, a Master of Arts in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Arts in History at West Texas A&M University.  He has most recently served as the OER & Digital Learning Librarian at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, where he played a leading role in the University’s OER efforts, worked to integrate the library in the First Year Seminar Program.

Kelsey and Zach had the opportunity to work with and learn from two veteran employees in the Reference & Student Success Services unit who retired in June. Kathy Banas-Marti was hired in 1981 as a Bibliographic Assistant in what was known as the Technical Processing Unit. She earned her MLS in 1987 and began working more in our Reference Department where she found her love of providing reference and engaging in outreach activities like mentoring students, talking with nervous parents, and being the public face of the library at events and programs across campus. An example of that gift was for 22 years she served as a UConn Connects facilitator, mentoring students on academic probation, receiving the UConn Connects Mentor Award in 2017. She continued to provide support for the technical side of things, including updating our acquisitions process from a paper environment to an automated one through the implementation of NOTIS, one of the very first integrated library systems. Later, the Library’s reorganization in 1996 brought Kathy’s skills and talents to reference once again, where she became a Reference Librarian and in 2000, the Liaison to the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. Kathy is looking forward to traveling once again in retirement. 

Also retiring from the Reference & Student Success Services unit is 37-year veteran Sheila Lafferty. Sheila had an interesting and varied career, working at most of our locations including the UConn Health Center Library, Law Library, Waterbury Library, served as director for both the Torrington Library and Avery Point campus, and most recently leading our work with information literacy and programs for First Year and new students when she moved to the Storrs campus in 2016.  She has served on numerous committees and internal teams that have helped shape our organizational strategies and profession – including the Executive Board of the Connecticut Library Association, the Information Literacy Subcommittee of GEOC, the Student Welfare Committee, and the Scholarly Communications Committee. Sheila plans to visit with family and become more involved with historical genealogical societies in retirement. 

Sheila’s work throughout our library locations highlights an important part of the UConn Library, and that is our presence in each regional campus community. This June we bid a retirement farewell to the UConn Waterbury Library Director Shelley Goldstein. Shelley began as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at the Jeremy Richard Library at UConn Stamford before serving as the Director of the UConn Waterbury Library beginning in 2008.  She also served as Interim Director of the UConn Avery Point Library. Shelley was a skilled administrator, but her focus on the needs and success of all students, with a special focus on first generation and first year students is what defined much of her work. Shelley was a brilliant teacher who taught instruction sessions across disciplines too numerous to note, an expert on academic integrity, presenting on the topic at regional and national conferences throughout her career, and helped create the learning commons in the Stamford Library, She regularly participated in First Year Experience courses, and in 2021 was the inaugural winner of the One UConn FYE Teaching Award for her dedication to student success.  

Our Avery Point Library has also seen notable change in the last year. In December 2020 we welcomed Chalynne “Chay” Reed as the new Access Services Coordinator for the Avery Point Library. Prior to UConn, Chay had over 10 years of experience in public libraries including in Cromwell and Rocky Hill, and at academic libraries including Adelphi University and Trinity College. Chay worked alongside Beth Rumery until her retirement this June. Described as the “rock” of the Avery Point Library, Beth started and ended her career in Avery Point, embodying how a librarian at a regional campus library could engage with the community. Beth started her career for UConn in 2005 and in her 17 years of service she had several roles over the years, including Library Director for the Avery Point campus, Research and Instruction Librarian, Undergraduate Education Librarian, and Undergraduate Services Librarian. Some of Beth’s proudest achievements were serving as the Alliance – GSA advisor, being a student supervisor, winning the national “I Love My Librarian” Award in 2015 from the American Library Association, receiving the Avery Point Campus “Excellence in Student Engagement and Support” Award 2018, and watching many students becoming librarians.

Image of a Hartford Campus Library study area

After years of interim support, our UConn Hartford Library will welcome a director starting in July 2022. Karen Tatarka has a rich background and wide-ranging experience and expertise in both public and academic libraries that will be a great benefit to our partnership with the Hartford Public Library. She has most recently served as the Weston Public Library Director in Weston, Connecticut and prior to that was the English and Foreign Languages and Literatures Librarian at Auburn University. But what we love the most is that she launched her career in librarianship in our very own Jeremy Richard Library in UConn Stamford. Karen holds a MLS from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master of Arts in English from Fordham University.

Also from our Hartford Campus Library, Steve Batt resigned from his position as Reference and Instruction Librarian in April. Steve’s career at the Library began in 1997 and in his time with us he served in a wide variety of capacities and roles, including as Data Visualization Librarian, Coordinator for the Federal Depository Library Program, and Reference and Instruction Librarian. Drawing on deep expertise in a variety of disciplines as well as in data access, organization, and visualization, Steve most recently served as the liaison to English and Public Policy for the Hartford campus, and as liaison to Geography, Journalism, and Political Science on the Storrs campus, as well as to Geosciences in a general information role. Steve was also involved with the operation of the Connecticut State Data Center and the Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC). 

Following the retirement of Sharon Giovenale in October of 2019 after 30 years of service, we were fortunate to hire Roslyn Grandy to fill the shoes of Pharmacy Librarian. Roslyn was our first all-online search during the pandemic, and started in August of 2020. Roslyn holds a Masters of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University, a Master of Science in Communication Management and Media from The College of New Rochelle, and Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University. Before joining UConn, she was the Reference and Publications Librarian at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), where she managed the BNL institutional repository, conducted literature searches and compiled bibliometric data for researchers in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, and computer science, and managed circulation services for the BNL print collection. 

In addition to her role in supporting the School of Pharmacy, Roslyn is also a member of our Research Services unit, which has seen significant changes. The Research Services librarians couple disciplinary knowledge with information expertise to advance the research, teaching, and learning of UConn students, faculty, and staff. Their subject expertise is sought after by students, faculty, and the community alike. In the coming and going of staff, we have filled some of the subject roles that were vacated, and used the openings as an opportunity to add new subject specialties needed at UConn. 

Part of the changes to the unit start at the top, with new leadership under Samuel Boss. Sam joined the UConn Library as Head of Research Services in October 2020.  Sam holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison, a Master’s degree in History from SUNY Brockport, and bachelors’ degrees in History and English from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Sam has extensive professional experience including his most recent position as Director of the Northern Vermont University Libraries, Director at Lyndon State College, Public Services Librarian at Lyndon State College, and Outreach & Public Services Librarian at the Guangzhou Library in Guangzhou, China.  

Most recently, two valued members of the Research Services unit retired. In March 2022 Carolyn Mills, Open Access, Authors Rights & Sciences Librarian, retired after 26 years of service. Carolyn began her career as Biology Librarian and added several subject areas along the way, including Agriculture, Pathobiology, Natural Resources, Environmental Science, and Agriculture and Resource Economics. Furthermore, in her time at UConn Carolyn provided excellent leadership in a variety of roles including, serving as head of the sciences liaison team (2008-2015), serving as the UConn lead for an Ithaka S+R study of research needs of agriculture faculty (2016), and as a grant co-principal investigator on a National Library of Medicine grant with a colleague from Boston College for sponsoring community Software Carpentry and Software Data workshops. Carolyn also played an important leadership role in the area of Scholarly Communications on behalf of the UConn Library.

Two months later in June, Valori Banfi, Grant Funding & Sciences Librarian (Nursing & Allied Health), retired. Val has supported the School of Nursing as a subject specialist since 2007. Her prior experience as a librarian for both Internal Medicine at Hartford Hospital and Houston Academy of Medicine – The Texas Medical Center Library meant very little time was needed to earn the trust and respect of the School of Nursing. Val was an active member of both the UConn Nursing and Library communities, and her tenure is marked by numerous collaborations on both grant-related and health informatics workshops. She also served in temporary roles as liaison to Psychology and Allied Health, and served as our Citation Management Specialist.

While we feel the loss of Carolyn and Val as part of our research services team, we have had the fortune to hire several new librarians in areas of need across UConn. 

Edward Lim joined the UConn Library as Business and Entrepreneurship Librarian in March 2020. Due to the pandemic, it took him some time to move from Singapore to Connecticut, but it was worth the wait. Edward came to UConn after serving as the Reference and Research Services Librarian for Business at New York University Shanghai and, prior to that, as Business Librarian at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2011-2017). Edward holds a Master of Science in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University and is a published scholar on Chinese data sets, web usability, and professional development. His role at UConn is to support the UConn School of Business, Department of Economics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Peter J. Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Hilary Kraus joined us in August 2020 as a Research Services Librarian primarily supporting the departments of Kinesiology and Psychological Sciences. She has also taken on the role of Citation Management Specialists from Valori Banfi. Hilary holds a Master of Science in Information from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.  She has most recently served as Librarian for Nursing and Health at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Hilary’s extensive professional experience also includes service in a range of professional capacities at Johnson & Wales University, Bryant University, DePaul University, and Loyola University. She is an active member of the profession, publishing and presenting on professional development, health sciences librarianship, instruction, and other areas. 

Fyiane Nsilo-Swai was hired in January 2022 as a Research Services Librarian to support the various disciplines in the social sciences. Fyiane received a Master of Library & Information Science from the University of Rhode Island in 2000, she completed a graduate practicum at the Dinand Science Library at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts that same year, and holds a Bachelor of Science with a major in Agricultural Resource Economics at UConn. In her most recent position as Reference & Instruction Librarian at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, Connecticut, she served as coordinator of the information literacy program, collaborating with library and faculty colleagues on designing research assignments. One such collaborative activity culminated in the publication of the book chapter, “Undergraduate Research and the Academic Librarian: Case Studies and Best Practices” published by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2017.

Stephanie Birch was also hired in January 2022 as a Research Services Librarian to serve as liaison to Africana Studies. Stephanie received a Master of Library Science and a Master of Arts in African Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2016. Additionally, she received a Master of Arts in History from the University of Illinois, Springfield in 2012 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2010. In her most recent position at the University of Florida, Stephanie served as African American Studies Librarian, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program subject liaison, and affiliate faculty with the Center for Gender, Sexualities & Women’s Studies Research where she was a collaborative partner on timely and important projects such as the Intersections on Mass Incarceration grant project. 

Jennifer Schaefer joined us in March 2022 as a Research Services Librarian to serve as the liaison to Latina/o, Caribbean, Latin American, and Spanish Studies. This role was previously held by Marisol Ramos, who left UConn in May 2020 to join the staff at the University of California Santa Barbara as their Latin American and Iberian Studies Librarian. Jennifer received a Ph.D. in History from Emory University in 2015, a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago in 2008, and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Brown University in History (Honors) and Comparative Literature in English and Spanish in 2007. Jennifer comes to the UConn Library with a laudable record of publication and professional engagement and has significant experience in both producing and supporting digital scholarship.

In this final post in the three part series, UConn Library Comings & Goings we hope you got a glimpse of the changes to our staffing since March of 2020. If you missed the other two posts, they highlighted the changes in Library Administration and Collections & Discovery.

Comings & Goings at the UConn Library – Collections & Discovery

The pandemic has reshaped the work environment in unprecedented ways, forcing organizations to adapt to a new way of working. The UConn Library is no different. Since March of 2020 we have shifted access to collections, increased online outreach, created new programming, and found new ways of working with each other and our communities. We have also seen an incredible shift in staffing. We have been fortunate enough to welcome several new staff members, said good luck to others moving to other institutions, wished many a happy retirement, and said goodbye to a dear colleague. In the second of this three part series, we will look at the shifts in staffing and service to our areas of work and hope you will join us celebrating the people, past and present, of the UConn Library. If you missed the first post, it was regarding our Library Administration area.

Collections & Discovery

Connecting you to the world of resources is at the heart of what our Collections & Discovery area does. The units within the area focus on digital imaging, conservation, collections acquisitions and discovery, and building our archives and special collections. 

In September 2020 we were fortunate enough to hire Roxanne Peck to lead the area as Associate University Librarian for Collections & Discovery. Roxanne has over 25 years of experience in academic libraries and came to us from the University of California San Diego where she was the program director for the Content Acquisition and Resource Sharing (CARS) Department. Roxanne’s talents served the Library well for the year and a half she worked for the Library, including helping us lead the forward progress on the Future of Journals Project and the significant challenge of finding and implementing a more sustainable model for providing access to resources. Roxanne will be leaving in July to become the Assistant Director of the Hoover Institution Library and Archives.

Other staff changes in the area include the retirement of Fred Rick in July 2020. Fred began at the UConn Library in 1985 after coming to UConn as a graduate student in Political Science. In the 34 years Fred worked for the Library, he worked at the same desk (lovingly dubbed Old Sturbridge Village by Fred himself), ensuring our physical materials were properly cared for, labeled, and bound. So if you ever found a book on the shelves, you can thank Rick. 

The maintenance of our physical collections did not stay static long. This past January 2022, we were fortunate to add Ellen Pikora to our team. Ellen has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh, and was both a library assistant at the Cromwell Belden Library and the Manchester Public Library when she was hired. 

The building of our collections, both physical and digital, is an important piece of this area’s goals, and at the heart of Michael Rodriguez’s work. Michal began his career at the UConn Library as Electronic Resources Librarian in February 2016. Michael led transformative initiatives at UConn and was equally active in local, regional, and national levels. The Library promoted Michael in 2019 to a newly created position, Collections Strategist. In that role he led efforts to make our scholarly resources more responsive to changing budgets and user needs, elevate the impact and diversity of our collections, and deepen our partnership with regional and national initiatives. Michael was also recently highlighted in UConn Today for his work on writing scores of Wikipedia articles, bringing long overdue attention to women, African Americans, and other historical figures in UConn and Connecticut history. Michael left the UConn Library in May 2022 to become Content and Scholarly Communication Strategist at LYRASIS.

Cover of Guiding Principles and Pathways for IDEA in Collections

And a conversation about our collections is never complete without talking about our nationally recognized Archives & Special Collections. Our archives team documents the human experience through manuscripts, letters, photographs, maps, and so much more to help students, scholars, and the public learn from the past and understand the present. The archives team has been led by Rebecca Parmer since 2018 and in those four years she became an indispensable member of the UConn Library community through her leadership, vision and accomplishments. She was a strong advocate for ASC’s instructional program, guiding efforts to develop and implement modular educational frameworks that brought excitement and enthusiasm for integrating primary source collections into the classroom. She was also deeply involved with Library initiatives including being a member of the UConn Library’s Strategic Framework Steering Committee and then as a member and co-chair of the inaugural Implementation Team. She also co-chaired the IDEA in Collections Working Group, along with Michael Rodriguez and Rhonda Kauffman, to develop definitions, guiding principles, and recommended pathways for building inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) into all aspects of library collections management and development. Rebecca left the Library in May 2022 to join the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library as the director of their research library. 

Comings & Goings at UConn Library – Library Administration

The pandemic has reshaped the work environment in unprecedented ways, forcing organizations to adapt to a new way of working. The UConn Library is no different. Since March of 2020 we have shifted access to collections, increased online outreach, created new programming, and found new ways of working with each other and our communities. We have also seen an incredible shift in staffing. We have been fortunate enough to welcome several new staff members, said good luck to others moving to other institutions, wished many a happy retirement, and said goodbye to a dear colleague. In the first of this three part series, we will look at the shifts in staffing and service to our areas of work and hope you will join us celebrating the people, past and present, of the UConn Library. 

Library Administration / Office of the Dean 

At the core of all UConn Library daily work and strategic initiatives, the Library Administration area provides critical support in financial management, digital infrastructure, communications, assessment, maintenance, and security across our facilities. 

Homer Babbidge Library North Entrance
A view inside the North Entrance of the Homer Babbidge Library.

The security of our facilities is an important function of Library Administration. Primarily responsible for the 500,000 square feet across seven floors of the Homer Babbidge Library, our buildings and grounds crew have a lot of physical ground to cover. They also have a lot of time to cover. Open more than 4,800 hours a year, including 24/7 hours during finals, they are responsible to keep the average of 1.3 million visitors safe. 

Since 2020, there have been several shifts in staffing among our facilities and security crew. In July 2020, Mike Slowik retired after working at UConn for 21 years, starting in UITS as a computer operator up until May of 2000, when he left UConn to start his own business as a custom cabinet maker and carpenter. We drew Mike back to the University in 2012 as a buildings and grounds officer where he remained through his career. You can now find him on the beach in South Carolina spoiling himself and his grandkids. 

In July 2021, Joseph Clark, who had been part of the buildings and grounds crew for three years, said goodbye to Connecticut and hello to new adventures in Michigan. We also wished Bill Haalck a happy retirement most recently in April 2022. Bill worked as security for HBL for 22 years, beginning when we used to staff the exit desk. Yes, there was a time when we checked your bags leaving the building. Students probably saw Bill the most, having the afternoon/evening shifts when the “real” studying begins. Bill is looking forward to upping his cycling game in retirement. 

With all these retirements we don’t want you to worry – we are in great hands! We have been able to hire two stellar buildings and grounds crew members over the last two years. In November 2021 we hired Ivelisse Acevedo and Tracy Bidwell. Ivelisse drew the late shift until 2am so you late-nighters will recognize her. Ivelisse has degrees in Communications and Multimedia and Technology, as well as training for CPR, First Aid, conflict resolution, and holds a black belt in Taekwondo. Tracy also started on the night shift, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education as well as Master’s Degrees in Pastoral Care and Intercultural Studies/Teaching English as a Foreign Language. We are currently hiring for another staff member to join the night crew so we can keep the doors open for all those late night hours this fall semester. 

In March of 2021, the steady hands that comprised over 70 years of combined service between Ed Chang and Hilda Drabek in our financial services unit came to an end. Hilda worked at the Library in many different capacities for more than 36 years, starting in what was known as the technical services unit at a time without computers but with typewriters, and worked throughout her career on implementing critical resources including the first automated integrated library system. Ed started his UConn career in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources where he worked for 11 years before joining the Library. In his 24 years at the Library, it seemed everyone in any financial position at UConn knew Ed. Both Hilda and Ed led us through many changes, including the complete overhaul of UConn’s financial system to Kuali. Their retirements left the intrepid team of Ryan Marsalisi and newly hired Nadeen Atiq to carry on. Nadeen Atiq was hired in July 2020 where she had previously worked as an assistant in the Southern Connecticut State University Biology Department. They expertly navigated our financial needs and were soon joined by our new Head of Financial Services Ashley Sandy in June 2021. A proud alumnus of UConn, Ashley earned both her BS and MBA, with a concentration in Finance and Management, from the UConn School of Business. Prior to joining the Library, she worked for the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE) in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR).

Also providing a necessary base for all that we do is our digital infrastructure support team. As the pandemic began, Jason Anderson started his first day online. Literally, day one was the first day we went home for the pandemic. Jason’s role as Web Services Coordinator was expertly timed as our online services have increased dramatically over the last two years. Shortly after, Jason was joined by Sarah Goldstein, in March 2021. Sarah came to UConn from Mount Holyoke College Library to lead our Digital Infrastructure Services unit. In the short time she was with us, she worked to build the necessary base for our digital services, as well as access to our collections. Sarah left the Library in February of 2022 to become the LYRASIS Partner Success Leader on their Palace Project.

CT Digital Archive: Connect, Preserve Share

In addition to providing a solid base to keep the Library running, the area is also actively involved in our strategic goals, engaging in partnerships and initiatives around UConn’s community of learners and external partners. One of those initiatives is the Digital Preservation Repository Program (DPRP), which serves the digital preservation needs of the University and the people of the State of Connecticut through Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) and the State Records Preservation Service. Mike Kemezis served as our repository manager for four years, and was instrumental in developing the CTDA membership programs and content standards along with many other parts of the program. He has become internationally recognized in the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) and digital repository communities, especially relating to copyright, and in diversity, and inclusion. In January 2022 Mike left the UConn Library to join Connecticut Humanities as the Programs and Project Manager. We are in the process of hiring for this position so keep an eye out for an announcement soon.

There was also a change in the Office of the Dean. Kristen Jones, Executive Assistant to Dean Langley, started working at the UConn Library in January 2013 and left the position this past February to join Brown University as Executive Assistant to the Provost. In March, we hired Angela Frati who came to the Library from the UConn College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, where she worked in the Department of Animal Science as an Educational Program Assistant. Her extensive experience in all aspects of business administration and operations support is a great fit for the busy Dean’s office.  

Thanks to the staff that keep the Library running smoothly! There are more changes to share, so keep an eye out next week for the second of our three part Comings and Goings series – the teams that make up our Collections & Discovery area.

Dedication of the Barbara Mitchell Memorial Garden

portrait image of Barbara Mitchell

Current and former UConn Library staff gathered on Friday, June 17th to celebrate the life of our colleague Barbara Mitchell by dedicating a memorial garden in her honor.

Barbara was a valued and respected member of the UConn Library staff for over 42 years, and passed away on April 19, 2022, a few months before her retirement. It’s impossible to work somewhere for that long and not be a part of the fabric of the institution. On what would have been her 69th birthday, we welcomed former colleagues, her family, and friends to share in our sadness and celebrate the life she lived. We heard stories about her kindness, fierce loyalty, work ethic, and her love of mentoring students and helping the public.

Image of memorial rock which reads:
Planted in memory of our colleague and friend Barbara Ann Mitchell. June 17, 1953 - April 19, 2022. UConn Library, September 4, 1979 - April 19, 2022.
Memorial rock in our new east entrance garden.

The garden, located at the east entrance of the Homer Babbidge Library, is focused around a special variety of lily called the Barbara Mitchell lily, a beautiful flower and a beautiful tribute. Introduced in 1984, the blooms are characterized as excellent performing flowers that are rich in pink with ruffled edges. They are known to survive harsh conditions that other plants cannot, which makes them a favorite among gardeners. Barbara was amused that this flower existed, and we think she would enjoy being described in a similar fashion – hearty, a few ruffled edges, well-known for her work ethic, and a favorite among colleagues.

Image of the Barbara Mitchell lily in bloom
A bloom of the Barbara Mitchell lily at the east entrance of Homer Babbidge Library.

Barbara was born in Putnam, CT to the late Lloyd, Sr. and Grace Mitchell. She was a graduate of Woodstock Academy (1971) and UConn’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (1977). She started her career at the Library in September 1979 and led our Access Services at the time of her passing. In the over 42 years of service she touched the lives of so many of us, becoming a valued colleague and mentor to students. We will miss the perfectly placed sense of humor she brought to her work, conversations about the Huskies and New York Giants, music trivia, and her love of Halloween. 

We welcome you to take a moment when you are on campus to swing by often as it continues to grow into a beautiful space.

Instant Stress Release – Paws to Relax!

Come chase the stress away with a shake, wag, and maybe a little drool….

Paws to Relax therapy dogs will be here during finals week – May 2-6 from 12-5pm each day. They are all on Level 1 in Homer Babbidge. Times and dogs are subject to change so check back if you have a favorite to visit.

Image: Paws to Relax is May 2-6, 2022 from 12-5pm in Homer Babbidge Library, Level 1. Stop by for a paw shake and ease your stress!

Monday, May 2
12-1 Dugan – Australian Shepherd
1-2 Gracie – Pug
2-3 Brody – Shetland Sheepdog
3-4 Benny – Shih-Tzu
4-5 Andy – Golden Retriever

Tuesday, May 3
12-1 Bo – Lab Mix & Millie – Spaniel Mix
1-2 Wrigley – Newfoundland
2-3 Shadow – Cocker Spaniel
3-4 Willow – Foxhound
4-5 Fireball – Golden Retriever

Wednesday, May 4
12-1 Summit – English Lab
1-2 Tegan – Welch Springer Spaniel
2-3 Finley – Yellow Lab
3-4 Seneca – Yellow Lab
4-5 Cassie – Golden Retriever

Thursday, May 5
1-2 Mica – Retriever Mix
2-3 Tori – Golden Retriever
3-4 Hunter – Shetland Sheepdog
4-5 Cora – Bernese Mountain Dog

Friday, May 6
1-2 Sawyer – Akita
2-3 Grant – Golden Retriever
3-4 Luke – German Shepherd
4-5 Luke – German Shepherd

UConn Library Backs Legislation for Equitable Access to Ebooks

The UConn Library applauds a newly introduced Connecticut General Assembly bill “to require publishers of electronic books to license such books to public libraries on reasonable terms.” The bill also covers school and academic libraries, allowing the UConn Library to acquire ebooks needed to meet the research and learning needs of our faculty, students, and staff.

image of laptop emerging from a book. shutterstock photo.

Demand has soared for library ebooks in recent years. Ebooks are a lifeline to students and scholars who are learning remotely, have a print disability, lack the ability to visit libraries in person, or appreciate the convenience of having the world of information just a click away. Regrettably, many publishers make it difficult for libraries to provide equitable access to ebooks.

  • Libraries pay up to six times what individual readers pay for an ebook. Already on tight budgets, libraries rely on taxpayer and tuition dollars to pay these exorbitant prices.
  • Publishers refuse to sell ebooks to libraries if they think the titles will be widely read or assigned to classes. As a result, faculty and students cannot access ebooks they need.
  • Publishers restrict what libraries can do with ebooks they purchase. For example, many publishers prohibit libraries from sharing ebooks through interlibrary loan.

In response, Connecticut has introduced a fair trade and consumer protection bill (S. B. 131) requiring publishers to sell ebooks to libraries on reasonable terms. The bill requires “purchase or licensing specifications that consider a publisher’s business model as well as a library’s need for the efficient use of funds in providing library services.” Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, and Tennessee have introduced or passed similar laws.

In March 2022, S. B. 131 passed the Connecticut State Senate’s Planning and Development Committee with unanimous bipartisan support (a 26-0 vote). A full Senate vote is expected before the legislation moves on to the House and then to the governor’s desk.

The UConn Library hails this bipartisan legislation to achieve equitable and affordable library ebook access for the faculty, students, and people of Connecticut. We encourage library supporters to contact their state senators and ask them to vote yes on S. B. 131.

Post written by Michael Rodriguez, Collections Strategist

Library to Participate in National Study on Video in Teaching

To meet the growing demand for streaming video in higher education, the UConn Library is participating in a nationwide research study on faculty use of video resources in teaching.

Ithaka S+R logo

Coordinated by Ithaka S+R, a not-for-profit research and consulting service, the study covers 24 colleges and universities. Participants include several of the nation’s top universities, including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Michigan. Study personnel will interview up to 360 faculty members (10-15 per institution) who teach using videos. Our own UConn-based study will span the disciplines from STEM to gender and cultural studies.

By participating in this study, the Library will gain valuable insights into these and other issues:

  • How our faculty find and select video content to meet learning goals.
  • How streaming video has influenced pedagogy and shifted expectations.
  • How our faculty’s activities and perspectives reflect or diverge from national trends.
  • How the Library can better position its services to meet these evolving needs.

The Library already provides access to tens of thousands of streaming videos. To explore the Library’s current video offerings, please visit our Databases A-Z or search our catalog

For questions about the study, please contact michael.a.rodriguez@uconn.edu.

Post written by Michael Rodriguez, Collections Strategist