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From Anne Kenney, University Librarian

Take One:  July 5, 2011 (Engineering Library Transitions to a Virtual Library)

For the second time in two years, another library is going “virtual.” The Engineering Library’s transition is well underway and soon will join the Physical Sciences Library as Cornell’s second virtual library. By June 29, 165,000 volumes had been relocated from Carpenter. Duplicates were withdrawn and the majority of volumes moved to the Annex. , We retained those monographs that had circulated in the last five years on central campus, with 20,000 going to Uris, 3500 to Math, 1800 to Mann and 500 to Olin.  So just what is a virtual library?  It’s many things.  Although there are few of the trappings of a physical library—no books on shelves, no circulation desk, no night closings—a virtual library retains most of the functions of its physical counterpart.  There are subject specialists onsite, who continue to assist users as in the past, enhancing their outreach efforts, and engaging in building the vision and structure for the virtual library.  They are working with colleagues on larger discovery and access projects and building customized discovery tools for researchers through CuLLR (Curated List of Library Resources) and the implementation of a Virtual Shelf Browse feature.  And, they are working collaboratively with library staff in mathematics and physical sciences. The library’s former main reading room is now open 24/7 with key card access as a study area and computer lab to anyone with a current Cornell ID.  The virtual library also provides a wealth of online scholarly resources. In the last two years the electronic collection has been strengthened considerably through reallocation from operational savings and gifts from donors, by augmenting the materials budget, and filling in online back files as one-time purchases.

Thanks to the extraordinary teamwork of the Engineering Library staff and the collaborative spirit of staff throughout the system we have made enormous progress in the transition.   While there is not space to acknowledge everyone the following folks deserve a special shout out:

Jill Ulbrich, the project leader and orchestrator whose experience with the PSL transition was invaluable;

Jill Powell assisted by Jeremy Cusker worked hard to get e-resources in place for calendar 2011 subscriptions with great help from Bill Kara’s group in CLO.

Leah Solla provided guidance with her vision from her PSL experience & facilitated the acquisition of e-resources;

Dianne Dietrich has worked with others to develop the new virtual presence for Engineering, which will be deployed this summer.

Melody Padget kept the operations going even after much of the staff had left (and we wish her well in her transition to full time student)

Catherine Velake ran a number of projects in the stacks, including withdrawing duplicates, and working with CLO to get complicated holdings records corrected.  She will be joining her former Engineering Library colleague Anne-Marie Mores at Catherwood Library. ;

Natalie Sheridan kept the home fires burning at the Math Library while all attention was focused on Engineering and supported all of the players listed above in many ways.

In addition to those noted above special thanks for working on the collection moves goes to Barbara Eden, Lydia Pettis, Barbara Tarbox, and Cammie Wyckoff.

And, last but not least, Steve Rockey whose vision and leadership, advocacy, tenacity, kindness and patience were key to this transition.

Please join me in congratulating this stellar group  their teamwork and the progress they’ve made in transitioning to a virtual library environment!

Have a healthy and productive week,


One Response to “ From Anne Kenney, University Librarian ”

  • MTaylor

    Congratulations to Jill and the rest of the team – your effort is certainly appreciated and will certainly benefit Cornell for years to come.

    I have to admit, however, that a small piece of me has a hard time letting go of the physical library (that use to reside) in Carpenter.

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