FALL 2015

Growing Library & ITS Collaboration

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Over the last two summers, several spaces in O'Neill Library were renovated. While all of these projects reflected changing service needs and resulted in improved spaces, the less visible story is about the growing collaboration between the Libraries and Information Technology Services.

In the Spring of 2013, planning began for closing the ITS-run Campus Technology Resource Center (CTRC) computer lab to make room for the Center for Teaching Excellence. While use of the CTRC space had dropped over the years, many of its functions and services remained busy, including the Help Center, Walk-In Help Desk, printing, and support for specialized software. These critical services needed a home, but rather than simply finding a place to put them, both ITS and the Libraries explored ways to use this transition to improve the user experience. We envisioned high profile service points, co-located services, and enough cross-training so that users are never in the "wrong" place.

Last summer, the Library Digital Studio opened as a place for some of the specialized software and hardware needed for student projects and digital scholarship. Most people don't see the offices on the other side of the wall, and most would not know that both Library and ITS staff share this space. Support for the Digital Studio relies on expertise from both groups, and sharing the same office space allows both teams to learn from each other. Sharing space like this also enhances the user experience through collaboration across these teams.

This summer's projects included moving the ITS Walk-In Help Center to the third floor, redesigning the printing area, adding a consulting area, and installing a shared Circulation & IT Help desk; a single service point. The new arrangement places the busiest services in the most visible locations. There are now clear sight lines between the Circulation desk, Reference desk, and ITS Help Center. By creating a new, shared space for Circulation and IT Help, the easiest questions can be answered without the need to refer people elsewhere. With the addition of the consulting area, staff from Circulation, ITS and Reference may now work with users in a setting that is more comfortable and private than standing at a desk. This will be especially welcome when the necessary help takes longer than a few minutes.

It is important to note that the effort to create these new spaces was the product of excellent collaboration between the Libraries and ITS staff. The success of these complex construction and service projects is due to the hard work of many people. We are very fortunate to work with such great people, and we offer our heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved.

The Libraries and ITS continue to explore ways that our collaboration can improve the user experience for all of our services. We hope you enjoy the new spaces, and please let us know if you have suggestions for making library and technology support even better.

Scott Britton
Associate University Librarian for Public Services

Scott Cann
Technology Director, ITS Support Services