Saturday, March 13, 2010

Week 8 - ILL and Media Services

During Week 8 of the library practicum, my time was split between Interlibrary Loan and Media Services, sub-departments to the Public Services Department. Again, I am amazed at the number of transactions taking place in the different departments. As stated from the beginning of this blog, my experience had been limited to a very small community college library.

At that time, media services were booming, especially VHS tapes. The difference in a short ten years sees the jump to DVDs with anticipation of BluRay DVDs as the newer format. The music department at ASU requires students to listen to great amounts of music, therefore, media services has numerous music CDs. Thanks to the music department who donated their vast LP (long playing vinyl album collection), media services now has thousands of LP albums in the collection as well. Even though most students would prefer music on CD or even a downloadable file, the LPs fall under copyright protection because records players are still available and the library does have record players available for checkout. Supervisor Christie unlocked a storage room of antiquated format and equipment such as reel-to-reels, and film strips. One of projects for day was to move the books-on-cassette-tape collection to the back room, because cassettes are rarely used, but not quite outdated. The most currently used types of equipment are digital cameras, records, and players. All items are cataloged for storage and checkout through the system. DVDs , VHS tapes, and books-on-CD are stored for easy browsing by Library of Congress. Other fee services are color printing, signage and posters, laminating, book binding, and punch and bind, and recording of educational television programs. I noted an inventory of equipment is completed daily and found this efficient. A physical inventory of items is completed annually.

Comparing my past experience with this library’s ILL program is quite different. Where my experience was limited to only a couple if ILLs per month, the Dean B. Ellis Library sends requests and fills requests for more than 100 items per day. Here again, within a few short years technology aids the speed and delivery of documents. Through OCLCs FirstSearch, the requesting process is simplified and responses can be filled within hours. The library uses software programs such as Prospero and Aerial for transmissions. Documents located are databases are extremely quick and easy to fill, with the print items falling back to manual location, photocopy, and either post mail, fax, or email transmission. Book items are transported by courier or mail. The department has two full time employees as well as student employees who work to expedite all interlibrary requests.

The practical experience of librarianship in a large academic library is quite an educational and pleasurable experience for me. Even though I have library experience and have completed all my LIS coursework, being able to see and work with the software programs is helps the theory come into perspective. Seeing theory in action and hearing why departments have chosen policies and procedures reinforces everything I have learned in the LIS coursework. I am pleased with the practicum at the Dean B. Ellis Library.