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Message from Dean Yee, January 2014

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Interface, the new e-newsletter that connects you, the faculty, to the library news, services and resources that are most important to you as a researcher and instructor at Wayne State. We would like Interface to help build a bridge for faculty to learn more about library services that can assist them or even find out about services that they didn’t even realize were offered in the Libraries.

As we recently had to make the difficult decision to close the Science and Engineering Library, a faculty member remarked to me how he would miss being able to browse the shelves to see other books offered in his subject area. Fortunately, this was something that the Libraries planned for based on feedback that we’d gotten previous to closing the SEL. I was able to let him know that we now offered a new application called Stack View and he could virtually browse a graphic representation of the library shelves from the comfort of his own laptop. In fact, with Stack View he’d see even more than he would than if he were standing in front of the shelves because our app combines the holdings of all of our libraries! It is my hope that this newsletter will make this type of information more accessible to our hardworking faculty. I understand the intense schedule of our faculty and I know it isn’t always easy to read every email from beginning to end or follow every news story on campus so it is our plan to update you twice a year with a few highlights that will enrich your experiences and interaction with the Wayne State University Libraries.

The goal of the Libraries is to provide our faculty and students access to excellent resources and services where and when they need them. We monitor how well we’re doing in meeting that goal by collecting data and listening to feedback from our users. As part of the ongoing evaluation of our services, and to make a concerted effort to keep the library resources budget as robust as possible, we recently made the difficult decision to close the Science and Engineering Library to the public. This was done after we carefully reviewed the usage of the building and its collections over the past several years while at the same time, making strategic budget reductions in our operations budget in order to maintain our resource budget.

Some of the statistics that we looked at when making our decision were: (1) gate counts for the SEL decreased by 10% per year over the past several years; (2) student computer use in the building decreased by 50% since 2008; (3) due to low volumes, the reference services were moved to the Purdy/Kresge Library in 2011; (4) course reserves were moved to the UGL when the UGL began staying open for 24 hours; and (5) about one third of the books circulated from the SEL collection were already being retrieved through the Library’s Get It! service. Closing the SEL allows us to protect the resources budget and continue to purchase much-needed resources. Since a vast number of science and engineering journals are already purchased in an electronic format, access to journal literature will remain convenient and easy. Access to most SEL collections is available through our “Get It!” Paging and electronic Document Delivery services, which deliver most requested materials within 24 hours. While closing SEL was a difficult choice to make, strategic decisions like this allow us to continue to offer the high quality resources and services that you’ve come to expect from the Wayne State University Libraries.

As always, thank you for your support,
Sandra G. Yee

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