Digital Suggestion Box Responses

Help Improve Your Libraries

First Floor Purdy Library Reference & Computer Area Renovation

December 12th, 2008

To create a more comfortable environment for our library users, we will be installing new furniture in the computer and reference area on the first floor of Purdy Library.

This installation will begin December 18 and will last through the holiday break.

Library users will not have access to this area during that time. However, the stacks will be open to users and reference services will be available. We apologize for any inconvenience and encourage patrons to visit the Undergraduate Library or the Science & Engineering Library during the upgrade.

To view a video simulation of the new reference and computer area, please go to:

Interlibrary Loan

July 29th, 2008

I am very frustrated when I need a book and discover that I can’t get it because it has been lent out through MeL or some other interlibrary loan organization. It seems to me that Wayne library books ought to be for Wayne students.

One of the ways libraries extend their library collections is through resource sharing agreements like the Michigan Electronic Library (MeL) and other interlibrary loan services. These agreements allow our students and faculty to borrow materials we do not physically own from other institutions, and allows their students and faculty to do so from us. One of the consequences of such agreements is that sometimes items we own are not immediately available to our own patrons.

If we didn’t have such agreements, students and faculty would have to travel to other universities to read books we do not own and, in many cases, might be unable to obtain the materials they desire. The benefits from expanding our collection through interlibrary loan far out way the inconvenience of items being briefly unavailable.

The loan periods for interlibrary loan, by the way, are approximately the same as those for an undergraduate borrower and holds can be placed upon such books so they are held for a specific patron when they are returned.

New Book Lists

July 29th, 2008

Why aren’t there more new books in my area, library science? When I looked in the new book list, I only saw eight titles listed. I’m sure there are many more than eight books on library science that have been published recently.

I know you have been looking at the new book list in you discipline available through the “New Books” link in the catalog or by going directly to


Books that appear on the new books lists are those for which catalog records have been received and posted within the time period of the search and are in the LC Classification range for the subject area. To use your discipline, library science, as an example, this means only books with numbers from Z or ZA are listed in the list of new library science books. Books appear on the list when they have catalog dates more recent than the last time the updates were run and when they have item records and order records attached.

The list gets updated about once a week.

Books on the lists can still be “In Process” and may not yet have got to the shelves. The books on the lists have, however, been received in cataloging. Books with the status “In Process” can be requested by clicking on the “Get It” button. They will be rush processed and brought to a circulation desk to be picked up.

Often books relevant to a discipline fall outside the designated LC Classification range for a subject area. Library science materials, for example, often fall into such subject areas as education, technology, computer science, law, the social sciences and business. When this happens, the books are found in the new book lists for the subject areas associated with their LC Classifications. It is always a good idea to browse the new books lists for related disciplines.

I should also point out that electronic books are not listed in the new book lists by discipline. They appear only on the New Ebooks list, which you can locate by clicking on the “Electronic Resources” link in the catalog.


Each discipline/selection area has a budget for new books for a budget year. In each area, we spend the allotted funds based on the curriculum(s) in the discipline, faculty requests, other patron requests, suggestions from librarian colleagues, and, of course, the judgment of the librarian building the collection in that area.

Differing numbers of new books will appear on the lists at different points during the year. Publishers have varying publishing cycles; orders are often grouped to allow more efficient processing; some orders are placed for books which have not yet been published; and some orders are submitted to coincide with curricular developments in a program. Again to use the example of library science, we have recently purchased a number of items for the new Records Management certificate program. All of these factors, as well as the exigencies of the budget process, contribute to a continual, if uneven flow of books into our collection.

DVD Collection

July 29th, 2008

How are DVDs chosen for the Undergraduate Library? Does the librarian doing this look at lists of award winning films? How do you pick documentaries? Why don’t you have more DVDs that we actually want to watch?

In choosing items for the video/DVD collection, we focus on these factors:

  • Requests from faculty for materials that support their teaching and/or research. This includes materials that support all curricular areas across the university.
  • Requests from Film Studies and Media Arts and Studies faculty for materials that support their curricula and research. This includes titles released as part of the Criterion Collection; titles important to the history of film; the works of selected independent film directors; popular titles for classes offered in special topics such as Blockbuster films, Bollywood films, the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Blaxploitation, etc.
  • Requests from staff, students and library patrons for materials that are appropriate for an academic library collection. The focus is on adding films with educational value, and not developing a collection of popular films purely for entertainment purposes.
  • Annual reviews of awards lists including academy awards; “Notable Videos for Adults” of the American Library Association (primarily documentaries); recommended titles in the periodical “Video Librarian”
  • Reviews of best-of lists including those from the American Film Institute, BBC, British Film Institute, National Film Review, etc.
  • Recommending Books and Journals

    May 19th, 2008

    The most common use of our Digital Suggestion Box is to recommend a title for the collections. Most often, books are suggested, but from time to time we also hear about journals and magazines. We are always glad to receive such suggestions and would be happy to see the number of suggestion grow.

    Typically, we forward each such message to the librarian responsible for developing the part of our collection in which we would place the recommended item. These subject specialist librarians are called liaisons. Each liaison librarian is in charge of developing one or more subject areas within our collections. These subject areas cover the full range of what is studied, taught, and researched at the University.

    After forwarding a recommendation to a liaison librarian, we also let the person who made the recommendation know the name and email address of that librarian and make clear that future suggestions can be made either through the Suggestion Box or by contacting the liaison librarian directly.

    If you would like to cut out the middleman and recommend books and serials directly to a liaison librarian, you can identify the librarian you want by going to the directory of Librarian Liaisons at

    It is also possible to recommend books for purchase directly through our catalog. When you first open the catalog, just under the search box you will find the link “Suggest a Title.” When you click on that link, a form will open allowing you to make your recommendation. You can go directly to this form now by clicking on this link:

    Purdy/Kresge Electrical Outlets

    October 18th, 2007

    You should change all the old 2-prong plugs in the Purdy/Kresge Library to 3-prong plugs. Those have been a standard longer than I’ve been alive and all laptops require a 3-prong outlet to run off of current and recharge batteries. This only seems to be a problem in Purdy/Kresge and even there some of the plus have been upgraded to 3-prong.

    This is a very good suggestion. When library facilities manager and the computer support team manager read it, they put their full support behind it. They are now seeking funding to upgrade these outlets. The work has not yet been scheduled, but the replacement of the two-prong plugs with three-prong plugs on the first floor of the Purdy/Kresge Library should be forthcoming. More information about this will be posted to this blog as it becomes available.

    The old two-prong plugs in the first floor study areas of the Purdy/Kresge Library were converted to three-prong plugs during December 2007 and were ready for use at the beginning of the Winter 2008 semester.

    Keeping the Libraries Clean

    October 4th, 2007

    Comments: The libraries need to be cleaner. The study tables, computer areas, and bathrooms are often filthy.

    Our cleaning staff works very hard to keep the library buildings clean. To assist them in their work, the University Libraries has also instituted some new policies and re-emphasizing other policies of long standing.
    No beverage may be brought or consumed in any of our Libraries unless it is in a covered container. There is a strict no eating policy in effect in the Neef Law, the Purdy/Kresge, and the Science and Engineering Libraries as well as on the third floor of the Undergraduate Library. In those areas in which our customers may eat, there is a strict policy against eating at Library computer workstations.

    But let’s be frank. Almost 2,000,000 visits were paid to the University Libraries last year. Unless the WSU community comes to the realization that keeping the Libraries clean is a responsibility they share with the library staff, we will be fighting a losing battle. At present, far too many people feel they can simply walk away from their messes and someone else will clean them up. The student community needs to assert some positive peer pressure.

    Libraries: Sometimes Too Hot, Sometimes Too Cold

    October 4th, 2007

    Comments: Why don’t you do something about the temperature in the library? It’s too hot all winter and too cold all summer.

    This also affects the staff working in the libraries so you can be certain we try to adjust building temperatures whenever they go awry. The truth of the matter is that heating and cooling large public buildings is very tricky. These problems are even worse in the older building, which have been reconfigured and remodeled in ways that were unanticipated when the climate control systems were designed. The Library Building Coordinators work closely with the building engineers asking them to tweak and adjust the equipment and, with luck, create more pleasant environments. Recently, there have been some significant upgrades to library heating and cooling systems, and we anticipate further upgrades in the future.

    Safety in the Libraries

    October 4th, 2007

    Comments: Please do more with security. Sometimes I get nervous about some of the outsiders in the buildings.

    Security is an important concern in the University Libraries. Our staff is alert to security concerns and, when situations warrant it, promptly calls Public Safety. Our regular staff is also supplemented by police cadets who are scheduled in the evenings and other times of concerns and library monitors who patrol the Purdy/Kresge, Science and Engineering, and Undergraduate Libraries.

    In the winter of 2007, we initiated policies that require those entering libraries to show AccessIDs or if they are not affiliated with WSU to show an alternative form of ID and sign into the building.

    During the summer of 2007, we also consolidated the community access terminals in the Undergraduate Library. This move will allow us to more efficiently speak to the needs of the community members.

    Online Journals

    October 4th, 2007

    Comment: Why aren’t all the journals available at the libraries available online? It eats up time having to come down to campus and even go from library to library to copy journal articles.

    The University Libraries purchase online journals just as they purchase print journals; the Libraries do not digitize journals themselves. If we wish to add an online journal to our collection, it must be available for purchase. Publishing has not yet reached the point where every academic journal currently published is available online. But we are getting progressively closer. When it comes to older issues of such journals, conversion to digital formats is moving much slower. Print collections of older journals will continue to be essential parts of library collections for years to come.

    When we decide to purchase an online journal, besides considering its availability we also consider its price. The price paid by an academic library for online journals is not, by the way, the price you might pay as an individual. Publishers know that library subscriptions are used by hundreds or even thousands of people and price accordingly. In fact, the vendors of online journals often demand to know how many students and faculty we have and base their pricing accordingly.