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Annual Plan 2014-2015

Arthur A. Wishart Library Plan 2014-2015


To create the best possible complement of staff, resources and spaces that will enhance faculty and student success at Algoma University.


The Library empowers faculty and student success through:

  1. Enhancing access to research and learning resources
  2. Developing targeted and unique collections
  3. Creating new spaces for collaboration and innovation


The Arthur A. Wishart Library staff and the resources it provides are critical supports for delivering the highest quality education to Algoma University students and for ensuring student success. The rangeof collections and instructional capacity of the Library are areas that require constant improvements and investments in order to meet the needs of a growing university.

The Library is an integral part of the overall academic experience, serving as the access hub to research and learning collections for all degree programs. The Library accomplishes this through continuing to develop and implement learner-centered programs in research skills, collection development, and new infrastructures for traditional and online information access. These services must be systematically built and delivered by professional librarians and trained paraprofessional staff in order to meet the goals of improving opportunity and access, improving student success rates, and expanding teaching and research capacity.

The Library works constantly to develop targeted collections for research and learning. In addition, it plays a core role in knowledge creation through developing unique archival, special, and faculty research driven collections, online and in print. Examples of this include facilitating the university’s legislated mission to support Northern Ontario and to “cultivate cross-cultural learning between aboriginal communities and other communities, in keeping with the history of Algoma University College and its geographic site” by acquiring and making accessible over 300 collections now (developed 2006-2013) in the university’s Engracia de Jesus Mathias Archives & Special Collections and the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre. The Library does this work in conjunction with many important regional, provincial and national partners such as the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association, National Residential School Survivors Society, Aboriginal Healing Foundation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the 49th Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, the Anglican Diocese of Algoma, and the Anglican Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario among others.

In order to meet the university’s academic objectives and to realize the directions laid out in the Special Mission for Algoma University, the Library must also reorganize its purpose-built space on an ongoing basis to meet the increased demands for appropriate spaces for individual and group study, collaboration and innovation. The “Library-as-space” is critical for supporting Algoma’s expanded program offerings and, most importantly, the Library’s core role in contributing to university student success.

Additionally, the Library as part of an independent university now plays important provincial and national roles as a member of scholarly research networks such as the CONIFER library consortium, the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN). Algoma’s three librarians participate in strategic planning, budgeting, granting writing, administration and other activities for these networks, which benefit the university system as a whole, but require staff time away from the campus. Finally, the Library staff has also promoted its resources and services heavily to area high schools to enhance research skills at the secondary school level as well as to introduce secondary school students to university.

The Library works hard to measure its success against such established analytical tools such as the LibQUAL survey created and maintained by the Association of Research Libraries. LibQUAL measures users’ opinions of service quality across three dimensions: Affect of Service, Information Control, and Library as Place. In addition, a mark of a Library’s quality is the esteem in which their professional peers hold it and its staff. Since the university’s independence in 2008, the Wishart Library, through internal and collaborative efforts, has won the following awards:

For Project CONIFER, a consortial, academic implementation of the Evergreen Integrated Library System (Algoma, Laurentian, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and Windsor):

  1. The Ontario College and University Library Association (OCULA) Special Achievement Award (2010)
  2. The Ontario Library Information Technology Association (OLITA) Award for Technical Innovation (2010)
  3. The OCUL Outstanding Contribution Award (2010)
    • Awarded to Robin Isard (Algoma), Dan Scott (Laurentian) and Art Rhyno (Windsor). 

For innovation in the field and the use of technology in archives (Arthur A. Wishart Library and Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre):

  1. Contact North Pocket of Innovation (2011) – The Shingwauk Project (now the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre)
  2. The Archives Association of Ontario's Institutional Award (2013)
    • The AAO Institutional Award is given to an Archival Institution that has contributed significantly to the advancement of the archival field or community, or has demonstrated a significant level of innovation and imagination in the establishment of outstanding or model programmes or services.
  3. The SSMIC Innovation Project of the Year Award (2013)
    • This award acknowledges an organization whose IT/science project demonstrates leadership and/or creative use of science/technology. An ideal project would include benefits such as the advancement of the organization, improvement of client/customer services and positive impact on the science and IT community or the community at large. The project must have demonstrated tangible success/return to the organization. This award is designed for organizations that are not necessarily IT/science companies but are using technology/science as an enabler to better serve operation and/or clients.

Operational Priorities and Plans for 2014-2015


Priority #1: Enhancing access to research and learning resources for faculty and students.

  1. Fully promote and exploit the capabilities of the Federated Search Engine (Ebsco Discovery Service) implemented in 2013-2014 through:
    1. Targeted marketing, in person and through media, of its capabilities to the faculty and students in the different degree programs, emphasizing features most pertinent to different types of users.
    2. Promotion of integration features, such as Ebsco’s Patron Driven Acquisitions, which permits faculty and students to recommend purchases and rentals of e-books for the collections through the interface.
  2. Develop a “library assignment policy” and process that will provide a framework for this area of work for the Public Services staff and a toolkit for the faculty to use.  Key components of the toolkit should include:
    1. Messaging about why information literacy and research skills are vital for undergraduates;
    2. What a model library assignment “looks” like.  I.e. examples of appropriate types of questions, documentation that explains how to integrate these questions into content being delivered in the course where library assignments are being used;
    3. Clear instructions concerning with whom one should speak for additional assistance;
    4. And additional resources for further exploration by the faculty.
    5. There should be a clear connection between this strategy and the Library’s Information Literacy/ Library Research Policy.
  3. Maintain and mature the collection development process for all purchased collections under the Public Services & Collections Librarian (Dr. Michelle Atkin) at head of the Library’s Collection Development Committee.
    1. Develops an ongoing collection and analysis of resource costing statistics by degree program to support collection development and budget decisions.
    2. Continues to work in conjunction with external OCUL-IR and CRKN-NRT consortial partners in exploring new scholarly resources.
    3. Considers university academic plan, internal and IQAP program reviews, library budget data, consortial product prices versus standalone alternatives, electronic versus hard-copy formats, product reviews, and ongoing statistical analysis of circulation data (internal and from each vendor package) in decision-making process.
  4. Design and implement new online and integrated access infrastructures under the direction of the Systems Librarian (Robin Isard) at the head of the Library’s Systems Committee.
    1. Implement RACER self-directed requests for Inter-Library Loans through the Library’s Web Site.
    2. Implement OCUL User Rights database with SFX OpenURL resolver service to provide clear user rights management (e.g. fair use rights, licence rights, copyright, etc.)
    3. Implement direct-to-requester email delivery for RACER Inter-Library Loan / document delivery requests per best practices at OCUL partner institutions to speed and make Inter-Library Loans faster, more convenient and cost-effective.
    4. Implement and integrate SYRUP Reserves System to manage all electronic and print reserves.
    5. Works in conjunction with peers and appropriate committees at OCUL and CONIFER partner institutions and CRKN and Scholars Portal staff groups.
  5. Review, enhance and/or implement all information and services in the Library to comply with the integrated accessibility standards legislated in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, with particular focus on three areas:
    1. Public Services;
    2. Procurement;
  6. Law and Administration.Design and implement a regular program of marketing Library resources to faculty and students through multiple media under the direction of the University Librarian.
    1. Includes a proactive series Library events e.g. donor recognition, speaking series, author events, etc.)
    2. Special emphasis on regular updates Library web site in a timely manner (e.g. new resources announcements, events, updated policies, etc.).

Priority #2: Developing targeted and unique research and learning collections.

  1. Conduct collection analysis of the print monograph circulating collection with goal of weeding 50-60% of the 2012-2013 benchmark totals over time.  Re-invigorate collection through re-allocating funding from discontinued print journals.
    1. Currently our collection contains many items that are not suitable for a modern academic library.  Examples of this include gifts of non-academic materials from public libraries that weeded their own collections, outdated materials (primarily in Science and Social Science), as well as items that have never circulated or have not circulated in the last 20 years. 
    2. The Collection Development Committee completed the first round of de-selection during May – August 2013, resulting in the removal of ca. 10,000 obsolete volumes.   The committee will determine criteria for the next round of de-selection (May to August 2014) in March 2014.  Once the criteria have been established we will seek to use summer students to de-accession the items from our catalogue.  This will be a major undertaking.  We will require Maintenance Staff to assist us in removing and reconfiguring the shelves in August 2014.
  2. Design and implement cohesive, pro-active collection development and donor cultivation for the university’s Engracia de Jesus Mathias Archives & Special Collections under the direction of the University Librarian and a Library/Faculty working group to be established.
    1. Develop programs for donor solicitation and recognition.
    2. Develop processes to ensure follow-up and relationship maintenance for tax receipt purposes and administration of donations.
  3. Design and implement a proactive and cohesive grant-writing program under the direction of the University Librarian to solicit government and private funds to increase Library capacity and create extra-budget opportunities.
  4. Establish an arms-length “Friends of the Wishart Library” group under the direction of the University Librarian of interested campus and community members to provide financial, gifts-in-kind, and other forms of support to the Library.Continue the e-book purchasing program on a book-by-book basis (as opposed to the current package model) under the direction of the Public Services & Collections Librarian and the Library’s Collection Development Committee.
    1. Work with OCUL peers/ committees (OCUL-IR/PSAG) to consider best practices.
    2. Integrate and promote e-book reader/tablet loan program using OCUL-IR/PSAG research.
  5. Complete and enhance the catalogue records for two unique library collections linked to the Arthur A. Wishart Library under the direction of the Systems Librarian and the Library’s Systems Committee with the support of the Library’s Collection Development Committee.
    1. 49th Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery “Lest We Forget Remembrance and Military Library” (housed at the SSM Armoury) – Canadian Military and Peacekeeping History Special Collection.
    2. Gail Guthrie Valaskakis Memorial Resource Library (now located in the Shingwauk Residential Schools Center) donated to Algoma University and the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation – a 6,000 item Special Collection on the Indian Residential Schools Legacy.
  6. Enhancement of digital archives platform under the direction of the Systems Librarian and the Library’s Systems Committee with guidance from the University Librarian and the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre’s archival staff.
    1. Continue to implement digital archive feature requests to enhance end-user accessibility.

Priority #3: Creating spaces for collaboration and innovation for faculty and students.

  1. Continue to plan and to seek Senior Management support to implement multi-phase renovations to the Library under the direction of the University Librarian to repurpose the existing layout to create collaborative workspace and space for innovation with in the Library.  The end goal of this process is to develop a Library Master Space Plan as a recognized component of the Campus Master Space Plan (NB this is common at other Ontario universities).
    1. Requires consideration of the ARL 2010 LIBQUAL survey of the Library as well as previous internal reviews and surveys.  And requires review of research concerning best practices for proposed new spaces.
    2. Requires consideration of the campus master plan in conjunction with the Board of Governors’ Campus Development Committee as well as the direction of the Vice-Presidents Academic & Research and Finance & Administration.
    3. Requires assistance and expertise of the Director of Physical Plant and staff.
    4.  Requires additional, substantial weeding of physical collections by Library’s Collection Development Committee to clear space (i.e. Government Documents removed from 3rd floor and 50-60% reduction of print circulating collection on 2nd floor per Priority #2 item 4.
    5. Requires project based funding above and beyond regular, annual Library budget request.

Supports Required for Successful Completion of Priorities

  1. Planning Resources
    1. Conduct Internal/External Library review on the same lines as departmental self-study followed by academic IQAP review with external reviewers and implement recommendations.
    2. Conduct cost analysis of library resources by degree programs along the same lines of Finance & Administrations analysis of degree program costing.
    3. Updated University Library budget to support vision and priorities.
  2. Human Resources
    1. Move the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre’s Researcher/ Curator into the Library’s budget.  Currently this position is a permanent AUSA bargaining unit position subject to external funding.  For 2014-2015, the position will be funded 50% by the Library (internal) and 50% by the SRSC’s AHF research grant.  In 2015-2016, the position will be 100% funded through the Library.  This will limit overall increases to the Library budget to ~3% for 2014-2015 and ~3% for 2015-2016.  This will provide:
      1. Core, dedicated archival support (acquisitions, cataloguing, collection development, reference/ research services) to the University’s Engracia de Jesus Mathias Archives & Special Collections (Wishart Library) and the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, which supports/ relieves workload of
        1. The University Librarian who wears a second hat as University Archivist;
        2. The Director, Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and Special Advisor to the President on the Residential Schools Legacy;
        3. The University’s archival and educational partners, Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig and the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association.
    2. Adequate internal funding for part-time and co-op students to support longer library hours throughout the year and special projects (e.g., de-selection in Priority #2, Item 1 or archival work in Priority #2, Item 2 above).
  3. Capital Resources
    1. Funding for a feasibility study/ architectural review of Library to prepare for the renovations put forward by the Library for the university’s consideration in Priority #3: Creating spaces for collaboration and innovation for faculty and students (above).
    2. Funding for minor capital purchases to create additional group study/ innovation rooms (e.g., meeting tables and chairs, LED TV/monitors, all-region Blu-ray players, wireless headphones for AV viewing, etc).
    3. Funding and Physical Plant support for minor renovations including group study/ innovation rooms, re-purposing existing library shelves, etc.
    4. Funding and university support for major renovations, including purpose built library instruction classroom, offices, teaching and learning centre, etc.
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