Adventist University of Health Sciences, Orlando
A Tour of R.A. Williams Library
I was glad to have the chance to meet with and talk to Mary Rickelman, a Reference & Instruction Librarian, who works at Robert Arthur Williams Library (R.A. Williams Library) at Adventist University of Health Sciences (ADU). She created the Consumer Health Information Guide.
True to form that the library world is a small world, we also happen to be part-time Reference Librarian colleagues at the same state college - Valencia College - where we rarely cross paths due to our different shifts.
Mary first takes me on a tour of Robert Arthur Williams Library (R.A. Williams Library), a small, two-level Mezzanine style library. The ground level holds the collection, and the second level is for quiet and silent study. At the front are computers for use for searching the catalog and databases. Members of the public can also come in to use most of the databases.
Following, is a non-fiction collection for circulation, which is separated in two main sections, Library of Medicine classified titles for the health resources, and Library of Congress classified titles for "everything else". Library of Medicine was chosen as a classification system, as because there are so many resources dedicated to the health sciences, it was thought to be easier to catalog, and for students and faculty to find items. Non-fiction health science titles are chosen which support the programs at ADU.
There is a substantial non-health collection, as because it is an Adventist university, theology and spirituality is integrated into the health sciences programs, for a holistic health science education. For example, students need to undertake courses requiring bible study, and need access to bibles, concordances, commentaries, non-fiction, DVDs, and so forth. There is less of an e-availability for theological resources as there is for the health topics. Also, lower-level courses cover other non-health related topics as well, for a broader education.
There is a small reference section for in-library use only, shrinking over the years with the growth of online resources. There are some old journal stacks, for journals that are old enough which are too difficult or currently too expensive to acquire e-versions of.
At the back of the library is a silent study zone. On the right hand side as one walks into the library, are group study space, with provision of electrical outlets for laptop usage.
Mary fills me in on a bit of history. The library used to be the chapel, hence the Mezzanine style, for way back when the choir used to sing and their lovely voices floated down... this doesn't work so well for a library setting, where sound carries so effortlessly, occasionally disturbing those trying to study. To help resolve this issue, the library has 3 designated zones for normal volume voice collaboration, quieter, and silent study at the back. There is also 2 traffic light stands that let out an audible warning when it detects too high level of talking.
Portable whiteboards are positioned in the collaborative areas, which are quite popular with the students for drawing anatomy diagrams and solving math and chemistry problems. Small, hand-held whiteboards are also available for use.
The library is not all serious study... there is a popcorn machine! The popcorn machine is in operation once a week, where people in the library can get their free popcorn. It's a nice way to encourage people to the library and socialize with one another, and get to know the library team. At the back of the library is a comfy, cozy area with a couch, a variety of coffee table books and other non-fiction for interest, and a magazine stand of health-related and other tiles. Also available for loan are a variety of balls for different sports, and an umbrella or two, just in case you get caught in the Floridian rain.
The print reference collection has been significantly downsized, due to the growth of eCollection. Portable whiteboards are popular with students.
Comfy & Practical Space
Reduction in print = space cleverly utilized for other areas, for e.g. this cozy corner for students & faculty to relax in, and study space
Once a week, the popcorn machine is in action! A fun initiative to bring students, librarians, and other staff and faculty together.
Comfy & Practical Space
An Interview with Mary Rickelman, Reference & Instruction Librarian
After an interesting tour which had brought on a resurgence of memories of my college library days at Australian Catholic University Library (the dreaded concordances assignments!), we head upstairs and chat with her about what it is like to work in a small university's health sciences library, how that differs from working at a state college library, and the role Consumer Health information plays for the ADU and wider Central Florida community.
- What main services do you provide at R.A. Williams Library? I provide an on-call reference service, and am the primary library instruction person. I also work on cataloging and creating and updating the Library Guides. We use SpringShare's LibGuides platform, and have upgraded to LibGuides CMS, which means we are able to embed them into their Canvas learning management system.
- Are there any librarians who undertake a 'reference shift' like at Valencia College? No - we used to, but with more and more resources becoming electronic, we found our reference statistics decreased over time, to the point we figured that the librarians' time would be more invaluably used working on liaison initiatives with faculty, developing LibGuides, designing instruction, and other special projects. At Valencia College and other similar colleges, it makes sense to keep having a reference librarian at a reference desk, because students are often at the beginning of their academic career and require the additional support. Furthermore, such colleges are multidisciplinary and research assignments can be more ambiguous. Our students are in focused health programs - their assignments are more focused, and they are more focused themselves. Many seem to have a good grasp on information searching. A lot have come to ADU after studying an A.A. degree at a college, so they already have that prior knowledge.
- So, how does the on-call Reference model works? There is always a librarian available upstairs during opening hours. The circulation staff will call on a librarian if someone requests to speak to one, or if the questions fall into the expertise level of a librarian to answer.
- How do you think the growth and speed of the internet affects students' information seeking behavior? Students are so busy at ADU. They have a heavier load than their Arts & Literature degree-seeking counterparts. Every minute is taken for them, and so they desire instant gratification - fewer clicks to get to their desired information sources.
- How is library instruction conducted at ADU? As this library is physically small, we have no room for library instruction rooms, so we go to visit classes to present our library instruction. We do a few library orientation sessions, but most of our instruction classes are geared towards an assignment, so students gain strategies on how to search effectively for their assignment - it is more motivating and meaningful for them that way.
- I very much agree. What information topics are typically covered in such assignment-driven library instruction sessions? Our instruction is eJournal-centric, as their assignments typically require scholarly article resources. So we focus on recommending databases suited to their assignment, and on types of eJournal articles they would probably need to find, and how to search for them. For e.g. we go over clinical studies, peer-reviewed papers, evidence-based practice resources, qualitative studies vs. quantitative studies, studies that fulfill a particular criteria such as adolescent females and anorexia, and literature reviews.
- This is bringing me back memories of my conducting instruction to Nursing students at the University of Canberra, back in Australia! Do you teach how to search using MeSH (Medical Subject Headings)? With the higher levels of students like seniors and graduate students, yes, we endeavor to cover MeSH. With other levels, we try to include MeSH if we have the time and opportunity to. We liaise with the faculty on what information skills they would like us to teach their class, and such is our first priority... it is hard, as I believe MeSH is important skill to learn, besides other info lit skills, but we are on limited time - so we cover their professor's priorities and do what we can after that.
- How many classes on average does R.A. Williams Library teach each semester? My guesstimate is 35 classes per semester. We wish we could teach more classes! But it is up to the professor to see if he/she is willing and able to make room in their program for us to teach an information literacy class. This is why we are working on building our online information literacy tools and support, such as LibGuides.
- How many students are there? Around 1800... Deanna [the Library Director] would be able to clarify that to you. That includes our long distance population, which is another reason why we are building the effectiveness of our LibGuides and other online info lit support.
- Yes, I saw that you have a range of LibGuides for pathfinders for different disciplines and sub disciplines, and then there is one on Consumer Health Information... what is the purpose of this guide? The main reasons I created this guide on consumer health resources is for: A) Our nursing students and other allied health students, because they will need to know this stuff after they graduate. Nursing and other allied health students need to know about consumer resources, because, who do you think a patient will ask first for consumer health advice? Not a librarian; a lot don't really think, 'Oh, let me drive down to the Consumer Health Info Library'. No; many go straight to their nurse or other medical practitioner, because they have that relationship with them and trust them to recommend sound health resources. Because of this reality, all nursing students, and other allied health students, need to do an assignment in which they present a consumer health information topic, and where to find resources, to a community group who have a health issue, for e.g. to a group of patients with heart disease. Our nursing students also are required to do a mental health course, and for this course, they need to teach a group of patients on how to look after their mental health, including medicine compliance, which is a big issue for many mental health patients. In order to successfully complete these assignments, they need to use both higher level information, such as academic journal articles, and lower level information, such as consumer health information. B) Our staff and faculty - Especially the professional staff at ADU, for their consumer health information needs.
- I see you have recommended plenty of health information sources. Are there any that stand out to you? Yes - Medline Plus is a very important resource, and I have that featured in the 'Top 10 Consumer Health websites'. Also CAPHIS: Consumer & Patient Health Information Section is really important for students to learn about - it maintains a Top 100 Health Websites list covering various consumer health topics, evaluated by Health Science Librarians. they should not be moving on from ADU without having learned about CAPHIS!
- Do you have any members of the public seeking assistance for consumer health? We are open to the public. We are not conducive to the public - visitor parking is limited, and ADU isn't straightforward to drive to. We also do not 'advertise' our consumer health reference service - our main focus is the ADU community - students, faculty, and professional staff. In the past 10 years I have worked here, I have provided research assistance to 4 or 5 members of the public, and some of these people found us by accident! The Florida Hospital library next door sends people over once in awhile, because they have inquired there and we have more appropriate consumer health information than they do. Community members could also access our Consumer Health Guide - LibGuides are accessible to all from the library website, and most of the links on this guide are to free web resources.
- Is there a particular consumer health library that you would recommend people to, if they needed further resources or assistance? I would recommend them to the Orlando Health Library. The Orlando Health Hospital System have a dedicated consumer health library. I worked there over 10 years ago, for a year before moving to this library.
- What advice would you give to MLIS students aspiring to work as a Health Sciences Library? I always had an interest in working in a health sciences library, so I took on health science information electives, and I undertook an internship at USF's Health Sciences Library. I also volunteered for work at ADU. So, undertaking similar experiences could help one move into this area of the librarian profession. I also recommend networking whenever possible, such as attending conferences, meetings, events, etc. I would also recommend joining the FHSLA Association (Florida Health Sciences Library Association) and networking with other librarians.
A Short Interview with Katherine Cooper, Collection Development Librarian
I was fortunate to have a brief, unplanned chat with Katherine, the librarian who currently does the majority of dollection development.
- Mary was saying that approx. 60% collection is online, and 40% is physical. Is the library looking to adjust that percentage? Yes, we will eventually transition to heavier online weighting of resources, and less physical. But I think it would be awhile before we would go - and if we go - completely eCollection. Some resources can still only be obtained in print, and with others you can purchase an e-edition but they are much more expensive than print.
- How do you make acquisition decisions? Doodys Core Titles are a prime source for us. Professors also request sources. We order through GOBI. We have a profile set up, and we receive GOBI notifications via email, which I review. I also look about twice a year on Amazon. I have created a profile, and twice a year I will see the recommended titles there. We also utilize PDA [Patron Driven Acquisition], also known as DDA - Demand Driven Acquisition, on a couple of vendors - eBrary and Written House.
- How does the PDA work? With eBrary, the 3rd click on an eBook becomes a purchase. With Written House, after so many clicks, the eResource goes into a cart, which we are prompted to review.
An e-Interview with Deanna Flores, Library Director
- What is the population of ADU? 2016 spring enrollment:
On campus: 1254
- Mary was saying you have an overall strategic aim to transition the print collection into a vast majority eCollection. She said you may have worked out more of a plan to which extent? Our goal is to be e-book as much as possible and if e-book format is available, that is what we select. We support online students and our Denver campus programs, which makes it more crucial to offer the e-book format so they can easily access and not have to wait for us to ship books. There are several reasons why we sometimes select a print book. We can’t always obtain e-book format from the publishers, and if they offer e-book they sometimes delay the e-book release until several months or even up to a year after the print is released. With some titles we can’t wait that long. We don’t mind making much of our content e-book only because all our students are health sciences students and when they graduate and go to work, most of them will be in work environments where all they have access to is e-resources. Many hospitals have converted to electronic collections only….or nearly all e-resources. It is in the best interest to our students for them to get use to using e-books during their college experience, so they will be comfortable with using e-resources at work. On the other hand... to meet the need of students that prefer print, we do try to have at least one core title on every subject in print….so with some titles we may own both print and e-book. This is to help the transition with our first year students. Yes, some of them strongly prefer print! [In response to my comment about the students I have come across preferring print]. Florida Polytechnic is another state university that opened their campus about 1 ½ years ago and the library is “bookless.” The librarians have had to buy some books.