Library Preserves Past, Embraces New Technology

The Cedarholm Library and Resource Center is moving forward in technology and customer service while at the same time doing its part to preserve Maranatha’s history.

The Library’s Annual Report includes details of initiatives to increase accuracy in measuring patron satisfaction and other factors. It also includes details of recent work that includes tasks designed to preserve key items from the college’s early years.

Historic documents, some dating back to Maranatha’s founding by Dr. B. Myron and Thelma Cedarholm in 1968, are being scanned, converted to PDF documents, and stored in a campus server. This process will help prepare items to be added to the College archives when an archiving process is finalized.

Student workers have also been converting the contents of cassette tapes to MP3 files that are stored on a campus server. Items being preserved include sermons, seminars, and workshops, and are available for download through the Library catalog. The Library secured permission from the appropriate publishers before beginning this project. Some VHS instructional videos are also being converted to DVDs, or being retired and replaced by DVDs, as VHS classroom video equipment is gradually phased out of service.

A process was adopted for discontinuing subscriptions to little-used periodicals. A five-year study of periodical usage resulted in a list of titles that were eliminated, resulting in significant savings. The budget for subscriptions dropped from $22,000 in 2008 to $13,000 in 2012.

Changing learner preferences for expanded online access to digital content resulted in prioritizing funds for database subscriptions. This nearly tripled the scope of database subscriptions. The Library has also begun the process of purchasing eBooks that will provide research resources for both on-campus and online students.

Library Director Lois Oetken and Circulation Supervisor Mark Hanson are developing a process for the collection and measurement of statistical data relating to circulation and gate count, patron satisfaction, and collection development. All data is expected to be collected by the end of the 2011-12 academic year.

For many patrons, the best is yet to come. The Library has proposed a significant upgrade in its federated search feature that should be in effect for the 2012-13 academic year.
“The new product we anticipate this fall integrates all online databases with the library catalog for one comprehensive search, a true Discovery experience,” Oetken said. “It will definitely be a huge improvement on our current federated search.”