From the Director

By Damon E. Jaggars, Vice-Provost & Director of The Ohio State University Libraries

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From the Director – September 23, 2013 – Research Commons Task Force Report

Our Research Commons Task Force has done a marvelous job.  Their report [] is available here including an executive summary, recommendations and findings, as well as variety of appendices with additional information.

The task force was chaired by Meris Mandernach, and included Beth Black, Tschera Connell, Danny Dotson, Todd Efkeman, Bruce Leach, and Terry Reese.  The TF was advised by a group of stakeholders and potential partners including:  Jeff Agnoli (Office of Research); Ola Ahlqvist (Geography); Mike Hofherr (Distance Education and e-Learning); David Staley (History); Allison Snow (Undergraduate Research Office); and Sandra Enimil (Libraries’ Copyright).

The report recommended that the Research Commons (to be housed on the 3rd floor of the 18th Avenue Library)  be based and formed around services rather than merely providing a space.  Focusing on services provides the most useful support to researchers.  A four-pronged services model was recommended focused on consultations, education/training, referrals, and showcasing research.

  • Consultations
    • Campus partners will offer office hours at specific times throughout the week in the Commons space.  Partners include the Copyright Resources Center, Office of Responsible Research, Office of Research (grant support), Digital Content Services (institutional repository and publishing), subject librarians, Undergraduate Research Office, and Statistics.
    • Higher-end computing infrastructure such as data management, GIS and digital humanities support will be provided by new librarians with this expertise. In particular we have noted a growing interest in GIS, mapping and data services across disciplines and the growing need for support services in these areas.


  • Education and Training
    • Existing training and workshops provided by campus partners will be provided in the space.
    • Existing library training and workshops specific to the research lifecycle will be provided.
    • New training and workshops will be developed as needs emerge


  • Referrals
    • One of the glaring gaps identified by the task force was a basic lack of information or understanding around the types of research services currently available to the campus community.
    • Many services have been developed to serve particular departmental or college constituents but with little effort to build connections between these groups.
    • The Research Commons will serve as a triage service point to foster referrals to appropriate research services on campus.


  • Showcasing Research Output
    • Research output will be showcased in the physical space as well as through programming such as colloquia.  These showcases will be physical, virtual and experiential.

I had the opportunity to discuss the report with the Vice Provost/Vice Presidents group at our regular Monday morning meeting.  There was much interest in the concept but also many questions and suggestions.

Next Steps

Our next steps include:

  • The creation of a PowerPoint presentation about the proposed research commons to be used in next level discussions including:
    • The Graduate Council
    • Council of Graduate Students
    • Inter-professional Council (official student government of the 6 Professional Colleges of Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Optometry, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine)
    • The Council on Library and Information Technology
  • Completion of recruitment and hiring of the public services cohort
  • Initiation of a feasibility study of the space on the 3rd Floor of the 18th Avenue Library
  • Appointment of a Research Commons Implementation Team (charge being drafted)
  • Establish an Advisory Board for the Research Commons (charge being drafted)

Strategic Plan

The Research Commons is a key tactic  in our strategic plan:  increase engagement of librarians in the research process and investigate options for a research commons focused on a suite of advanced research services such as GIS, data, copyright and digital scholarship.  This initiative is part of Strategic Focus Area #3 – offer enhanced and innovative research services to faculty and graduate students.  We’re offer to a great start.

From the Director – May 14, 2012 –May 2012 Strategic Plan Update

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, many of our activities turn to assessment and progress reports.  Just like you, though in a different format, I have to complete an assessment of my own performance and the accomplishments of our Libraries for my boss.  One of the pieces of that assessment is a progress report on our strategic plan.

Status Report on 2010-2012 Strategic Plan

Shortly after my arrival in January 2010, we embarked on the creation of a strategic plan for 2010-2012.  That plan – the first one – is the one that is used as part of this year’s assessment.  At this link you will find a document that notes progress on the plan.  My thanks go out to Nancy O’Hanlon and Quanetta Batts who created the first draft of this progress report.

Here are some highlights:

Accelerate the transition to electronic formats (4.1.A.1):

  • FY2009-11:  expenditures for electronic resources increased from 44.2% to 64.4% of the materials budget.
    • E-Journals:  increased from 60.5% to 90.7% of the serials budget.
    • E-Books:  increased from 10% to 13% of the monographs budget.

Expand projects to digitize the Libraries’ unique and distinctive collections (4.1.A.2): 

  • As of July 2011, the Libraries have digitized or acquired 467,682 items for digital collections such as the Knowledge Bank, OhioLINK, and The Lantern online archive, an increase of 250% over 2010.

Engage in and adopt culture transformation (3.3.A.1.):

  • A new staff performance management process was implemented in 2011. The process now includes four steps including planning and goal setting, 2 mid-year check-ins and an annual review.

Check out the report in more detail.

LibQUAL Summary:

In addition to the strategic plan, Sarah Murphy has created a four page summary of our 2011 LibQUAL results.  In particular, check out the chart that shows how we have been closing the gap between desired service and perceived service.  In this case, the lower the number, the better.  The lower the number is on the left axis, the smaller is the gap between what users want and what they perceive we are delivering.  Your work with the public, behind the scenes, and in the smallest detail works together to enable us to meet (and exceed) the needs of our users.  Check out this summary webpage here.

New Strategic Plan – 2013-2015

We spent considerable time last year working on our new draft strategic plan.  That plan is still a draft and will not be formally submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs for review and approval until November 2012.  As I noted at a recent General Libraries’ meeting, we will have to modify the existing plan to meet the newly established strategic planning framework for support units.  But its essence will remain.  We will share drafts in the fall as we make that change.  However, for once we are ahead of the game and that plan is the functional plan that is guiding our decision making.  And we are making tangible and concrete progress on its initiatives already.

From the Director – December 23, 2011 – Holiday Letter

Each holiday season, we send a holiday card with a message inserted to our key donors, library colleagues around the country, and senior leadership at the University.  The letter follows at the end of this message.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with good food, time with friends and family and time to relax and recharge.  Happy Holidays!

Holiday Letter

I wanted to share some of the amazing milestones from 2011 at The Ohio State University Libraries as the year comes to a close. It has been an exciting year, filled with many things we have cause to celebrate.

We have brought together an extraordinarily gifted executive team. Five new associate and assistant directors joined the staff in 2011, bringing their talent, experience and fresh perspectives.  Their addition has also enabled us to execute a new organizational structure which better positions us for the future. Lisa Carter, Craig Gibson, Lisa Patton-Glinski, Karla Strieb and Beth Warner are working with me to build on the strengths of our library system, implement our new strategic plan, and offer innovative services that set new standards for academic libraries.

This year has also seen the two newest appointees to the Mary P. Key Diversity Residency Program, designed to assist recent library graduates in making a successful transition to academic research librarianship. Brian Leaf and Juleah Swanson joined the Libraries’ faculty as our residents for the next two years in this unique program that increases the diversity of librarians at Ohio State and furthers the growth and development of academic librarians across the country. The program is named in honor of the emerita Assistant Professor of the University Libraries who served as the fi rst chair of the Libraries’ Diversity Committee, which oversaw the start of the Residency. Mary passed away in 2010, but her legacy lives on through this important initiative.

Thanks to the unfailing generosity of our supporters, we have made good progress towards meeting the $2.5 million challenge grant offered by Jean Schulz, widow of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz. The challenge grant raises funds for the renovation of Sullivant Hall, the future home of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. We have received gifts and pledges totaling $2.2 million thus far, and look forward to meeting the goal in the months ahead with your help.

We received good news this year in survey results of patron attitudes toward our services. The Association of Research Libraries’ “LibQUAL” survey is administered every three years as part of a national effort to measure library users’ opinions of service quality. LibQUAL covers such key areas as the way we provide information, the impact of our staff in supporting users, and the quality of the spaces we offer. The data on OSUL—which was good to begin with—continues to improve each year, most noticeably in the satisfaction levels of key constituents—students and faculty. Clearly, the Thompson Library renovation has had a positive impact on the ratings for “Library as Place,” setting a new standard for the learning environments our users expect. As we move forward in implementing our strategic plan, I expect customers’ satisfaction with our services will continue to rise.

Preparations for the renovation of Sullivant Hall provided the opportunity to create a new home for the libraries’ highly respected Music and Dance Library and its staff. In September, Music and Dance moved into its new home on the second floor of the Science and Engineering Library. The space includes seminar rooms, a media center, music scores and the book collection, much of which is now available 24/7.

This year we unveiled the commissioned art for the Thompson Library. Renowned artist and OSU Art Department faculty member Ann Hamilton created “Verse,” a fi eld of 299 lines of text set in raised letters in the cork floor of the Buckeye Reading Room. The installation, text from three different books, describes the beginning and end of history. Its unique presentation makes up a 6,000 square foot “page,” offering a reading experience that is both complex and compelling.

In October, the Libraries and the Columbus Museum of Art announced the joint acquisition of the record books and ledger of internationally renowned artist and Columbus native George Bellows. The volumes are now housed in our Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, where they will be available to Ohio State students and faculty, as well as the general public. And as a shared resource, the collection is an invaluable asset to the Museum for informing study of its outstanding collection of Bellows paintings.

Another wonderful addition to our special collections is the archives of the Mysterious Press, founded and edited by Otto Penzler, the world’s foremost authority on and publisher of mystery fiction. These archives represent not only the complete manuscripts, corrected proofs and correspondence of the Mysterious Press’ publications, but also pristine copies of all galleys, limited editions and fi rst editions of the press. This was a highly sought-after acquisition, and greatly enhances the William Charvat Collection of American Fiction, already among the premier American fiction collections in the U.S.

I look forward to the coming year with optimism and excitement. I am very blessed to lead one of the nation’s great university libraries and to work with a talented, devoted faculty and staff whose commitment to the Libraries and its patrons is clearly visible every day. Their efforts are matched by the continuing generosity of our donors and the enthusiasm and energy of our volunteers.

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