Category: Library News (page 1 of 41)

OSUL’s Room Reservation System Now 10 Times Faster

Submitted by Beth Snapp:  OSUL’s Room Reservation System ( manages reservations of group study rooms in Thompson, 18th Avenue, BPL, FAES, Vet Med, and the Research Commons. Students and faculty can check the availability of study rooms and reserve them online. Since June 2016, over 22,000 reservations have been processed through the system. The original system was quite old in internet time and couldn’t handle the heavy load during exam times.

During Spring term, students were experiencing intermittent service disruptions, so we spent some time updating the system using new technologies. The new version is at least 10 times faster than the old one and can handle significantly more transactions. Read more about it here:

Special thanks go to Chris Bartos in AD&S who researched and implemented the new technologies to improve this system.

Website redesign: some website content moving to Libraries’ CarmenWiki

Submitted on behalf of Jennifer Vinopal: As the website redesign project progresses and the project team is gathering information for the “About Us” section of the site, a few questions have come up about content that will likely not be migrated to the Libraries new website. This is mostly internally-focused or highly specialized content (e.g., project documentation, info on committees, staff-facing departmental info) that would be better located in a platform designed for collaborative staff use.

The Libraries’ site on CarmenWiki ( is the best place for this type of material. CarmenWiki is designed for collaboration and team work. Pages are publicly accessible by default, though they can be made private if you need. CarmenWiki pages can also be easily linked from other places, including emails, web pages, etc.

Some of you are already actively using the CarmenWiki for your committees and departmental work. But for those who are unfamiliar with CarmenWiki or who need a refresher, we will hold training sessions and make help materials available over the summer.

Reminders: We will not move any content into CarmenWiki without talking to the content owners. The website redesign team will move the content; you won’t have to do it yourself.

During the next few months the website redesign team and I will share with you more information about the timeline for the migration of content into CarmenWiki, training sessions and help materials, and give you tips on the best places to store your documents.

If you have any questions or comments, please use the Website Redesign project feedback form. 

Teaching and Learning seeking volunteers for new student orientation events this summer

Submitted by Chris Younkin:  Be the first connection between University Libraries and incoming first-year students and their families. Teaching and Learning is seeking volunteers to represent the Libraries with us at our exhibit table during the University Resource Exhibits portion of University Orientation sessions this summer. This expo-style event will be held early in the morning prior to the official start of each orientation session. Our display will focus on library resources for first-year students.

University Orientation sessions run from May 30 to July 24, usually with four sessions per week (Monday-Thursday). University resource exhibit sessions are 8-9:30 a.m. There will be a total of 28 sessions to choose from if you want to participate.

Sign up to participate in one or more sessions at

For more information, contact Chris Younkin in T&L or call (614) 688-2585

OSUL Website Redesign Update: Overview of Functional Expert Meetings

Submitted by Robyn Ness:  OSUL staff were invited to several sessions in March to discuss their insights into our users’ needs for the OSUL website. Opportunities to further discuss the website and user needs will be announced later this month and throughout the summer as we work through the design phase.

In addition to discussing user needs, those who attend these sessions also worked on personas to represent typical users, which will be used to guide design. (Finalized personas are still in the works – we received a lot examples to work with!)

Some reoccurring themes during discussion included:

• Our current site isn’t presented from a user perspective, and the existing tabs don’t make sense to users.
• Our site uses language our some of users don’t understand, including circulation, reference, course reserves, interlibrary loan, and Articles Express.
• There are too many layers to navigate.
• We don’t even always know who in OSUL does what or how to refer patrons who need additional expertise.
• We want users to feel good about their online library/search experience, but right now we feel they don’t.

We also talked about the things that were most important to users, which largely overlapped with what users told us in the survey. Examples include:

• off-campus sign in
• interlibrary loan
• room reservations
• “sidebar on main page,” including the research database link
• a mobile friendly site

We also identified bigger questions for the organization, including need for:

• a long term vision for online content so we don’t keep migrating to new systems
• clarity around who “owns” which content, especially with staffing or organizational changes
• clarity around archiving old content so we feel comfortable removing things from the “live” site
• clear guidelines on where to place public vs. internally-focused content
• opportunities to be more transparent with some of our procedures (things we look for in our peers’ public sites, but don’t share in our own)

While we don’t yet have answers to many of these questions, we will continue discussion about them.

See the full notes summary. <>

OSUL Website Redesign Update: User Survey Data

Submitted by Robyn Ness:  As we wrap up the research phase of the OSUL Web Redesign Project, we’re sharing results from several data gathering activities. Yesterday, we looked at data from web visits. Today’s focus is the user survey, which we’ll use to help us redesign the site with user needs as our focus. In the next message, we’ll share an overview from the OSUL functional expert meetings.

The user survey ran March 8-31, 2017, and included 320 participants (122 faculty/staff, 96 graduate students, 90 undergraduates, and 12 other). We were pleasantly surprised that so many completed the survey. Thanks to everyone who helped promote it by distributing cards at service desks, sharing your mailing lists, or emailing invitations to your contacts. Thanks, also, to Sarah Murphy for help with data analysis.

Below are some highlights from analysis of survey responses.

We asked users to rank 33 resources or services available through OSUL. Combined across all types of users, the top five items were:

• Search for articles
• Manage your account
• View locations and hours
• Search for books
• Request items from OhioLINK, ILL, and other off-site facilities

We asked what they like and do not like about Here’s what they told us:

• Most common likes were easy access to the discovery search box and to the My Account pages, availability of Interlibrary Loan/Article Express, the Off-Campus Sign-in option, and the box of links to the right of the discovery search box on the main page.

• Most common dislikes were that the site is complex, cluttered, and unintuitive and requires too many clicks, that WorldCat is the default search, and that it is hard to find ebooks, research databases, and online journals.

We also asked people which devices they typically used to access the library website. They were allowed to select any options that applied. Most reported using desktop or laptop computers; ~25% of respondents reported using their mobile phones. (Phone use was slightly more common among undergrads, but wasn’t uncommon in other types of users.)

See full survey results. <>

Self-Appraisals Due May 19

Submitted by Randall McKenzie:  Staff employee self-appraisals are due to supervisors by Friday, May 19, 2017. 

You can find the self-appraisal template on the OSU Libraries Performance Management website.

Enrollment Window Open for Summer Dependent Tuition Assistance

Applications for dependent tuition assistance must be submitted each term. The enrollment window for summer semester 2017 opened March 13. Eligible faculty and staff can apply online or with paper applications. The student must have a social security number on file with the University Bursar to receive dependent tuition assistance.

Please visit for more information.

Student Employment Notices

*February 28 is the last day students who graduated autumn semester can work in student employment.  Please submit a termination HR Action request at the end of their employment.

*You may allow your work-study students to work more hours over spring break!

Pay Period 20 covers hours worked between 3/5/17 – 3/18/17, so only the second week of that pay period will have the increased hour allowance.

Pay Period 20 3/5/17 – 3/18/17 Total Hours: 58
  Week of 3/5 20 hours
  Week of 3/12 38 hours

Other things about working during breaks to keep in mind:

  • Students working in multiple positions may struggle with staying within hour limits.  If you have such a student on staff, be sure they understand that their combined hours per week in all positions cannot exceed the maximum hours per week.
  • Not all students remain on campus over break, may not be available to work, and are not required to make themselves available for work.  Conversely, you are not obligated to schedule your students for more hours (or at all), during the break period.

Libraries, Expanding Visions Foundation, broadening partnership

This summer University Libraries will expand our partnership with the Expanding Visions Foundation, and will host up to five high school students for paid summer internships at the Libraries.

The OSUL/EVF program takes a comprehensive approach to address the challenges faced by underserved and under- or unemployed youth. A cohort of high school students will participate in the EVF nine-week Career Institute course hosted by the Ohio State University Libraries (OSUL) to provide practical tools and critical resources in preparation for securing a job at OSUL or in the community. During the Institute, students will learn how to 1) apply for a job including doing research on potential hiring companies; 2) prepare for interviews; 3) create a professional resume; 4) be successful in the workplace; 5) build credit responsibly; 6) and practice workplace etiquette. As part of the EVF curriculum, all students will interview with OSUL HR.

Regardless of whether or not they are ultimately hired by OSUL, all students will receive feedback from the Libraries’ HR interviewers and from EVF career coaches to help them continue to build their career-seeking skills. Up to five students who successfully complete the Career Institute and are selected from the interview process will be hired as summer interns at the Ohio State University Libraries. The internship will provide them with real world experiences in the workplace, introduce and promote librarianship, hone personal career goals, and expose the interns to academic and professional settings including interacting with student staff and library staff. 

OSUL faculty and staff can participate in the following ways:

  1. Host an intern in your department.
  2. Serve as a mentor for one of the interns.

In order for the program to be successful, we need colleagues who have a vested interest in improving the lives of young people. If you are interested in hosting an intern in your department or serving as a mentor, please submit a proposal at the following link:

The deadline to respond is March 10, 2017 and final selections will be announced by the end of March. The 9-week internship will take place June 12 through August 11, 2017.

Please note: All participants working with minor employees may be subject to finger printing, a background check, and must attend a required training session that will be held in May 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our EVF liaisons: Quanetta Batts(.8), Nena Couch(.1) or Deidra Herring(.44).

Calling for Volunteers for the Libraries’ Campus Campaign Committee

It’s time for the 2017 Campus Campaign. If you would like to join the fun of being a part of the Libraries’ Campaign efforts this year, now is your chance!

Being a part of this committee requires minimal time, is fun and gives you an opportunity to meet and work with other library staff. Some of the things committee members do:

  • attend an initial planning meeting – lunch provided
  • being a team leader during the campaign (sending a couple encouraging emails to your team and passing out donation packets to your team)
  • attending and/or assisting at a couple of the Libraries’ events
  • attending the Libraries’ winning team(s) celebration lunch and the Campus Celebration breakfast at the conclusion of the campaign

Thompson Library Room 159 is named after Campus Campaign and the University’s Campaign is one of the largest of its kind with over $160,000,000 donated by employees of the University to date. The University Libraries is one of the largest giving units on campus and continues to have an impressive track record, especially given our large size!

If you are interested in joining the committee this year contact Kathryn Beach at or Pam McClung at

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