[click to return to Agenda past issues] The Agenda - Published from the Office of the University Librarian
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Volume 26 Number 26 August 15, 2004

Digital Library Opens Doors to ILL Office

Greater accessibility and better responsiveness to user concerns are two of the central objectives of the Libraries vision for our developing digital library. As one department's experiences have clearly shown, the digital environment allows them to take giant leaps towards meeting both goals.

"Much of this was unexpected," explains Brian Beyer, Interlibrary Loan Borrowing Coordinator. "We had a thousand good reasons for creating an ILL web form and for going ahead with electronic delivery of ILL articles. From a service perspective, electronic delivery of articles would be quicker and more convenient for patrons. From an office management perspective it makes our workflow easier and saves money on paper and toner. What we didn't anticipate was the dramatic increase in interaction with patrons that the changes facilitated."

In Spring 2002 the Interlibrary Loan department made a number of improvements to their services, including a new ILL web form (from which patrons can place new ILL requests or check the status of existing requests), and electronic delivery of all ILL articles. "Shortly after we made these changes, our office began hearing from more and more users," continues Brian. "This is because every interaction a patron now has with the ILL office -- from the initial placement of the request to the delivery of the article over the web -- comes with a 'reply-to' email address. In the past if a patron had a question about an ILL request, needed clarification about a library notice, needed to report a problem, etc., he or she was directed to use the 'Ask a Librarian' service. Now the ILL office is just a click away -- with a real person's email address!"

"These service improvements have been enormously popular with patrons. I believe they have also made us a more responsive department. Since the Rutgers Delivery Service has recently come on board with the electronic delivery of articles, I suspect they'll see the same benefits we have."

Back to Top of Page

Meet the New Libraries/SCILS Intern-Resident: Melissa John

The story of the new Intern-Resident in the Libraries reflects what is, perhaps, one of the better axioms given to those seeking career advice: "Go towards what you like."

Rutgers College student Melissa John was looking forward to graduating in May 2004 with a double major in history and journalism. As part of her journalism studies Melissa interned at the New Brunswick Small Business Association, helping to write and publish the association's monthly newsletter. She was all set to begin a promising career in journalism or public relations. Yet she had begun to doubt that such a career would allow her to act on her ideals and express her own views.

   Melissa John prepares to help patrons at the Alexander Library circulation desk.

Meanwhile, Melissa served as a work-study student in Libraries Administration and liked the collegial environment in the Libraries. She also noted how so much of the work requires careful research, an exposure to a variety of subjects, and an emphasis on continued growth and learning. Melissa consulted with various colleagues to learn more about the field and was encouraged by what she heard about the nature of the profession. So she applied to enroll in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at SCILS.

Around the same time Melissa learned about the Libraries/SCILS Intern-Resident post, and she applied for the position. Melissa learned months later that the Intern/Resident selection committee had identified her as one of two finalists, and she interviewed with the committee in the late spring. She was delighted to hear in mid June that she had been selected as the new Libraries/SCILS Intern-Resident.

The Libraries/SCILS Intern-Resident post serves as a pioneering program in librarianship, as one of only a handful of similar posts in academic libraries nationwide that combines on-the-job experience with classroom training. Yet for Melissa, this is not the first time she has tackled unique challenges.

The daughter of Caribbean immigrants, she and her two siblings were the first generation born in the United States. Melissa and her older sister were also the first ones in their immediate family to graduate from college.

Melissa has already begun her internship, working now in Alexander Library's access services under the mentorship of Francoise Puniello and Farideh Tehrani. She will receive day to day guidance from access services supervisors Jeff Teichman and Roger Smith. Over the course of the two-year internship, Melissa will rotate to other departments and gain exposure to the many roles and functions in the New Brunswick Libraries.

Melissa envisions a busy semester ahead, in which she'll continue her work in the Libraries while also taking classes in human information behavior, organization of information, and evaluation of library and information services and systems.

We wish Melissa much success in her new career path.

Back to Top of Page

Personnel Changes as of July 27, 2004


Dana Library
  Helen Funnye, Library Assistant II

New Brunswick Libraries
  Jazmine Faherty, Library Assistant II
  Rebecca Martinez, Library Supervisor I
  Natascha Owens, Library Assistant II
  Melanie Roberts, Library Supervisor I
  Penny Weniger, Library Supervisor I


New Brunswick Libraries
  John Keisers, Application Developer
  Paul Young, Library Associate II


Libraries Administration Budget Office
  Donna Kessler, Business Specialist

Back to Top of Page
July 11, 2004
June 13, 2004
The Agenda Archive

Contributors for this issue were Brian Beyer and Margaret Hodes. Contributions for future issues of The Agenda should be sent to Harry Glazer, editor, at hglazer@rci.rutgers.edu.