Minutes of May 29, 2008 Meeting

Françoise Puniello (Chair), Judy Gardner, Kevin Mulcahy, Ryan Womack, and Bill Puglisi (recorded minutes).
Invited guests: Lila Fredenburg and Jeanne Boyle
Myoung Wilson, Valeda Dent and Jeff Teichmann
Mary Beth Weber and Tim Corlis


Françoise opened the meeting by thanking Lila and Jeanne for their appearance and for implementation and participation in the Undergrad and Graduate Focus Groups. Appreciation for Jeanne's research regarding IRB procedures was also expressed.

Focus Groups

The results of the Focus Groups were discussed, particularly with regards to the need for more Group Study Rooms and for additional hours. It was noted that additional support from the university might be solicited as classrooms were being closed during off hours denying students another study location. Also mentioned by students was the need for additional electrical outlets; library orientation sessions; laptop lending program; wireless access in peripheral areas; additional seats; comfortable diverse spaces; information on equipment available and associated costs and additional assistance from librarians. Jeanne Boyle recommended submitting the Focus Group findings to Cabinet. It was also recommended that additional Focus Groups be held at regular intervals, so concerns could be noted in a timely fashion and corrections made whenever possible. Sessions held each semester was thought to be appropriate and it would be advantageous to expand the size of the groups to include more students.

At this time (2:40 PM) Lila and Jeanne departed and were thanked for their participation.

Card Catalogue

As Mary Beth Weber was not in attendance, discussion of the card catalog was brief. It was mentioned that it might be beneficial to engage in a complete inventory of Alexander's book collection to determine what is not a part of the card catalog and so that duplicates could be weeded out. Françoise will ask Mary Beth to submit an email report to the committee.

Library Visits

The visit to the East Brunswick Library provided insights (both good and bad) with regards to furniture and their on-site café. While the furniture they chose to utilize was not deemed to be suitable for our purposes, their café did receive positive feedback from the committee members.

Café Construction

Françoise informed the committee that she has been in contact with Matt Kaiser (Assoc. Director Purchasing - University Procurement) and her wish to obtain an RFP for the installation of an on-site café. While the original location (closing in the portico) was deemed to costly and problematic, other locations were discussed by the committee to include: the sleep area in the atrium; the front of the Reference Room and in the Bound Periodicals area which would require a shifting of the collection there.

Reference Room

A discussion ensued regarding possible changes to the Reference Reading Room. Some ideas mentioned were reducing the number of stacks, or alternating between full and half size stacks to create spaces (study nooks) not currently available. Kevin pointed out that too much open space would create a "High School Study Hall" appearance and divisions are necessary to break up the space. Judy suggested the addition of mobile "white boards" and they could be used as dividers to a degree, thus serving two functions. It was noted that there would be additional space available in the near future when the SCC Data Center is removed.

Because of the size of the Ref Room, noise was thought to be a problem for group study. The construction of group study rooms within the Reference Reading Room was mentioned; some thought in the back by George Street while others thought in the front toward College Ave. might be more suitable. The location of any possible café would have a bearing on where these study rooms could be located.

The issue of unsupervised youths using the library as a hangout was raised and will need further discussion.

The possible use of compact shelving in the Bound Periodical area was mentioned and Françoise, Jeff and Andy Martinez are looking into the feasibility. It was thought that introducing compact shelving could save between 33% and 50% of existing space. It was unanimously agreed upon that reducing the size of the reference collection is needed. Ryan mentioned that Kilmer might have space available for business titles but this would be a large undertaking and the diminished presence of voucher workers would add to the burden of faculty and staff. When asked which material he believed to be essential in the Reference room, Kevin stated that dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases and the NY Times Index should be kept. Kevin was asked to chair a subcommittee to discuss the weeding of the collection. Joining him on this subcommittee will be Judy, Ryan and Stephanie Bartz will be asked to participate as well.

Ideas for a new Reference Desk were discussed, including: a smaller, mobile desk able to comfortably sit one or two librarians with seats for researchers and it should be located in the main traffic area. A "robotic librarian" was mentioned, which could give researchers access to a remote librarian.

Another thought was for the Circulation Desk to relocate to the Reference Room and have one combined service area, operating from different sides of the desk. If the current Circulation Desk space became available it would offer another possible location for a café.

Françoise will speak to Tom Glynn and ask if she can attend the next Reference meeting and may suggest a joint meeting between the Reference members and Alexander Reference Room and Lobby Redesign Committee members.


A new "Welcome/Help/Referral" desk situated in the center of the lobby was suggested. The point was made that the person staffing the Welcome Desk should refer researchers to the Reference Desk when applicable and should walk around the desk to speak with people with disabilities. The possible relocation of the current Gallery '50 was brought up but this could be problematic as funds were donated and this gallery was named for the donors. It was thought that a "welcome film" which would give basic information about Alexander Library would be a nice addition and perhaps it could play on a continuous loop on a designated monitor. The directory/guide on the wall should either be removed or updated.

24 Hr. Access - Basement & First Floors

A new subcommittee will be formed with Françoise, Judy and Jeff to discuss the feasibility of keeping the basement and first floors open 24 hours for student study.

Next meeting

Thursday, July 10 at 2:15 in McDonnell Room (#220 Alexander - 2nd floor)

The meeting adjourned at 3:45 PM.

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