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No Library, No Problem: Engineering Solutions to Library Challenges

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Librarian Collaborations in the Library, On Campus, and Beyond

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

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Paper Authors


Cari Kaurloto University of Southern California

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Cari Lyle is the Science and Engineering Librarian at USC Libraries. Her primarily role is to serve as the liaison to the engineering and computer science departments. Having worked for years as a library paraprofessional, this is Cari's first professional role as a librarian and she is definitely jumping into the deep end!

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This presentation is intended for fellow librarians, especially those in the middle of organizational restructuring, staff shortages, and physical space changes. My intention is to discuss the problems I have encountered in my role as the Science and Engineering Librarian at _____. While ____ at large has had many struggles, the libraries, and specifically the Science and Engineering Library, have had to contend with numerous staffing shortages and library redesigns. My plan is to layout the four main problem areas – staffing, physical space, collections, and outreach – and discuss how I (along with others in my library) have attempted to overcome these obstacles and make plans for the future.

Some examples of that include: losing the first floor of our library to another unit on campus and having to reassess our physical layout, furniture, and collections. We had to conduct major weeding projects and analysis of our collections, reducing our print collection to a third of its size. Without a physical library centralized near the science and engineering buildings, we refocused on our outreach efforts, establishing a monthly newsletter and reaffirmed our commitment to library instruction for engineering courses. Library instruction, however, is not an immediately solvable problem and I want to explore how we are attempting to overcome previous staff directives that were anti-instruction and reconnect with engineering faculty, who at one point had us very involved in their freshman academy series. I want to demonstrate how some solutions are more about making plans towards a better, collaborate future with the science and engineering departments and how over time we can reconnect with these departments.

While the topic is engaging, I hope to also ask the audience questions throughout the presentation to highlight that we all face obstacles in our work, but that sharing solutions and demonstrating positive outcomes benefits us all. The expected outcomes include a greater understanding of the challenges facing libraries and librarians and actual solutions (or, at least, action plans to solve) to those problems.

Kaurloto, C. (2020, June), No Library, No Problem: Engineering Solutions to Library Challenges Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34994

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