VIVA Featured Member Library: Shenandoah University
An interview with Christopher Bean, Library Director, on June 14, 2017
What are three points of pride in your library?
Naturally, I am proud of our library building. While it is now 25 years old, the Smith Library has continued to provide a variety of Inviting spaces for our students, including individual and group study rooms, and many areas of the building with large windows and an outside view. We are now planning for a renovation that will take advantage of our shrinking need for stack space, and will add or enhance the spaces for student collaboration and interaction with library staff.
A second area of pride is the involvement of our librarians in the academic life of the university. The Library is represented on the Faculty Senate and librarians have served on, or chaired various Senate committees, including the University Curriculum Committee and the Information and Technology Committee. Others are part of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the General Education revision process, or provide institutional oversight regarding our SACSCOC accreditation. These activities both reflect and reinforce our integration with the larger university community, and enable us to extend our library outreach to faculty, administration and students.
Finally, I must mention the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) archives located here at the library. In 1968, the EUB merged with the Methodist Church to become the United Methodist Church, and our archives represents the historical materials related to churches that were part of the old Virginia Conference of the EUB. We have several volunteers who have lovingly gathered and helped organize the unique materials found in this archive. In doing so, they have helped make it a resource to former EUB churches in the region.
What is the most popular spot in the library for users?
Group study rooms are always popular, and those rooms tend to fill up first. We hope to have more of them available following the renovation. But other students prefer quiet study areas or individual seating, and we provide that throughout the building. New lounge furniture has also been a hit with students.
Which VIVA resource or service do we value the most, and why?
All of them! Certainly, the Ebscohost multidisciplinary collection is heavily used. Also, both the Wiley collection and the Proquest Dissertations and Theses collections are very popular at Shenandoah. The recent Kanopy PDA pilot has also gotten lots of attention from our faculty, and I hope it will continue.
Apart from the resources, what I value most about VIVA is the organization itself. Every participating institution has benefited from our joint ability to leverage the costs of the resources. Moreover, the VIVA committee structure enables and encourages us to collaborate and share ideas with our library colleagues from across the state. All of us can get behind that!