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VIVA: University of Mary Washington Featured Member Library

Virginia's Academic Library Consortium

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VIVA Featured Member Library: University of Mary Washington

An interview with Rosemary Arneson, University Librarian, May 10, 2017

University of Mary Washington

What are three points of pride in your library?

  • First and foremost, the UMW Libraries have an outstanding staff!  They are all dedicated to the work they do, and they make working with them fun.  They support one another and pull together as a team in everything.   Right now, we’re engaged in an effort to reimagine the libraries, and I have been impressed by how willing my folks are to embrace enormous changes in our operations and their creativity in addressing the challenges we face!
  • I am also proud of how well we work with other units on campus to support student learning and faculty research.  We have teamed up with the Center for Teaching and Technology Innovation to promote VIVA’s involvement in the Open Textbook Network, and we are planning a campus-wide effort to promote open education resources next year.  We collaborated with the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies to host a CryptoParty in the spring that helped students learn ways they can protect their privacy online.
  • Our ThinkLab maker space opened in August 2012.   At that time, it was one of very few maker spaces in an undergraduate library intended for general student use.  We have a couple of classes that meet regularly in the ThinkLab, and it is open for anyone to use outside of class times.  The ThinkLab has 2 Dremel 3D printers, 3D scanning equipment, sewing machines, and a variety of tools for fabrication and electronics.  We have partnered with the Digital Knowledge Center in helping people to learn how to use the 3D printers and other technologies available in the space.

What is the most popular spot in the library for users?

  • Everyone loves the Simpson Library “treehouses.” These double-decker carrels on the third floor of the building give students a quiet, somewhat private place to study.   When alumni bring their children through the building on campus visits, they take them up to the third floor to see their favorite nest.
  • The Hurley Convergence Center that is connected to Simpson Library  greatly expanded our study areas, but our favorite space in the HCC is our Digital Archives Lab.  The Lab is equipped with a Cobra book scanner, a 3D scanner, and other scanning equipment.   We’ve worked with our Biology Department to scan the plant specimens in their herbarium, and our History students get hands-on experience scanning and creating metadata for archival materials.  The lab is open for faculty and staff personal use, and we’ve also worked with area historical museums to scan items in their collections – including Mary Ball Washington’s will.
  • The library on our Stafford Campus is a favorite place for graduate students to hang out, away from the hustle and bustle of the undergraduate Simpson Library.  Our Elder Study program has a book group that enjoys meeting in the Stafford Library for their book discussions – especially because the Stafford folks provide coffee and M&M’s. 

Which VIVA resource or service do we value the most, and why?

  • Our students and faculty LOVE interlibrary loans, and we are so grateful to the fantastic VIVA ILL network.  Carla Bailey, our Interlibrary Loan Supervisor, was recently recognized as the “Excellent Eagle Employee” for the extra lengths she goes to in order to get what our faculty and students need.
  • We have also fallen in love with Kanopy this spring.  I have had faculty go out of their way to thank me for making this resource available, and an article in the Blue and Gray Press, our student newspaper, talked about how popular it has become with students.  Thanks, VIVA!