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Connecticut College

Renovate for today's information environment

People using the Christie MicroTile Visualization Wall at Connecticut College

"We were able to use the data from SCS to drive our decision making. Instead of just saying, 'We think,' we were able to say, 'We know.' When we made presentations to faculty and student groups, we were able to speak with certainty."

W. Lee Hisle
Vice-President for Information Services and Librarian of the College, Connecticut College

Connecticut College committed to renovating the Charles E. Shain Library to meet the needs of today's students and faculty members. Before construction began, the librarians took the opportunity to conduct a collection management project, which included a careful review of under-used titles. W. Lee Hisle, Vice-President for Information Services and Librarian of the College, and Beth Hansen, Director of Information Resources, had previously worked with Sustainable Collection Services® (SCS) principals, who are now a part of OCLC. SCS had also helped nearby Wesleyan University with a similar deselection project. "Working with SCS on this was a really good choice," Beth said.

"SCS would propose criteria to run against our collection, and then we'd see how many candidates those criteria produced," Lee explained. The deselection criteria included circulation, the age of the item, the availability of electronic resources and whether other libraries owned the item, especially Wesleyan or Trinity College, which share a catalog with Connecticut College as part of the CTW Library Consortium. "We were able to tweak the criteria to identify a reasonable number of de-selection candidates that was defendable to the faculty," he added.

"A pretty critical component was working with faculty to assure them that this was not just a massive 'it wasn't used so we're getting rid of it' project. There was some definite criteria and thought behind our choices."

Beth Hansen
Director of Information Resources, Connecticut College

With faculty support, the library reduced its print collection by about 8%, or 38,000 titles. Lee and Beth worked with the renovation architect to redesign the shelving layout and added approximately 700 square feet of compact shelving. "We reduced the print bookstack footprint by a third," Lee said.

With that extra space and an additional 3,000 square feet gained by expanding the entrance, the library has added a lot of collaboration space, individual study areas and student services. "We've added over 100 seats to the building," Lee said. "Every seat has a plug, so it's a much more study-friendly building, no matter what style of study you're engaged in."

The new spaces feature a huge Christie MicroTile Visualization Wall and the latest instructional technology. "The integration here has been carefully planned to enhance learning and instruction," Beth explained. "We really work to identify the best technologies to support those activities." Lee added, "It's amazing the number of people in this building now."

Map showing location of Connecticut College

Library at a glance

  • The renovated Charles E. Shain Library opened in March 2015, ahead of schedule and in time for student finals
  • In addition to the Shain Library, Connecticut College libraries include the Greer Music Library, the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives, the Language and Culture Center as well as the Connecticut College Digital Commons
  • Shain Library includes the Technology Commons, the Digital Scholarship and Curriculum Center, the Academic Resource Center, a Research Commons, 13 collaboration rooms, two reading rooms with 32 individual study spaces each, the Blue Camel Café, a collection of print and A/V materials exceeding 800,000 items, an expansive living room-style area and outdoor plaza, wireless Internet and plugs near every chair

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