Antioch University

Collaborate for better services across campuses

Students in the lobby of the library on Antioch University's New England campus

"The librarians we have concentrate on reference, research assistance, course design and instruction. They are not bogged down with patron loads. They are not bogged down with IT issues."

Cathy Boswell
Coordinator of University Library Systems, Antioch University

Antioch University's five libraries support non-residential and online students and faculty spread throughout the United States. As Antioch's Coordinator of University Library Systems, Cathy Boswell, said, "You would question indeed how we worked together. And before we actually started to try and pull together in 2010 … we didn't." She explained, "We were using five different ILS systems—at a pretty hefty price—to manage 58,000 physical items with less than 7,000 checkouts per year." None of these systems allowed the libraries' e-resources to appear in their catalogs. And they did not loan material between campuses.

In 2010, to support accreditation as a single university, the libraries discussed collaboration and their common "desire to do things better for our students," Cathy said. "A growing number of students and faculty were shifting to online or blended online and residency experiences with much more fluidity between the locations." With this realization, "we started librarians thinking outside their catalogs," she said. "They were thinking more about e-resources, more about cooperative collection development. And, over time, they acknowledged the limits of keeping separate systems. …It became clear that the limitations that we were experiencing could be largely solved by moving to WMS," or WorldShare Management Services.  

"In 2010, we had about 7,000 circulation check outs. We doubled that in 2015 [after launching WMS]. Intercampus loans—we weren’t cooperating at all [in 2010]; we moved 2,000 items in 2015. [From 2010 to 2015, ILL] borrowing doubled, and document delivery, shockingly, went up three times. The other place we saw a drastic surge was in our EBSCO searches because of the way the front end in WorldCat [Discovery] hooks in to do the searching."

After migrating all five systems to a cloud-based library management system, the libraries went live with WMS in June 2013, began using the WorldCat® knowledge base in 2014, and established intercampus loan in 2015. For the first time, Cathy said, "All the e-content we buy is actually findable. ...WorldCat Discovery makes our 390,000+ e-books discoverable through one simple interface. WorldShare Collection Manager allows library staff to easily manage more than 35 aggregated collections of e-books as well as single title purchases." She added, "It's amazing to me that, instead of having to pull MARC files and do adds and deletes in the catalog, that I can use a check box [in Collection Manager] to indicate what collections I own and then go in and tweak it as needed." In addition, she said, "Hosting and the cloud frees us from most IT issues."

Antioch University libraries have also benefited from additional reporting capabilities through WorldShare Report Designer. "We have just added on the statistics package, and I am in love," Cathy said. "I've been able to provide ACRL statistics. …We're able to do customized reporting for our locations, plus all of the baseline stats that we needed."

The consolidation helped the libraries provide more resources and more consistent service to their users, and each one is able to customize for their local practices. "Librarians have a great deal of control at their locations to manage their local collections," Cathy said. Locations differ on reserve and inventory processes, for example, based on the needs of their users. Most importantly, Cathy said, "Students, both in front of and behind the desk, love their library now. It has become so easy for them to be mobile, to move about the Antioch library system, and receive consistent service. And we’re hearing very good things from faculty as well."

Map showing locations of Antioch University

Library at a glance

  • Consists of one library on each of Antioch University's five campuses across the United States
  • Supports approximately 5,000 students, faculty members and staff members across all campuses and through online and low-residency programs
  • Students have access to all Antioch University Library locations as well as extensive online collections

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