Butler University

Reimagine your workflows to better serve your users

Butler University students in the library
Photo courtesy of Butler University.

"Having a legacy system that was built for the processes of 20 years ago meant that we kept the paper processes of 30 years ago, which were then automated 20 years ago. Moving to a new system that was designed around e-resources workflows and sharing information inspired us to change all kinds of other things within our library."

Josh Petrusa
Associate Dean for Collections & Digital Services, Butler University

Until recently, Butler University Libraries depended on workflows "that made sense in the environment of 20 years ago," said Josh Petrusa, Associate Dean for Collections & Digital Services. "We had a lot of slips, we had a lot of forms, we had a lot of stamps, we had a lot of paper." Even though two-thirds of the budget supports electronic resources, the library staff managed them in spreadsheets and didn't collect usage data effectively.

"Our priorities changed over the last few years, but our workflows didn't," Josh explained. Butler University, however, is a member of the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI), which implemented WorldShare® Management Services (WMS) for its 23 members in 2014. The switch to a new system encouraged the library to reconsider workflows and to align staff skills and services to better focus on top priorities.

"Because of these changes that we've been able to make thanks to WMS through streamlining some processes, the workflows are inspiring us to reorganize around new duties and units that make more sense."

"We have drastically changed the things that full time staff people do," Josh explained. "It's been a catch-up. We just hired our first e-resources librarian ever." Because WMS is easy to use, student workers have taken over many tasks, including fulfilling consortial interlibrary loan requests and pulling items for the library's deselection project. The acquisitions staff now handles much of the copy cataloging work. "We were already trusting our acquisitions staff to find the best record they could," Josh explained. "Now that we're in WMS, finding the best record they can in WorldCat® means they're just placing the order on that record." He added, "Our full-time cataloging staff now have time to work on special collections projects."

Both library staff and students can easily see whether the item they want is available at other PALNI institutions. This supports the library's new demand-driven acquisition program and helps the staff determine whether to purchase or borrow a resource so they can spend their materials budget wisely. Students, who can now sign in to library services with their campus IDs, now place unmediated interlibrary loan requests directly in WorldCat Discovery.

"Because it's so much easier to train everybody, I've given everyone the power to do the things that WMS allows them to do. It helps them do their jobs better," Josh explained. This enables the library staff to give more attention to services that make the most difference for library users. "We have new priorities," Josh said. "The change in system is helping us really concentrate on the things that we can do to focus on our new priorities."

Map showing locaation of Butler University

Library at a glance

  • Supports approximately 4,600 students
  • Includes two on-campus libraries, the Irwin Library and the Ruth Lilly Science Library
  • Member of the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) consortium
  • Provides access to approximately 100,000 e-books, 200 databases, 35,000 electronic journal subscriptions and 335,000 print items

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