Northern Kentucky University, Chase Law Library

Maintain great user services even with reduced staff

Nunn Hall at Northern Kentucky University, which houses the Chase Law Library

"The quality of OCLC's customer service, in the implementation period and afterwards, is just head and shoulders above any other library company I've ever experienced."

Tom Heard
Associate Professor of Law Library Services and Associate Director for Information Technology, Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University's two libraries, the main W. Frank Steely Library and the Chase Law Library, recently reorganized into two separate units after years of acting as one. Around the time of this reorganization, several staff members retired and were not immediately replaced, which has left the law library with minimal staff. In addition, the library implemented WorldShare® Management Services (WMS) during this time so it would be ready for the 2015 fall semester.

"At this point," said Associate Director for Information Technology Tom Heard, "because of quite a few vacancies, we're just trying to … keep ourselves afloat." Because of WMS, the remaining law library staff are beginning to be able to streamline some of their routine processes. These efficiencies have allowed the library to continue to provide the high level of service that students and faculty are used to.

Because WMS is cloud-based, the library staff can share some work with other law libraries around the world. For example, Tom noted significant time savings with serials check-in procedures. "WMS has an option to share journal check-in patterns," he explained. "Consequently, our people aren't required to create them from scratch for every title."

Assistant Director for User Services Jane Underwood also appreciates the cloud-based nature of WMS because it allows for continual improvements. "There are changes that happen all the time," Jane said. "I really like the fact that it gets tweaked and it gets changed on more than a yearly basis." Tom added that he used to update the library's old client-based software on every computer in the library. "It could … take me up to a quarter of an hour per computer," he said. "That cost is now completely out of the way."

"There are changes that happen all the time. ...I really like the fact that it [WMS] gets tweaked and it gets changed on more than a yearly basis."

Jane Underwood
Associate Professor of Law Library Services and Assistant Director for User Services, Northern Kentucky University

Chase Law Library already used WorldShare Interlibrary Loan and had an OCLC Cataloging and Metadata Subscription, so WMS helps with "further integrating all of our offerings to our patrons," Tom stated. In the courses they teach, Jane and Tom have also found that students have an easy time using the WorldCat® Discovery interface. "It's easy on them," Tom said, "because the idea of taking that left-hand column and using it to refine your results is [similar to] what is used in the current iteration of Lexis and Westlaw." Jane thinks the students especially appreciate that they aren't "bouncing from database to database" since search results can easily appear in one list. "I've worked with the discovery end of many catalogs," Jane added, "and I like this one a lot."

Map showing location of Northern Kentucky University

Library at a glance

  • Serves 430 full-time and part-time students as well as faculty of Northern Kentucky University's Chase College of Law with 24/7 access
  • Contains more than 313,700 volumes and approximately 57,859 monographic and serial titles
  • Chase College of Law is one of three law schools in Kentucky and the only one that offers an evening program

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