UW-Fox streamlines library structure, expands online support

After the reorganization, student spaces in the library were reorganized for either quiet individual or group study. • photo by Vinnie Oestreich

The UW-Fox library is maintaining its focus on helping students with special attention to its online resources in the midst of budget cuts.

All campus libraries in the UW system have been consolidated under a sole institutional library director and one pooled budget, which has resulted in a concerted effort to bring more communal resources to the UW library system.

Under this new, consolidated system, it’s easier than ever for a student to borrow research materials from other UW libraries. Just a couple of clicks in the Search@UW interface will have a book ready and available at the Fox library in two to three days.

“What we’ve seen is it doesn’t really matter much if we have it locally, because we can get it from everywhere,” Ane Carriveau, senior academic librarian, said. “That’s really exciting because that means we can buy a bigger variety of things, and we can get stuff in different formats that we’ve never been able to do.”

Such new formats include the New York Times and the entirety of its historical archives online.

Also added in the past two years were a list of e-books, audiobooks and improvements to the Search@UW database and D2L to facilitate streaming video services.

Academic Librarian Kelly Johnson showcases the library’s online citation guide—one of the many available online library resources—in a research seminar. • photo by Coulson Richards

The library has made recent changes to its physical layout as well. After assessing how library space was being used in the past few years, the UW-Fox library organized student spaces specifically allocated for either quiet study or group collaboration.

The CASE desk is another recent addition to the library.

The CASE desk helps students with their library-related questions, scheduling support services such as tutoring and library instruction and providing basic IT support and troubleshooting for issues such as how to change a student account password and how to use the college’s printing services.

“The CASE associate is the main point of contact,” Kris Kissling, CASE associate, said. “If they come into the library and they need help with finding a book, or if they need access to the librarians, they could grab those types of things from me. If they’re having an IT issue—they can’t login to a computer … or they need to buy more printing credit—they could stop here and ask me.”

There are some issues that cannot be handled by the CASE associate such as student account problems more complex than a password reset or if a student forgets their account security questions. These types of issues will require help from the Central Information Technology Services (CITS), the newly consolidated IT department that assists students and staff of the entire UW system from its headquarters in Madison.

CITS can be contacted via webform, email and phone, all of which are listed on the Technology Support page of the UW-Fox Valley website.

The restructuring from campus-specific IT departments to one central IT service is a result of budget cuts and projections of lower enrollment in the UW system.

“We really saw it as an opportunity to collaborate and maybe leverage ourselves in ways we haven’t been able to before,” Carriveau said.

The UW-Fox library has faced some new strain on its back-office duties due to the budget cuts and consequent restructuring, but library and CASE staff remain enthusiastic in their student-facing positions to provide students with the resources they need.

“The best thing students can know is that they can always ask any questions they have. Usually, we tell people that you’re rescuing us from something we’d rather be doing a lot less than helping people,” Kelly Johnson, academic librarian, said.

UW-Fox students work in the library’s newly allocated group study area. • photo by Coulson Richards.

Johnson and Carriveau work as a team in leading research classes and assisting students and instructors, and, with the other library staff, they maintain the library as a quiet, productive space for students and staff.