June 25, 2007

Morris Library staff exceeds service standards

by Christi Mathis


CARBONDALE, Ill. – Despite the changes, relocations and temporary inconveniences resulting from the renovation/expansion project, the staff at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Morris Library continues to meet remarkable service standards, said David Carlson, dean of Library Affairs.

Morris Library is part of the Greater Western Library Alliance, a consortium of 31 research libraries in the Midwest and Western United States that collaboratively share scholarly communication, electronic resources and more, including materials via interlibrary loans. Carlson said the affiliation gives Morris Library two major advantages: The libraries realize substantial cost savings through joint purchasing from vendors and the member libraries provide priority processing to loan requests for documents and materials for one another. Thus, participating libraries reduce costs while achieving enhanced services and timeliness.

To assure good service for all members, the GWLA has prescribed standards for its interlibrary loans and monitors compliance on a quarterly basis. In this area, Morris Library excels, according to Carlson. The standards call for processing 85 percent of requests for copies, provided of materials such as articles, within the third Online Computer Library Center referral day and processing of 80 percent of the requests for returnable items such as books within the fifth OCLC referral day. The OCLC is a non-profit international database of library holdings with more than 37,000 libraries worldwide offering in excess of 44 million titles.

Carlson said during the last quarter, Morris Library soared well above the prescribed standard, processing copy requests within the third day 99 percent of the time and book requests by the benchmark 98 percent of the time.

"These are great statistics," Carlson said.

The library processed 281 copy requests and 331 materials requests in the quarter ending April 30, according to Tammy Winter, head of circulation and interlibrary loans.

Carlson recognized Winter as well as library employees David Bond, Charles Flagg, Paul Porter and Alisha Grissom for their work and dedication that resulted in the accomplishment. The staff accomplished the feat in the midst of the major renovation/expansion project. The McLafferty Annex houses some of the library materials during the construction process and the administrative offices are temporarily located in the Northwest Annex. Yet, the staff continues to work hard to meet all internal and external needs for materials in a very timely manner, Carlson noted.

Carlson said the library project is on schedule, more than halfway complete. Workers are hanging lights, painting walls and will be installing carpeting later this month as finishing work on the fifth floor progresses smoothly and quickly. Giant glass walls are soon to grace the exterior addition too. Another big step forward in November or December will be initial utilization of some of the new space as work proceeds on space currently in use. The project timeline sets a finishing deadline in the summer of 2009 and Carlson indicated Morris Library will continue to provide good, quality service as the renovation and expansion work proceeds.