Library News for the Friends of the UMass Amherst Libraries

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  • Publication
    UMass Amherst Friends of the Library Newsletter - Spring/Summer 2016 (no. 51)
    (2016-07-01) Schafer, Jay
    One of my most enjoyable "duties" as Director of Libraries over the past 12 years has been to participate in our annual spring commencement ceremonies. It is always heart-warming to see the exhilaration of the students and the pride of their families as the graduates cross the stage and being a new chapter of their lives. This year, Commencement held a special meaning for me as I retire after 23 years as a professional librarian. Just as with each of those newly graduated students, I am beginning a new chapter in my life. Like them, I am excited by the opportunities ahead (traveling, spending time with family and friends, and binge watching all those television series I haven't seen because I was doing email every evening) but also wistful about leaving what has been the focus of my life for the past 12 years — working with the exceptionally talented and extremely dedicated staff at the UMass Amherst Libraries to provide the best possible library services, collections and facilities for our students, faculty and community at large. There have been the "splashy," highly visible successes like the Learning Commons, ScholarWorks, Credo, Falcon Cam, Open Education Initiative, and the Digital Media Lab with 3D Printing. Equally important have been the innovative services and workflows in Interlibrary Loan, Information Resource Management, E-Reserves, and Virtual Reference Service. But none of this could have come to fruition without those who provide the basic infrastructure of the Libraries — Library Systems, Administrative Services and Building Monitors, the Library Office, the Science & Engineering Library, the Image Collection Library, Access Services, Undergraduate Teaching & Learning Services and research and Liaison Services. Essential to supporting the UMass Amherst Libraries and funding many of these extraordinary efforts has been the Friends of the Library Board, the Libraries' UMass Rising Capital Campaign Committee, and our exceptionally talented Development and Communications Department. Under the leadership of Campaign Chair, Lorrey Bianchi '69, the Libraries have raised almost $45 million to support improved collections and facilities. As I have said before, the Libraries are blessed with a large number of donors which has allowed us to move to a level of excellence that would not be possible if we depended only on campus funding. As I retire, many congratulate me on my successes over the years. These successes are not mine. They belong to the team and the individuals with whom it has been a privilege to work over the past years. More than anything, I will miss them and you, the Friends of the Libraries. You have made me look successful and I very sincerely appreciate your efforts and support.
  • Publication
    UMass Amherst Friends of the Library Newsletter - Fall/Winter 2015 (no. 50)
    (2015-01-01) Schafer, Jay
    If you have been following the Libraries’ newsletter closely over the years, you might have noticed that the space for my message has gone from a whole page to half a page to, now, a little more than a quarter page. I can assure you it is not because I have less to say. Rather, it is because there are so many exciting “happenings” in the Libraries – from raptors to international visitors to digital media and 3D printing services to sustainability to jazz to new collections and finally to new staff and upcoming events. Why take up space with me telling you how great our staff, services, and collections are when we can show you by documenting the many activities of the past several months. I will share one (perhaps) silly but, to me, significant accomplishment. This past summer, the windows of the Du Bois Library were washed for the first time in more than 30 years. Metaphorically, this could be viewed as recognizing the significant investment the University has made in supporting the Libraries, or as symbolic of the transformation going on inside the walls of the building as we move from a print world to a digital one. To me, it symbolizes how the light of knowledge shines brighter into the building and how all of us working inside the building have a clearer view of our campus, our students, and our mission.
  • Publication
    UMass Amherst Friends of the Library Newsletter - Spring/Summer 2015 (no. 49)
    (2015-07-01) Schafer, Jay
    Only time will tell if 3D printing is really the next industrial revolution; all indications are that it is indeed a transformative technology. UMass Amherst Libraries, with the support of the Friends of the Libraries, are providing our students and faculty with the opportunity to experiment and engage with this new technology through the creation of the MakerBot Innovation Center. The first such center in New England and the first located in a university library, the Innovation Center provides access to over 50 3D printers, 3D scanners, and an innovative 3D printing software platform that links the printers together, providing remote access, print queuing and mass production of 3D prints, and is designed to streamline productivity and staffing. Why the Libraries? Because UMass Amherst Libraries, through services like the Learning Commons and the Digital Media Lab, provide an environment in which students and faculty feel free to explore new forms of scholarship while being secure in the history and tradition of our print collections and digital information resources. The Libraries provide a neutral territory where all disciplines are welcomed and encouraged to explore and interact with others to create new, interdisciplinary discoveries. Without support from our Friends, the Innovation Center would not be possible. Your contributions to the Innovation Fund, the 21st Century Technology Fund, the Digital Media Lab, and our Library Facilities Fund have allowed UMass Libraries to move to a level of excellence never possible if we had to depend only on campus funding. In a similar manner, your contributions to a variety of collection and service endowments provide on-going support that builds excellence and quality at a level never before known at UMass Amherst. It’s a broad spectrum of services that the UMass Amherst Libraries staff provide—from maintaining excellent print collections to offering cutting-edge 3D printing services—because that is what today’s students and faculty desire and deserve. With your continuing support, we will be able to live up to their expectations.
  • Publication
    UMass Amherst Friends of the Library Newsletter - Fall/Winter 2014 (no. 48)
    (2014-01-01) Schafer, Jay
    The Libraries recently celebrated the seventh annual Open Access Week. This global event is an opportunity for the academic and research community to learn about the potential benefits of open access – the free, immediate, online access to the peer-reviewed results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results. This year Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and Faculty Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, was the Library’s keynote speaker. Author of the book, Open Access, published by MIT Press in 2012 and now available openly online, Dr. Suber met with students, faculty and faculty governance bodies to discuss the impacts and implications of the open access policy adopted by Harvard. The high cost of commercial textbooks (both print and electronic) continues to be a major concern for both students and their parents. During Open Access Week, the Libraries announced the fifth round of grants available through the Open Education Initiative (OEI). This faculty incentive program supports faculty interested in providing their students with a less expensive yet educationally rewarding alternative to commercial textbooks. Through a total investment of $39,000 in the first three years of the initiative, 30 faculty members from eight schools/colleges have created alternatives to commercial textbooks that have resulted in an estimated savings of over $1 million for their students. The Friends of the Library are providing $10,000 to fund this cycle’s OEI grants. The Libraries also announced a new fund to support open access publication of UMass Amherst peer-reviewed scholarship. The Supporting Open Access Research (SOAR) Fund underwrites reasonable publication charges for articles published in peer-reviewed journals that are openly accessible. A pilot program will make $25,000 available to UMass Amherst authors of articles and books. Finally, the Libraries are one of only five sites in the country chosen by OpenStax College, supported by Rice University, to engage in a pilot program to showcase their open textbook materials. These are peer-reviewed texts written by professional content developers. Free online and low-cost in print, the OpenStax College books are built for today’s student budgets. The UMass Amherst Libraries have two major goals in promoting open access on campus. The first is cost containment—both for students through less expensive textbooks, and for libraries through reduced pricing for scholarly journals. The second is public access to scholarly research—encouraging faculty to publish in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals and still providing open access to their scholarship. We in the Libraries are excited by this opportunity to support open access for the good of students and the academy. Thank you for your continuing financial support, which helps underwrite these very important efforts.
  • Publication
    UMass Amherst Friends of the Library Newsletter - Fall/Winter 2013 (no. 46)
    (2013-10-01) Schafer, Jay
    As I promised in the Spring “News,” 2013 has been jam-packed with events and celebrations. The Sesquicentennial Celebration has been a focus both for the campus and the Libraries. Our Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has provided historical documentation of the past 150 years, including a rich collection of photographs and memorabilia, that appears at almost every event related to the celebration. Rob Cox, Head of SCUA, and his staff are due special commendation for their extraordinary dedication in working with such a broad community of constituents to make campus history come alive. We are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the opening of the “Library tower”—officially named the W.E.B. Du Bois Library in 1994. Most alums since 1973 have a favorite story about the library, which often include “urban myths” that continue to this day. In this issue, we have debunked some of those myths. But, more importantly, the “Tower” is symbolic of the central role the Libraries play in the daily lives of students—24/5, plus weekends. Today’s libraries are essential to the teaching and research mission of the university—especially as we move from a print environment into the digital age. A third major initiative in 2013 is the UMassRising Capital Campaign. The Libraries’ goal in the $300 million campus-wide fundraising effort is $45 million. To this point, we have achieved approximately 86% of our goal. The Libraries must raise an additional $6 million, from now through June 2016, to be successful. Every gift—from $25 to a bequest of $1 million—is important and essential. UMassRising is about more than money. Importantly, it is about taking the Libraries’ services, collections, and facilities to the next level of excellence, for the students, the faculty, and the Commonwealth. Your continued support of the UMass Amherst Libraries will help us continue the excellent work you see documented on the following pages. Our staff is encouraged and invigorated to know that their efforts are being supported and enhanced by the generous donations of each of you—our Friends. As always, thank you for your support—now, and in the future. Jay Schafer Director of Libraries