Anderson University in Anderson, SC, is a Films On Demand subscriber. We recently talked with Kent Millwood, Anderson University’s director of library services, about how his library encourages usage among researchers and faculty and makes the most of its budget.
Tell us one way you’re helping users who may be hesitant to embrace technology to take advantage of your library’s online resources.
We have a long way to go, but we are starting to create a lot of one minute “YouTube-like” tutorials. Gen Z seems to like them.
What is your favorite part of being a librarian?
What have you done that has most impacted usage at your college?
Putting as much content as possible into our discovery engine. Students don’t like to search 100 different places to find things, and so our discovery engine simplifies the task. It also creates content winners and losers. If your content is easily discoverable, usage goes up. If not, it’s a terrible waste of good content.
How do you alert faculty to the new resources that your library acquires?
We do all the usual things—monthly newsletters, departmental alerts, individual alerts, cumulative lists, etc.
Tell us how you are making the most out of your library budget in these uncertain economic times.
We watch usage closely and cancel, swap, or downsize when a resource isn’t pulling its weight. Lately we are becoming more and more involved in demand-driven titles. It’s the dandelion principle. We turn on as many resources as possible and then only pay for the ones that get used. These days it’s not just about building a permanent collection. You need that. But you also need the ability to supplement it with whatever you need whenever you need it. The ability to acquire a streaming video or eBook within 24 hours (or less) is a big plus.
What role does social media play in your relationship with your patrons?
Although we have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we are in competition with so many other people saying, “Hey, look at me!” that I wonder how effective we are. On the other hand, college students don’t just read, they post. If you do your job well, help people, and are nice, they will acknowledge you online, reach more people that you ever will, and enhance your reputation. It’s cumulative.
What do you think is the library’s most important responsibility to your institution?
Although libraries provide students with resources and a place for both study and collaborative learning, they can’t take these things with them when they graduate. I see teaching as our most important task.
Tell us about your favorite YouTube video/LibGuide, etc., your library has created to promote a resource.
I am a Tolkien fan and, just for the fun of it, created a Hobbit LibGuide to honor Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. It contains a fun quiz on Hobbit lore and a partial list of our resources. This guide doesn’t get high usage, but it has generated more complimentary emails than any other.