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New Study Rooms and Reference Redesign Completed

   Thursday, March 17th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

New subject tables and study rooms in the libraryThis week marked the opening of the new study rooms on the lower level of the library - but that is just the most visible element of the library's continually-evolving approach to meeting the needs of Chelmsford patrons.

This project began with the realization of two trends:

  1. Our print reference collection was under-utilized
  2. Our single quiet study room was constantly booked

A New Approach To Reference
One of the first things patrons associate with libraries are reference books - the books that have to stay in the library. However, fewer and fewer people were actually using those books. Modern lifestyles are such that it is easier to do research at home or online, not using reference books in the library.

This reality calls for an updating of our approach to reference, and one way the library is responding is by making most of the traditional "library use only" books able to be checked out and taken home. These books have shorter loan periods - seven days - and cannot be renewed or requested by other libraries. This special circulation status should strike a balance between making sure the books are available in the library when people need them, and the convenience for patrons to use them at home.

As these books were redesignated as "okay to check out," they were also interfiled with the regular circulating collection. This makes information on a subject much easier to find, because all books on a topic are in one place, instead of having to check the circulating collection and reference collection.

The Library Is The Place To Be
Despite the drop in use of the reference collection, there has been a rise in use of the library as a common study and meeting space - especially by tutors and small groups.

Our single study room is always in demand, and it became clear than one room did not meet the needs of our patrons. So, as a way to repurpose the space that had housed our reference collection, we took down those shelves and built three new study rooms. Check out our online photo gallery of room construction.

Each room is 8' x 8', has two chairs, a long counter top work area, a clock, power outlets, and ethernet jacks for connecting to the internet. The rooms are reservable by contacting the Reference Desk.

Making Popular Topics Easier to Access
The third goal in this project was to highlight a few of the more frequently-used subject areas, and make them easier for people to find. To solve this we added three new subject tables, and also put these in the space where the reference shelves used to be.

The subjects on these tables are:

  • Encyclopedias & Statistics
  • Career Resources
  • Car Repair
  • Genealogy
  • Maps & Atlases

These are subjects that patrons are frequently asking for, and highlighting them on subject tables, with visible signs, will make them much easier to locate and use.

Most of the work has been accomplished, with library staff still finishing up some of the final touches. When you get a chance, stop by the lower level of the library to check out the changes.

Let us know what you think - we listen!

   Posted in Library Information | No Comments »

Changes to Reference Collection and New Study Rooms

   Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Reference Area ChangesThe library will be undergoing a small renovation project starting this week.

One of our most frequent requests from patrons is for additional small study room space - for people to either study quietly on their own, meet with a tutor, or to have a small meeting. The library currently has one room available for this purpose, but in order to respond to this growing need of our patrons, we'll be building three new small study rooms with internet accessibility on the library's lower level.

Building More Study Rooms
Working with the Director of Public Facilities for the town, Gary Persichetti, and utilizing a combination of town employees and paid contractors, we will be able to accomplish the project (renovation and furnishings) at a very modest cost. The Board of Library Trustees have approved this project, funding it with a combination of endowment and state aid money. In difficult financial times, it is particularly gratifying that the library is able to meet user needs without requesting additional municipal funding.

Changes To The Reference Collection
To make space for the new study rooms, we'll be modernizing our approach to our reference collection. There is a growing trend in public libraries to interfile reference titles with the regular circulating collection. We will integrate a large portion of our heavily-used reference materials into the regular library stacks and de-accession titles that are now available via the Internet and in our on-line databases.

With this change, many reference titles will now be available for circulation for one week! This also addresses a growing need of patrons to use library materials in their own homes, instead of in the library. The shorter loan period (one week instead of three weeks) will also mean the material will still spend time on the library shelves, and thus be available when people need it.

Subject Collection Tables and Additional Seating
We will still have a small collection of non-circulating reference books, such as encyclopedias, which will be housed on index tables where some of the reference shelves currently are. We'll also use these index tables to highlight certain subject areas, such as genealogy, career resources, and auto repair, that are sometimes hard to find in the regular circulating collection. Also, these additional tables will increase the seating space for wireless access, a service need that has greatly increased in the last year. We'll be moving things around for the next few months to accommodate both the renovation and the new locations of items.

We hope you will pardon the transition, and that you will enjoy the new study space and access to the collection when this project is completed. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to talk to the reference staff, library trustees or to Becky Herrmann, Library Director, at bherrmann@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x101.

   Posted in Library Information, Reference | No Comments »

New Resources Available at the Library

   Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Through the library, Chelmsford residents now have access to a few new research and reference databases, and one new museum pass:

New Museum Pass
American Textile History MuseumThanks to the Chelmsford Friends of the Library we now have a new pass to the American Textile History Museum in Lowell. The American Textile History Museum tells America's story through the art, history, and science of textiles. The pass admits two adults and two children to the museum, and all 17 of our museum passes can be reserved through our website.

New Research Databases

  • Safari Computer Ebooks - Online collection of over 3,000 computer and technical ebooks, covering programming, design, desktop publishing, ecommerce, online business, hardware and more, from publishers such as O'Reilly, Wiley, Pretence Hall, and many more.
  • Encyclopedia of American Immigration - Online access to Salem Press' Encyclopedia of American Immigration, covering the various cultures and significant individuals that immigrated to the US, and their impact after arriving. The Salem History database also searches Great Lives from History: Inventors and Inventions.
  • Great Lives from History: Inventors and Inventions - Online access to Salem Press' Great Lives from History: Inventors and Inventions, offering in-depth biographical essays on important men and women inventors of all time, from around the world. The Salem History database also searches Encyclopedia of American Immigration.

For help reserving any of our museum passes or using any of our online resources, please contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

   Posted in Friends of the Library, Library Information, Resources | No Comments »

Flash Drives at the Reference Desk

   Saturday, June 7th, 2008 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Flash DriveTo keep up with changing computer technology, the Library started offering flash drives at the Reference Desk last year. Flash drives (also called USB drives, jump drives, thumb drives and memory sticks) let people store much more of their work in a smaller package, and they are more reliable than the old style 3-1/2" square floppy disks.

The flash drives now available at the Reference Desk are DataTravelers from Kingston, and cost $8.00. They can hold 1 gigabyte of information - which is the equivalent of almost 900 3-1/2" floppy disks!

Using your flash drive on a computer (whether in the Library or somewhere else) is as easy as saving to a floppy disk or the hard drive. Just plug it in (all Library computers have USB ports on the front), browse to your drive, and click save.

If you have any questions about flash drives in general, or need help using one on a computer in the Library, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Computer, Current News | No Comments »

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