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Library unveils strategic plan

Additional popular fiction, lower level main focus

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The Rice Library released their strategic plan for 2017-2021 last week focusing on the four objectives: collections, services, spaces and staff.

The strategic plan is the library’s second, the first one was set for 2010-2016 and was one of the last objectives of the previous library director, Ruth Miller.

“I was really happy and thankful that that was in place,” current Director of Rice Library Marna Hostetler said. “It was very helpful as I was interviewing and preparing to come work for the library.”

One objective for the strategic plan is the addition of more popular fiction books.

The collection of over 500 titles will be loaned to the Rice Library through the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.

Hostetler said the library will have a year-long trial run before making any permanent decisions.

“We are going to see how it goes,” she said. “We will track the numbers and see if people like it.”

Another objective for the library is further outreach to faculty, including space for faculty receptions.

“We are hoping to hire a librarian who will work on scholarly communication issues and this person will work closely with faculty on things like retaining author rights when they publish articles.” Hostetler said. “Libraries are changing, but publishing is changing very quickly and rapidly, so this is part of that transition to digital that we’ve been seeing for some time now.”

The strategic plan also includes expanding the use of the lower level of the library. Hostetler said the library is looking to keep the lower level open until midnight year-round, as it currently closes at 9 p.m.

Hostetler said this will open up more study space in the library, but she is hesitant to keep it open until 2 a.m. like the rest of the library due to safety concerns in the lower level after midnight.

“There is a known war for study rooms on the second, third and fourth floors, so if you leave it open until midnight, I don’t think there will be as much of a problem with people fighting for study rooms,” library student worker Joycelynn Witherspoon said. “I think the biggest problem currently is the study rooms and study spaces. I think with the new BookIt! System, it hasn’t been as much of a problem, but just having more study spaces would be very beneficial.”

The last objective of the strategic plan is replacing part-time staff with full-time staff. Hostetler said the change would not happen until fall of this year. She said the idea was also implemented into the first strategic plan. There are currently 10 part-time staff working at Rice Library.

“I think it will be a lot easier for the communication between library staff,” Witherspoon said.

Hostetler said the plan will continue without any additional funding.

“I think the library is good at listening to student feedback,” Witherspoon said. “I think the higher-ups in the library are really listening to us in terms of what we want. They are way beyond some of the other libraries that I’ve worked in.”

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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
Library unveils strategic plan