Institution: Keiser Lakeland Library
“Who Knew?! Collaborative Effort and Team Spiritedness “Journals 2 U” Inspires the College Student’s Connection to Scholarly Journal Use
by Karyn Zelbovitz, MLIS, Library Director for Keiser University Lakeland Library.
Reviewing the usage statistics of my in print journals was an empty experience. Thousands of dollars had been spent on periodicals that never left the shelf. Although library policy allowed for checkout of journals, but alas almost all of them had not been circulated. The library staff attempted to place journals in more visible locations, aimed them closer to seating areas, hoping that turning clear canisters facing outward would draw more interest. This was to no avail of change in the circulation stats.
Month after month of handling periodicals, while seeing cutting edge cover stories go virtually unnoticed, it became obvious that change was needed. Either the resources of the print journals needed to be redirected or the journals needed to sprout wings and fly off my shelves. I asked “Why?” and thought of my educational journey spotted with quiet afternoons in the stacks, and the emergence of databases. Had digital collections replaced the need for print? My regional and national accreditation reviewers certainly required print journal availability.
My query emerged again in the midst of a library orientation. Young and enthusiastic college starters sat around a carrel of technology as we began training. I asked, “Who can tell me, what is a journal?” One student spoke up, to the approval of his classmates, “A journal is like a diary, a place where you write about a some aspect you are interested in tracking.” All agreed. Again, I asked, “Is there another definition of a journal?” The group was silent. I held up a scholarly journal to the group and there was no recognition. I asked sheepishly, “Is this a journal?” They group looked puzzled. Similar responses were found in several other groups. I was astonished that bright college students could not identify a journal as a journal when prompted with a visual clue. I began to immediately send to faculty copies of the best cover stories as a gift from the library. Perhaps the instructors would enlighten the students, when they themselves read a great article. This soon became a team effort, to save the journal. I began Journals 2 U.
My serials librarian was given the task of taking the most exciting information from our in print journals and making 30 copies on colored paper for each of the program department heads in our university setting. Each week, 30 copies went to a new department until all the departments had received this gift from the library. We thought colored paper would allow the student and faculty to easily find the article in the midst of their other handouts. We received thank you notes for our efforts, but our circulation stats did not change by one number.
We then met informally with instructors as we were giving them their free journal packet about what they were teaching in the next month. We found new articles that zeroed in on relevant subject materials to their planned curriculum. We received more notes of appreciation, but again not one journal was circulated.
We created a display that wrapped around the upper level of the collection displaying the various articles sent to the programs. Accreditation teams marveled at our innovativeness and promotion of journals. However, not one journal was checked-out.
Then, in setting up a library orientation with an instructor that was recently published, we explored direct usage of periodicals. The instructor stated she wanted students to read and use in print journals more as an educational objective. I suggested her students could select an article from our in print nursing collection and provide a brief paper presentation. She loved the idea. She told the other nursing faculty. They loved the idea. They each added this to their lesson plans and assignments. They told other faculty of other disciplines. Now many instructors add this assignment when they request a library orientation. Journals 2 U reminds faculty of the scholarly merit, programmatic value, and budgetary worth of print journals to academia.
Today, as I prepare for a large group of nursing students for a library orientation in which they will learn about library resources and databases, each will be checking out an in print nursing journal of their choice. This innovation has become commonplace now in the library. The library team has a special quiet smile as each journal is circulated. We saved the print journal.
Journals 2 U was successful and all of the library staff and faculty are responsible for its development. The team spiritedness that began with the library staff was collaboratively supported by the faculty. Everyone in this innovation was a winner. Students have an exemplary scholarly article, faculty have curriculum support, print journals are being circulated, and accreditation reviewers love Journals 2 U collaborative success.
But there is that moment, when a new college student is standing in the library with one of the new journals in her hand, smiling in eager anticipation of what new things she will learn as she gazes at the cover and walks towards the circulation counter. She did not know that there were journals of experts in her discipline that wrote scholarly articles. My circ stats and budgetary expenditures are now well supported by that student’s smile. Who knew!?
Project Type: Project in Progress
Budget: pre-existed budget with no new costs
Karyn Waters Zelbovitz,MLIS,MSC,MS, Library Director
Tsu Yin Lue, MLIS, Serials Assitant Librarian
Jonathan Koch, MLIS, Reference Assistant Librarian
Audra Rose,MLIS, Information Literacy Assistant Librarian
and the fabulous collaborative faculty of Keiser University Lakeland Campus