3.8.1 Library and Other Resources: Learning/Information Resources

The institution provides facilities and learning/information resources that are appropriate to support its teaching, research, and service mission.

Link to Original Submission

Off Site Committee Review Findings

The narrative presents specific evidence that the institution makes available library facilities appropriate for its teaching, research, and service missions. Coleman Library provides student space that supports the diversity of student learning needs, including meeting rooms, group study rooms, individual study areas, and study carrels. Grant funding has been used to upgrade space for archival storage. The Library makes available equipment for presentations and the use of mixed media and microforms. The institution provides adequate computing resources and assistance services through Library-managed computers, the Student Computing Center, the Center for Academic Support, and ubiquitous wireless access throughout Coleman Library. The institution provides additional space and equipment resources at other campus locations through the Undergraduate Medical Academy and the Department of Music and Drama.

The institution provides access to Prairie View A&M University digital library assets and services for all its satellite campuses and distance learners. The narrative does not address access to PVAMU print collections by students in off-campus programs. The narrative implies, but does not explicitly state or document, that students at the College of Nursing may use the HAM-TMC library space. (Findings for CR 2.9 indicated that the institution does not present evidence that students in Nursing have access to digital and print collections at HAM-TMC.) Northwest Center provides a small reading room space for students. It can be concluded that the institution provides appropriate library and academic work space for off-campus programs.

The narrative did not provide specific evidence or examples of the appropriateness of collections for supporting the University’s teaching, research, and service mission. There is no evidence of a collection policy and no evidence that library collections align with the University’s curriculum or research.

Prairie View A& M Response to Off Site Review

Access to Main Campus Print Collections and Digital Resources

Students at all locations enjoy the same resources and access as those who are on campus, with access to the Library catalog, interlibrary loan, electronic research databases, and support documentation on the Library Web site. Additionally, the Northwest Center and College of Nursing have on-site librarians for reference and instructional services [1]. The John B. Coleman's print collections are listed in an online catalog, accessible to anyone on the Web. Students and faculty can request such items, which are sent to the home library free of charge and checked out for three weeks; patrons must return the items before the due date to avoid late charges. Materials that do not circulate, such as the References collection and rare books, can be photocopied in keeping with copyright laws and e-mailed to the patron [2].

To initiate requests for library materials, distance education students go online. Upon admission, all students at all Prairie View A&M locations are assigned a University e-mail address, which provides the basis for access to ILLiad, the interlibrary loan system. This allows students, including those at the three distant education locations at the University Center, College of Nursing, and Northwest Center, to request materials from the John B. Coleman Library and other universities around the world [3]. Separate forms for different resources, such as books, book chapters, journal articles, and dissertations, allow students to request precisely what they need [4], and the ILLiad interface also lets users track their requests and receive electronic versions of materials when available.

Access to more than 85 full-text subscription databases also is provided to all students and faculty associated with Prairie View A&M. Off-campus access works through a proxy server that requests a network ID and password; as with access to the ILLiad system, this information is conveniently based on University e-mail addresses and passwords [5]. A toll-free contact phone number and 24/7 support for resetting passwords and other related issues are available on the proxy log-in page as well as on a dedicated page on the library web site [6].

Learning Resources for the College of Nursing

A yearly contract between the 76,500 square foot Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center (HAM-TMC) Library and the College of Nursing provides extensive use of specialized medical library resources [7]. Nursing students have physical access to more than 357,000 books and print journals, and because Prairie View A&M is a Supporting Institution, its nursing students are eligible for HAM-TMC library cards, which can be obtained at the Library's circulation desk by showing a campus ID card and submitting a Member Registration Form [8]. Books can be checked out for up to two weeks. Students in the College of Nursing also enjoy user privileges and remote access for more than 9,000 electronic journals and over 170 electronic databases [9] [10].

The HAM-TMC Library is open approximately 99 hours per week: Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to10 p.m.; Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. In terms of physical space, it offers seven private study rooms on a first-come, first-served basis, open study carrels, tables and lounge seating on all three floors. Wireless Internet service is provided throughout the entire facility [11].

A computer "research and browsing" lab on the first floor features 27 Dell Windows XP workstations loaded with Microsoft Office software and Internet browsing capability [12]. Lab hours are as follows: Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All computers have fee-based printing capabilities, and photocopiers on the first and second floors of the Library also operate through a fee-based copy card [11].

Reference librarians are on duty 66 hours per week (Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1 to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 6:00 p.m.) to assist students with research, use of electronic databases, and library instruction classes [11].

Collection Development

Guidelines governing material selection for, maintenance of, and deletion from the Library collection are outlined in the John B. Coleman Collection Development Policy Manual, which has been in place for over ten years. Policies are reviewed and updated annually and considered for major revision every five years.

In keeping with this timeframe, the policy underwent its last major revision in Fall 2006, and it was most recently reviewed and updated during the fall of 2009. A 47-page condensed version [13] and the entire Collection Development Policy of 343 pages [14] lay out clear guidelines for accepting donated gifts and multiple criteria for acquisition of new print and electronic materials, including appropriate content, research needs, currency, strength of present holdings in the subject area, and demand. Funds are allocated based on number of degree programs in a given area, students enrolled in relevant majors, student credit hours in each discipline, and numbers of full-time faculty, among other considerations. Faculty liaisons from each academic unit are consulted for input; students, faculty, staff, and visitors also may use an online form to suggest acquisitions for the library collections [15].

For electronic resources, selection criteria include questions like "Will an electronic resource enhance instruction in a way that a traditional resource will not?" and "Do the product's interface and other features seem appropriate for and usable by our users?" and for new databases, "If the manufacturer incorporated a search engine into the site, is it easy to use and does it support keyword (preferably Boolean) searching?"

To ensure proper coverage for each academic program, the John B. Coleman Library apples a cumulative approach, by which it assigns Library of Congress Subject Headings to topics covered in each major program of study and tallies the number of relevant items not only in Prairie View A&M's collections but also in the library of a peer institution for comparison. The numbers of titles added in the past five and past ten years in a particular subject also are compared for the University and a peer institution to ensure adequate growth. Additionally, the librarians take into account statistics for circulation and interlibrary loans to gauge demand for resources.

The John B. Coleman Library also applies a conspectus approach methodology to collection analysis, as recommended by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1989. Prairie View's collecting levels are derived from guidelines set forth by the ALA, Western Library Network (WLN), and Association of Research Libraries. Most collecting occurs at level B, which "provides resources adequate for imparting and maintaining knowledge about the basic or primary topics of a subject area. The collection includes a broad range of basic works in appropriate formats, classic retrospective materials, all key journals on primary topics, selected journals and seminal works on secondary topics, access to appropriate electronic data files, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject." Collecting at this level is most appropriate for undergraduate and Master programs. Level C, or Research Level, collecting is done for programs that include Ph.D. study. It is general policy that "New or rejuvenated programs will also receive temporary priority in resource allocation so that supporting collections are adequate to the change in their use patterns."

As an example of the range of collections and attention to graduate programs in particular, consider the Reference Collection Development Chart from the larger Policy. Both Psychology and Education, which offer Ph.D. degrees, are listed as priority 1 for acquisitions, and almanacs, annuals, yearbooks, bibliographies, guides, and indexes are developed to conspectus level C, advanced coverage for doctoral study. All reference categories for Business, one of the more popular programs at both the B.S. and M.S. levels, are targeted at conspectus level B or even level C. Some programs, such as English literature and nursing, only go through the Master level at Prairie View A&M, but multiple references—dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, guides, and handbooks—for these subjects still are developed to level C [16].

Collection Development Plans by Subject Area set forth general guidelines and correlate Library of Congress subject headings with specific courses. This helps ensure that collections align with and support appropriate curricula throughout the University. Three sample Collection Development Plans are highlighted here out of the complete Library Policy. First, in Political Science, where all undergraduate students complete basic government classes and a B.A. is available, collection emphasis is placed on works concerning "political theory and thought, diplomacy, foreign policy, political ideas, the Constitution and the Presidency." Courses from the 1000 to 4000 level are represented [17]. Second, the plan for Computer Science and Computer Information Systems, which offers B.S. and M.S. degrees, targets "books on techniques…theoretical and experimental treatments…publications from the major professional societies…materials dealing with subject specific computer applications, including microcomputers, data processing, and software" [18]. Finally, in Juvenile Justice, where a B.S. concentration and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are granted, the Collection Development Plan includes aggressive acquisition of books and monographs in federal and state law, substance abuse, penology, and criminology. Specific subjects include social work with delinquents and criminals, police administration and organization, and juvenile detention homes, among many others [19].

As a result of thoughtful collection development policies, between 2003 and 2008, monograph holdings increased by 7.2%, and print government documents increased 23.9% during the same time period. Total numbers of electronic sources increased 37.8%, from 531,958 to 732,989, and interlibrary loans to other institutions increased 118%. Additionally, interlibrary loan data shows that the John B. Coleman Library provides materials to other institutions at a much higher rate than it borrows, which indicates a collection that has depth, scope, and a high level of research content. Between FY05 and FY08, the Library has averaged between 66% and 73% rate of lending to other libraries, as compared to a borrowing rate of between 27% and 34% [20].

Increasing library collections for programs that go through the Ph.D. at Prairie View A&M University is a particular priority. For example, in FY2007, there was a 158% increase in volumes related to Educational Leadership, a 101% increase in volumes related to Juvenile Justice, and a 17% increase in the number of volumes related to Electrical Engineering [21].

Additional Supporting Documentation and Links

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