Bowdoin site visit by Todd

Bowdoin circulation November 18, 2012 notes from meeting with Library staff

Bowdoin Library is a 70’s style building attached to the old library building. Much like Starr was, it’s not air conditioned and the stacks are spread throughout the building and an adjoining wing of the old library. Their collection is similar in size to Middlebury’s with about 850,00 monographs. One thing I did notice and appreciated was there were a lot of couches throughout the building, which was nice for sitting and talking to the circulation staff during my tour.
One of the first questions I asked the circulation staff at Bowdoin is whether or not they had a stacks supervisor? The quick answer is no. Instead they train all their circulation students to shelve and they are responsible each day for shelving. The bulk of re-shelving is done at night when it’s quieter.
Amy says that she follows a strict three strike policies with the students. Tardiness and absenteeism without a good reason are not tolerated.
Bowdoin books are returned to the front desk and checked in just as books are at Armstrong. They do not have a check in station like we have here at Davis. They are sorted to holding shelves just behind circulation and to the right (this for entire library). When a section is ready to shelve students sensitize them and do a second check in. Then they are put in order and taken to the stacks and re-shelved.
Amy and I did talk about shelf – reading. In the past Bowdoin had stacks monitors, each in charge of a certain section of the library’s stacks. These positions did not work out as these students weren’t always diligent about working their shifts or shelf reading their assigned section. Currently Amy and other staff walk around the building each day picking up loose books and looking for areas that need straightening up. One interesting thing that Bowdoin doesn’t do is sweep public carrels or study areas leaving books and papers where they are.
Reserves are kept right behind the circulation desk, and shelved by class, not LC?
Equipment is separate from the circulation desk and it sound like IT is more separated from the library then it is here. The circulation desk does loan computers, but the usage is low.
Bowdoin does allow public use of the library, but limits computer use to just 6 computers which are grouped together on the first floor. If the library is busy then the public have to yield use of these to Bowdoin students. Printing is reserved for students, staff and Faculty, via a print card. Students are allotted $50.00 a semester. Circulation does have a card that they can swipe for the public to use.
I also visited the science library on campus for about an hour and talked with Jeff as he gave me a tour of this new facility. I found it similar to Armstrong as it had three long narrow floors with a lot of study space on each side. Jeff asked me a lot of questions about the science collection here and how we dealt with space concerns. They too like Armstrong use compact shelving, but face issues of enough shelf space.
The last part of the day Barbara Harvey show me how they (Bowdoin Staff) had done a large shift on their own with just students and staff. Using a map of the building Barbara laid out plans showing students where exactly each section of books had to be put and when. The plan was simple but very effective. Overall I feel the trip was very worthwhile. Not only was it good to see how another NESCAC school’s circulation department runs, it was also helpful to be able to talk to the staff at Bowdoin and compare notes and answer their questions about how we do things. Amy was very interested in knowing how the penalty point system works out for us.

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