Author Archives: Michael Roy

David Clark Guest Post: News from the Ilsley Public Library

This is a guest post from David Clark, Director of the Ilsley Public Library. I thought it particularly interesting that their circulation numbers were in fact significantly greater than our circulation numbers. 

— mike

September 7, 2012

The other day a relative stranger, having learned that I was a librarian, announced with the certitude of the uninformed that, “Libraries aren’t really going to be around in another ten years, are they?”

It turned out that this fellow hadn’t been in a library for years and certainly not in ours.  He only read magazines and big town newspapers whose declining subscription lists were accompanied by well publicized predictions regarding the imminent demise of the printed word.  For him, this meant the demise of public libraries as well.

The fact is that Ilsley Public Library lent more materials this past fiscal year than it has in its 146 years of lending.  In fiscal year that ended June 30, 184,010 items were loaned, 19% more than the previous year.  Youth circulation now totals over 45% of total loans.

Overall, books accounted for 64% of our loans, movies 30%, and audiobooks 6%. The computer circulation system which we share with Middlebury College reports that Ilsley lent 57% of all the loans in the system and the College lent 43%.

75% of what is borrowed at the East Middlebury library of Sarah Partridge is borrowed by Middlebury/East Middlebury residents.  62% of the Ilsley’s loans are made to Middlebury/East Middlebury residents.  Cornwall residents borrowed 7%, the next largest town use.

Last year we helped almost twice the number of folks with questions than in the previous fiscal year. Use of the library’s databases rose 56%.   There was a significant increase in the number of people researching their families’ histories through which was started with a gift from our Friends.

The number of persons attending library programs inside the building was up 14%; outside the building 56%.

The library loaned free passes to museums and state parks 68 times.

12 % of readers used the self-check-out machine.

Interestingly, readers downloaded onto their personal reading devices almost as many books as were loaned through the East Middlebury library (2,070 and 2,139)

As of July 1, 2012  Ilsley had 4,688 members/card holders who were active borrowers, and177 graduates of Middlebury Union High School’s Class of 2012, 71%, had taken out memberships.

Since everyone is welcome into the building, with or without a membership, far more people than just members used a computer, attended a program, or read a newspaper.  The number of people coming into the building rose 38% to 219,310.

Given rumors of our demise, you might well ask, “Well, why are things so great at the library these days?”

The answer lies in a dynamic community interested in the world, parents eager to introduce their children to the joy of reading, a stagnant national economy that encourages more people to borrow rather than buy, a terrific staff, and even the new bridge that makes the library and parking more accessible..

Yes, the world continues to change around us.  Books will diminish as a percentage of public library collections.  Reference books sitting on shelves are relicts of the past. Readers now borrow ebooks and audiobooks through the library’s website for their Nooks, iPads, and Kindles.  Staff now help people create as well as research and copy.  In other words these are great days for libraries.  Boy, are they ever!

Suggest Ideas for LIS Open Meetings

Last spring, we put in place regular optional all-LIS open meetings where we invite LIS staff members to join in a conversation on a topic that has the potential to have an impact on the work that they do in their area, or that is simply of general interest. In an effort to generate ideas for topics, we’ve set up a poll that allows you to both vote on topics that we think might be of interest, and to suggest new topics. That poll is at .

Please take a moment to review the proposed topics, vote for topics you think would be good for us to discuss as a group, and propose a new topic.


Evaluating Digital Scholarship Webinar October 10 from 4-5 PM

On Wednesday October 10 from 4 PM to 5 PM EST, Alison Byerly will present lead a webinar on the topic of Evaluating Digital Scholarship. You can join us in Library 145 to watch the webinar together, or sign-up to watch it on your own computer  by going to , where you will also find a full description of the topic.

Blended Learning in a Liberal Arts Setting: Notes from a Webinar

A small group of us gathered last week to watch the NITLE webinar on Blended Learning in a Liberal Arts Setting . The webinar was led by Dr. Jennifer Spohrer, Educational Technologist at Bryn Mawr College and highlighted the work she has been organizing as part of a grant funded by the Gates Foundation looking at how blended learning (a combination of on-line and face-to-face instruction) works at liberal arts colleges.  Middlebury’s Jeanne Albert (Math) and Jeff Howarth (Geography) are both teaching courses that incorporate blended learning this semester and are receiving support for this effort from the Bryn Mawr grant.

You can see the slides from her talk at

You can also watch a video recording of the webinar. To do that, you need to  ask NITLE for access, which you can do via the form at

The integration of on-line resources into face-to-face instruction is not particularly novel in 2012. What is novel is the thoughtful analysis of the costs and benefits of this approach, and the focus on measurable improvements in learning outcomes. Many of us wanted even more specific examples of how blended learning was incorporated into specific courses, and the sorts of gains enjoyed through this method. We are hoping that as the grant progresses that there will be further opportunities for us to learn more about what works (and what doesn’t) on campuses like ours.

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Welcome (back) (new) faculty and students!

Sunday’s convocation marked the beginning of the new academic year, and on Monday began the first classes for our over 600 new students and over 30 new faculty. With the rush of settling in now complete, I want to welcome our newest members of the Middlebury community, and at the same time, remind returning faculty and students of key guides to the major resources LIS makes available for our academic community.

One obvious place to start, for both faculty and students, is the Ten things students should know page, which describes the top services for students (labs, wireless, reference services, etc.) From this page, you can find links to the key resources that will allow you to make the most of the network and the library.

Both new and veteran faculty might also do well to review the page LIS4Faculty which describes many of the same resources, but from the perspective of a faculty member.

And for those who want to help shape our agenda for the year, we have two main advisory groups: the Student LIS Advisory Group and the Faculty LIS Advisory Group. These groups provide critical perspective for us as we navigate the complexities of bringing new technology and new forms of information to a campus already bursting at the seams with technology and information.

I wish you all the best as you begin your semester. If you have any questions, concerns, ideas, or thoughts about any and all things having to do with LIS, please feel free to contact me. I’m reachable via .

New Computer Lab in Library 140 Supports Quantitative Analysis and Experimental Social Sciences

In September 2012 we opened a new 35 seat computer lab in Library 140. The new lab is designed to support both work in quantitative analysis, and also for use as a space for conducting experiments. Scheduling of the lab is through the Registrar’s office, with preference for courses requiring specialized statistical packages. Kudos and thanks to our colleagues in Facilities and Media Services for their work in getting this built during an already busy summer season.

Blended Learning in a Liberal Arts Setting, September 12, 4:00pm – 5:00pm Library 145

NITLE is hosting an on-line presentation on September 12th from 4-5 PM. The topic is “Blended Learning in a Liberal Arts Setting” and will feature the work being done as part of the Next Generation Learning Challenges grant that Middlebury is participating in, and is being led by Bryn Mawr. More information on the presentation can be found at .

You can watch it from your own computer if you sign-up, or you can join us in Library 145.


LIS Quarterly Update: Summer 2012

We in LIS spent time this summer reviewing what we accomplished this spring, and planning for the upcoming semester and year. The results of this are reflected in the attached .pdf , which is the latest edition of the LIS quarterly update. You can expect an update in the late fall, which will provide a progress report on that which we have set out to do in the coming months and years, and also some course corrections based on new information culled from new information gleaned from the college-wide planning exercise that we participated in this summer.