Placement Report Section 1: Lewins Library

Lewins Library as an information organisation:

Lewins Library is the main information repository for the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Signonou campus and supports its community’s search for knowledge through academic inquiry and intellectual discovery.   As part of the wider Catholic society, the library facilities and resources are also used by the constituents of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, for their theological, educational and academic pursuits.

ACU has multiple campuses and it is imperative that the libraries directorate embrace technology to deliver services and programs across all the locations.  Some of these strategies include, a ‘digital first’ policy on collection maintenance and development, a framework for information literacy with a multimodal delivery, as well as providing support for academics and researchers in their practice and ensuring copyright compliance (ACU, 2020). However, whilst members of ACU have unfettered access to both the physical and digital collections, the general public is limited to the physical collection due to licencing requirements.   Unfortunately, access to the physical collection has been limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home edicts.

 Lewins Library as an academic library:

The core purpose of academic libraries is to support independent inquiry, develop critical thinking and actively assist in the pursuit of knowledge construction (Higgins, 2017, Ch.1).  Nevertheless, the capacity of an academic library to provide information access is proportional to the value the educational institution sees in them (Gilman, 2017, p.7; Higgins, 2017, Ch.1).  Therefore it is important that the library continues to illustrate its capacity and efficacy to maintain that value.   This means that as part of its evaluation process, the library’s collection and services need to be examined regularly.  This is because a rarely used resource, albeit a book or a service, holds no value to the user and ends up just being a liability.  However, whilst analytics can determine the number of times a resource is accessed or a service is used, it cannot determine the productivity of that interaction, nor can it determine if that interaction translates to increased learning outcomes (Walters, 2016).  Nevertheless, it can be inferred that low usage means low use and thus that resource or service needs to be re-examined for its value to the community.

 Lewin’s Library and its Academic Librarians.

Lewins Library academic librarians (AL) are passionate about the vital role they play in the academic success of their community.  Their role includes research development, information literacy development, faculty assistance, and client interaction which requires regular interaction with multiple stakeholders (Forbes & Keeran, 2017; Perini, 2016, p.65). However, ACU is a multicampus university and this means that the ALs are challenged to meet the dual needs of their own library and the needs of multiple campuses through the introduction of consortia collection building, digital reference services and campus wide information literacy skill development (Higgins, 2017, Ch.1).   However, in order to complete these range of services effectively, regular evaluation of programs, collection and services must be undertaken to ensure that the ALs and the library continues to meet the dynamic needs of their institution (Perini, 2016, p.65; Hossain, 2016).

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