The mission of the Library at Humboldt State University is to provide the information, collections, and services that are necessary to support the instructional programs, research, and outreach services of Humboldt State University.


Submitted to
Richard Vrem
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


Sharmon H. Kenyon
Dean, University Library

December 2005


Introduction | Planning Initiatives | Status and Consequences of the Library Materials Budget |
Highlights of Other Library Activities | Trends in Library Usage |
Activities of the Units Within the Library
Access Services | Digital Literacy Closet | Humboldt Room/Special Collection |
Information Services | Library Advancement | Library Media | Systems

APPENDICES (Statistical Charts & Data)
Collection Size | Library Expenditures Details | Library Expenditures - State Funds |
Community Borrowing AND In-Library and Home Use Circulation |
In-Library & Home Use Circulation Plus Databases and Full-Text Articles Accessed |
HSU Enrollment (FTEs) & Librarian-Taught Instruction AND Web-Based Instruction |
Number of Hits to Site / Exit Gate
Library Summary Organization Roster



The University Library is an integral part of the Academic Affairs division. As described in our mission statement, the Library seeks to support the instructional mission of the University by providing both high-quality information resources, as well as access to those materials we cannot provide on site. Our role within the University is to help nurture our students' research skills and to support the University's goals. The most important goals for the University have been identified as recruitment and retention. Recent research has found that a good quality library is not only a good recruitment tool, but a positive support in the retention of students. ("Library expenditures provide a very robust and statistically significant explanation of graduation rates. . . Every 10% per student headcount increase in library expenditures results, on average, in an additional 1.77 percentage points of graduation rates. . . .Based on these results, the best "payoffs" in higher graduation rates from strategically targeted institutional budgetary enhancements would seem to come from increasing per student expenditures for instruction (+1.99 percentage points), followed closely by library (+1.77) and more distantly by physical plant (+1.07) and nonlibrary academic (+0.98). . . ." From Hamrick, F. A., Schuh, J. H., & Shelley, M. C. (2004, May 4). "Predicting higher education graduation rates from institutional characteristics and resource allocation." Education Policy Analysis Archives, 12, 19. Retrieved 12/19/05 from

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In support of both the Library's mission and the highest priority University goals, the Library's goals for the year are listed below. All of these goals contribute to the Library being able to offer better support and access to our collections and to informing the campus about our activities. In the case of the work for the Humboldt Room/Special Collections, we have been trying to make accessible materials collected in prior years. Some of these collections will be described in more detail later in the report.

Investigate creating an institutional repository by doing a pilot project. ( "A university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution." Clifford A. Lynch, "Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age" ARL, no. 226 (February 2003): 1-7.) Through this goal, we anticipate being able to move into the digital phase of the traditional library role of organizing and preserving HSU scholarly output. Additionally, creating the repository should increase the visibility of HSU's scholarly work via the web. To that end we have done the following this year:

Review of space with special attention to Humboldt Room/Special Collection needs. The Humboldt Room is running out of space for adding theses and any other local history materials. Therefore we were seeking ways to increase usable space.

Review of workflow and positions due to retirements/Review of work spaces. Due to several retirements in Acquisitions, a new work flow is needed that will include Cataloging staff. It is unlikely that the vacated positions will be replaced in the foreseeable future, as those dollars have been moved into the materials budget to help offset reductions in those lines.

Marketing the Library. With the increasing competition from Internet resources like Google, we want to publicize our resources to the campus community, to maximize the investment of budget dollars.

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Once again we had a 14% decrease to the Library's budget. This year to meet that reduction we needed to reduce spending for materials by another $322,000. These reductions were handled by cutting an additional $25,000 from periodicals subscriptions, canceling several lower use databases, and stopping the library book purchasing plan. As we began the year, only $11,000 was available to purchase new books and videos for the campus. This small sum was spent to support essential services such as reserve. Interlibrary loan and the Ingenta document delivery service continued to be available to assist in meeting campus information needs. In addition to the general fund moneys, an anonymous donor made a matching gift of up to $10,000. We raised $9,100 towards the match and ultimately increased the book budget up to approximately $38,000. The students in the Art History Association held a very successful fund raiser to support the purchase of art books as well. In addition to monetary gifts, we were also the recipients of some large gifts in kind, such as a very large gift of over 200 Public Broadcast Station videos and 13 videos from the Human Rights Video Project.

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Overall we are continuing to see an increase in hits to the homepage, by 10%, and a more or less steady state use of the physical library - a 3% decline in our exit gate count (although we had a 2% decline in FTE). Use of electronic reserves through ONCORES/Blackboard/Moodle increased substantially, by 35% and the use of the print reserves increased by 10%. This year the number of items processed for electronic reserves increased by 73%. Circulation of the video collection increased by 6%, despite the reduction in the purchase of the items. Use of the databases was more or less steady state, with just a 1% decline. One possible cause for this decline is that due to lack of budget we had to cancel several databases.

Measures of use of the physical library declined somewhat this year. Circulation of the general collection declined by 16% and items re-shelved declined by 12%. In 2003/04, our undergraduates checked out 104,668 books and in 2004/05, they checked out 93,470 books, most likely due to our inability to purchase very many new books. For the first time in 5 years, we saw a reduction in the number of lending and borrowing requests through our Interlibrary Loan System. Despite this decrease, we remained a net lender. Borrowing requests from our undergraduate students declined by 24%, after increasing the previous year by 7%. One partial explanation for this decline may be that we switched ILL software systems in May, which may have had a negative effect upon our requests.

Numbers of reference transactions declined again. Although there was a slight decrease in the number of hours of reference service available, the decline was greater than the decrease in service hours. The department will be investigating ways to re-think how some of the reference services are offered.

The number of active community borrower and alumni cards increased slightly, although actual borrowing by these two populations declined.

The number of students reached with course-integrated instruction dropped 7% from last year, although our total percentage of students reached via this mode of instruction was approximately 40% of the total student population. Use of the web-based instruction modules, the OWLS, increased substantially over the previous year.

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Access Services
Many of the department's accomplishments this year were both driven and tempered by reductions in the Library's budget. The most visible manifestation of the budget cuts was a substantial reduction in the amount of money available for the purchase of new books. In addition to the budget cuts, the department experienced turnover in staff positions, which led to a series of temporary and permanent changes in work assignments as those vacant positions went unfilled. Department staff are to be commended for their continued perseverance, resourcefulness, and good spirits in the face of many challenges.

Some of the other noteworthy departmental highlights included:

Department personnel also continued working to streamline the Acquisitions and Cataloging workflow and organizational structure to offset the impact of staff attrition in Acquisitions. This realignment will facilitate more flexibility and fluidity in job assignments, in the face of an uncertain and fluctuating library materials budget. As the year drew to a close, the Department Chair was working closely with the Acquisitions and Cataloging staff to update position descriptions to reflect the changes in responsibilities that have resulted from this reorganization.

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Digital Literacy Closet
Due to the constrained budget and inability to upgrade both software and hardware, the hours of operation of the Digital Literacy Closet were reduced this year. Consequently, the number of questions received declined from the previous year.

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Humboldt Room/Special Collections


"HumcoCat." The various Access databases for Humboldt Room photograph and map collections were normalized into a single database with individual collection work forms that can be created as a new collection is added; currently six collections and 7,467 items are included. The geographical subject headings were georeferenced using the Alexandria Digital Library to add the possibility of a geospatial approach to the material. The next update of the Humboldt Room searchable database will reflect this work and will be retitled to include aerial photographs and maps in addition to the photographs currently searchable. A student, Nate Haas, enabled us to complete this effort; however Systems support is required to implement and maintain the searchable database enhancements.

New grant. We were successful in our application to the California State Library to participate in the Local History Digital Resources Project (LHDRP) as one of 19 libraries each contributing 200 scanned images to the California Digital Library. We will be focusing on our "Forest Industries" collections with 125 maps and architectural drawings of the Samoa-based companies and 75 historical photos illustrating these companies. This could also result in the development of a major grant proposal to arrange and describe the largest of these collections.

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Information Services
Reference Service.
We provided 67 hours a week of reference on the main floor and 42 hours a week of reference on the third floor, representing -5.6% reduction. Our total information desk contact hours are 109 hours a week, slightly lower than 03-04, which were 113 hours. The number of transactions at the main desk dropped by 20.6% this year, and at the third floor transactions by 19.6%, a first in the last few years. For instance, the third floor service point had been on a steady increase in the percentage of total reference transactions: in 2001-02, it handled 19% of our total transactions; 2002-03, 21%; 2003-04, 27%; and 2004-05, 27%.

While better instruction and web presence may partly account for this downward turn in use of reference, the department needs to rethink ways of providing information, which may include exploring instant messaging, 24/7 and other methods. Anecdotal evidence suggests that while we may be answering fewer questions, the ones we are getting take much longer to answer; and we will be testing this assumption next year.

Electronic Resources. Database usage continues to be quite strong, although materials budget problems are beginning to impact our users. HSU Library was forced to cancel several databases last year to trim costs, and more are being let go this year. Yet, overall usage dropped only 1%, with several areas showing good increases.

Large declines were observable in several of the Natural Resources (NR) databases, notably Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts and Wildlife Worldwide; but since the NR bibliographer has been relying heavily on MetaLib menus in instruction this year, and MetaLib does not count database usage for guest logins, some usage data is being lost. ATLAReligion is showing a big decline, due to the Religious Studies Info Comp class enrolling only a handful of students this year.

Interlibrary Loan. Statistical trends in ILL (exclusive of the Resource Sharing System, see below) were mixed this year. Borrowing requests received were down 15% after being up 21% the previous year. Lending requests received were down 5% after being up 15% over last year. However, requests filled essentially held steady with borrowing requests filled down 2% and lending requests filled up 1% over last year.

Resource Sharing System (RSS), through the CSU Pharos project, borrowing was up 23% and RSS lending activity was up 61%. A matter of concern is that RSS turnaround times for borrowing slipped again from 6.37 days in 2002/03 to 8.05 days in 2003/04 to 8.64 days in 2004/05. This is essentially no different than the regular ILL loan turnaround time of 9 days.

The most significant difference in borrowing was that undergraduate use of the service decreased by 24% after being up 7% last year. Lending was a non-supplier for several weeks in May during the migration to Illiad which depressed lending statistics for the year. The turnaround time for lending of copies was significantly higher than previous years because of backlogs in Copy Center.

We remain a net lender with 1713 more lending requests filled than borrowing requests filled. This compares to the 1537 net difference of last year and continues an upward trend.

Library Instruction. With a total campus enrollment of 6,859 (annual average FTEs), our statistics show that nearly 2,700 students received library instruction in 2004-05. These figures are somewhat inflated. Some sections are multiple sessions of one class, and the same students may also be counted repeatedly if they are in more than one class that has library instruction.

Our figures should be comparable to past years, however, and show an overall drop of nearly 7% from last year. In 2003-04, we presented instruction to slightly over 46% of enrolled students. Despite the drop, and even allowing for some inflation in the figures, given the size of the library faculty, we are reaching a very significant number of students with library instruction.

Course integrated instruction was spread across all levels, with 47.6%, the highest percentage, at the upper-division level. Lower-division courses accounted for 35.7% of our instruction, and graduate courses for 11.9%. The instructional level was not available for 4.76% of the classes. (Percentages total less than 100 due to rounding.)

Our formal instruction, by which we mean courses taught by librarians, rather than course-integrated instruction presented as part of a class taught by faculty outside the library, did not fare so well as last year. We offered Comm 280 and the World Languages and Cultures weekend intensives only in fall semester due to low enrollments. The 12-week Religious Studies course, offered in fall only as well, also had low enrollment. The library faculty needs to discuss our goals for formal instruction, but for now, we remain committed to offering at least Comm 280 in fall and spring semesters, providing there is sufficient enrollment.

One major accomplishment in this area particularly worth highlighting is the completion of the new edition of the OWLS and publicizing it all over the campus. The number of OWLS was reduced from nine to six, information was updated, a Flash tour of the library and a new section on content mapping were added, the quizzes were made self-scoring, interactive exercises were included, and more graphics were added.

We were able to publicize the new edition extensively. The new OWLS were well received on campus, including by President Richmond, who was instrumental in the OWLS' being featured in Humboldt News Online. He also made a brief announcement about the new OWLS at a meeting of the President's Council. The new OWLS were featured in the Library Newsletter and on a banner on the Library's webpage throughout the spring semester. The OWLS were included in the MERLOT database and posted to the ILI-L listserv, from which several positive comments were received. We continue to receive requests to link parts of the OWLS from instruction librarians around the country.

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Library Advancement

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Library Media
As part of the HSU Campus Dialogue on Race in collaboration with the Multicultural Center in November, the Library co-sponsored a very well attended Multicultural Poetry Reading by seven local poets - Jerry Martien, Shaunna Oteka McCovey, Mark Shikuma, Barbara Brinson Curiel, Marlon Sherman, Daryl Ngee Chinn, and Dick Stull. HSU Library also promoted the Human Rights Video Project created by National Video Resources in partnership with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. HSU was one of the 300 public libraries in the nation to participate in this project this past year. This project was created to increase the public's awareness of human rights issues through the medium of documentary films. For the second year in the row, the Library was the recipient of an anonymous donor's gift. Some of the funds were used to augment our greatly reduced video budget. The Library also received several hundred feature films, documentary and educational video donations from HSU faculty members, students and community patrons this past year.

Video Collection Development/Circulation. Library's video collection grew modestly to 5,870 titles during the past year. Although the collection is growing slowly due to the continuing budget woes, the trend to utilize videos in coursework and in the classrooms continued to increase again. The circulation of video collection increased from 10% of total collection during 2003/04 to more than 16% of total collection during 2004/05. The number of videos/DVDs placed on reserve by faculty members grew as well. In the coming years, it is one of the Library Media goals to replace aging VHS titles with DVDs as they become available.

Media Resources Area. Media Resources Area continued to run smoothly. The popularity of viewing videos and DVDs in the Library continued to increase during the last year. The Library Media is monitoring the demand for DVDs so that more DVD stations can be added in the near future.

Other Projects. Library Media staff worked on the Library Marketing Committee with several other members from the Library while working in the Digital Literacy Closet to provide instruction to students, faculty and staff in the use of multimedia technology. Library Media staff also visited several agencies in Tokyo, Japan to boost enrollment of Japanese students at HSU, and worked on an ad hoc committee to create a new HSU website for International Students.

Projection. As part of the Library's marketing strategies and HSU's strategic plan, Library Media will continue to work collaboratively with other units on campus and in the community on various projects. One of the projects is to work with KEET TV, local Public Television Station and Morris Graves Museum of Art to bring awareness to art and diversity. KEET TV has applied for a grant, and we are hoping to plan several events together this coming year, including another participation during HSU Campus Dialogue on Race week. Library Media staff will need to continue working with faculty and various departments on campus collaboratively to work on video acquisitions during this time of budget deficit.

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The lack of funding available for computing hardware and software continued to be a major challenge for the Systems Department during this year. The situation has required a high degree of creativity and adaptability on the part of Systems. Fortunately, the creative use of limited resources has allowed the department to have a productive year.

All of the public stations in the Library were replaced this year, using machines that became available from an upgrade of Academic Computing laboratories. The Pentium 500 megahertz machines, though technically out of date, provided a significant upgrade for the Library's public users. The newer machines allowed the department to upgrade the public operating system to the latest version of Windows XP and allowed Library to implement new security software, Deep Freeze, which has greatly increased the security and stability of public stations in the Library.

A second donation of used computing hardware from Academic Computing laboratory upgrades and a donation of machines from a Geography departmental laboratory allowed the department to upgrade a large number of staff machines. These machines were used primarily to allow staff to run new client software required to work with the OCLC system, for both cataloging and interlibrary loan.

The creation of an institutional repository, based on the Dspace software developed by MIT and Hewlett Packard was a major effort during this year. The department was able to repurpose the Sun server formerly used for the Voyager catalog for this purpose. The project has required the department to develop new skills in running Java-based systems and has been a major development effort for the department.

The Systems Department increased its role in the support and management of the Digital Literacy Closet (DLC) during this year. The Systems Librarian began serving as the primary manager of the service during this year. The aging hardware and older versions of software available in the DLC have made this support more difficult. The DLC Team has begun making plans for a more limited version of its services to be offered in the next year.

The Department continued to make extensive use of open source software to allow continued productivity in developing web applications without an investment in software. This year the Department, working with the DLC Team, has been able to convert the Appropriate Technology Library CD-ROM collection into a searchable database, delivering the full text of over 1,000 books over the network. Working with the Humboldt Room/Special Collections staff, the department has also made the indexes and some of the converted collections of the Humboldt Room available as a searchable database on the web.

The Department has provided support for redesign and improvements in the basic user interface of the Voyager catalog this year. The department has also provided support for an ongoing redesign of the Library's web pages that should become available to the public by Fall term 2005.

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Collection Size

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Library Expenditures Detail

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Last updated: January 12, 2005

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