ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award

The brain is wider than the sky.
~ Emily Dickinson, Mount Holyoke College Class of 1849

Mount Holyoke College Library Application

Mount Holyoke College Library is pleased to submit this application for the 2005 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.

I. Context

Institutional Background

Mount Holyoke College is a highly selective, nondenominational, residential, liberal arts college enrolling approximately 2,100 women from across the U.S. and more than 80 other countries. The first of the Seven Sisters (the female equivalent of the once predominantly male Ivy League), Mount Holyoke graduates independent critical thinkers who speak and write powerfully, are technologically savvy, and are distinguished by their ability to lead in a complex, pluralistic world.

A Tradition of Innovation and Excellence

Mount Holyoke is one of the first undergraduate institutions to have merged its library and computing services. The result is Library, Information and Technology Services (LITS), which combines the College's excellent library, computing, media resources, and electronic services.

The library’s collection currently totals more the 700,000 volumes, including more than 1,600 periodical subscriptions, 1,800 e-periodicals, 250 reference databases, 18,000 e-books, and 70,000 texts in the Early English Books Online collection. Through the Five College Consortium students, faculty, and staff have borrowing and reference privileges at the libraries of Amherst, Hampshire, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, providing access to more than six million volumes.

Mount Holyoke is nationally recognized for integrating technology throughout academic and cocurricular life,in which LITS plays a critical role. With more than 65 staff members, LITS provides extraordinary support to students, faculty, and staff as they explore the information and technology opportunities across campus.

LITS embraces a code of values, which helps to guide our choices and processes. It is reflected in all that we do and in the many ways that we contribute to the support and development of library resources and other information technology services.

Mission Statement

LITS facilitates the creative use of information and technology for Mount Holyoke College community. It supports the educational priorities of the College by providing instruction, materials, staff expertise and equipment to sustain learning, teaching, research as well as the College's administrative functions.


  • We embrace our roles as partners in education and the alignment of our priorities with those of the College
  • We strive to provide outstanding service to students, faculty and staff. We work with the community to define "outstanding service".
  • We commit to the support and development of our staff.
  • We work with the community, to evaluate and assess our roles as service providers and partners in education.
  • We will adopt standards to enhance our ability to deliver excellent service and maintain interoperability with other communities.
  • We are committed to provide services that are user centered, environmentally informed, and sensitive to individual needs.
  • We believe that LITS’ success is measured and reflected in the success of our users.
  • We support intellectual freedom throughout the educational process.
  • We ensure that the heart of LITS is a highly competent, motivated, and quality driven group of individuals that thrives on excellence, building services and relationships with each other and the Mount Holyoke community.


  • We will help students, faculty and staff learn how to find, use, manage and develop information.
  • We will acquire and maintain print and non-print collections that support the curriculum and intellectual excellence of the College.
  • We will provide campus-wide access to electronic information and research resources including the Five College Library Catalog, indices, databases and the Internet.
  • We will respond in a timely manner to formal requests for service. Channels for submitting requests will be well-publicized and the request process will be simple to navigate. .
  • We will plan and operate public computer labs and the Language Resource Center.
  • We will provide consultation for specialized labs operated by academic departments.
  • We will continue to do everything possible to ensure that community-wide essential services such as electronic mail, campus news groups, the Online Information System, file and print sharing, and administrative data systems are accessible and secure at all times.
  • We will design and maintain an information infrastructure that is well-documented and easy to use.

II. Criteria

1. Creativity & Innovation in Meeting the Needs of an Academic Community

1.a Objective: Create a dynamic, innovative organization by combining the College's vast library, computing, media resources, and electronic services.

Issue: The transformation to networked information technology increased the overlap between traditional library services and computing services. Mount Holyoke College determined that maintaining two separate services was a potential barrier to future collaboration and teamwork, and perceived an opportunity to merge both groups to better position the College to take advantage of the digital revolution. A plan was devised to merge the Library with the College’s computing departments to form a group that would facilitate the creative use of information and technology for the College community. Such a group would harness the power of information and technology to support the educational priorities of the College by providing instruction, materials, staff expertise and equipment to sustain learning, teaching and research, and the College's administrative functions.


  • The College Librarian and the Computing Director recognized that the same issues were driving both organizations and in 1995 proposed unifying the computing operations with the Library.
  • Established a task force of faculty, librarians and computing professionals to advise administrators on the best approaches for merging the Library and computing units.
  • Developed a plan based on community input and site visits to comparable institutions with merged units.
  • Cross-departmental transition team formed to design the structure of the new organization.
  • Turned the plan into reality by creating several working groups to create individual mission plans and organizational structures for the new departments within the merged organization.
  • In July 1996 the Library, all computing units, Electronic Services and the Language Resource Center merged to form the Library, Information and Technology Services division.


  • Within a year following the announcement of the merger, LITS became an operational unit with a mixture of pre-existing departments such as Reference and Networking and completely new units, most notably Technical Support and Repair, Access Services and Curriculum Support and Instructional Technology.
  • An institutional transformation that greatly advanced the integration of technology and library resources.
  • Created a more integrated approach to supporting the information and technology needs of the College.
  • Circulation, ILL, Reserves and Media combined to create a single service point.
  • College Archives and Special Collections combined to create a single service point.
  • Central computing help desk created incorporating both "walk-in," email, and telephone support.

"The successful marriage of our library services with computer access and electronic resources has made my research life incredibly easy and the skill and helpfulness of the staff is truly extraordinary. I always feel welcome and respected in LITS. If there is any complaint it is that there are not enough staff to do all the things the staff are capable of."
Comment from 2004 LibQUAL+ Survey

1.b Objective: Reconfigure existing Library space to create a dynamic Information Commons.

Issue: LITS constantly strives to make its spaces, both physical and virtual, responsive to the needs of the College community. We attempt to create spaces that are conducive to the many purposes LITS serves: research, reflection, and collaboration. We recognize the importance of reconfiguring spaces to support the shifting patterns in learner behavior, including more collaborative work, teaching, and study space. Our goal is to create spaces that support flexibility and a variety of activities and research needs.


  • Hired architectural consultants in spring 2002 to help plan reconfigurations.
  • Worked with faculty and students to define the concept of the Information Commons.
  • Installed more than 50 high-end computers arranged in clusters and includes stations for group project work, individual workstations with standard office and instructional software, 2 large-format plasma screens for group work, and standup stations for quick checks of email and the library catalog, as well as scanners and laser printers, including a color printer.
  • Created a diagnostic center, staffed by lab consultants, to provide onsite technology support and help troubleshooting problems with personal computers.
  • Trained student tech mentors to provide one-on-one help, by appointment, if someone wants technological instruction.
  • Installed 10/100 Ethernet connectivity throughout the Information Commons.
  • Installed a wireless network that is available for those users who bring their own laptops to this area or who have checked out a laptop from the circulation desk.
  • By August 2003, the Information Commons opened.
  • Conducted user satisfaction survey of Library spaces.


  • The Information Commons offers easy access to online resources and state-of-the-art hardware and software programs as well as all requisite support services.
  • Hourly head counts in the Information Commons show an average of 1,250 visits per week during the 2003/04 academic year.
  • In the first 10 months of its existence, the Diagnostic Center in the Information Commons held 2,213 support sessions.
  • Of the 94% of respondents who conduct research in the Library, 55% of respondents to the Library Space survey indicated that they conduct research in the Information Commons.
  • Of the 53% of respondents who get computer help in the Library, 83% get it in the Information Commons.
  • Of the 79% of respondents who write papers in the Library, 47% write them in the Information Commons.
  • Of the 65% of respondents who conduct group work in the Library, 71% conduct it in the Information Commons.
  • Of the 71% of respondents who socialize in the Library, 57% in the Information commons.

" I like the amount of space on the desks in the Info Commons – good for writing papers spreading everything out." (From student survey of library spaces)

" I firmly believe the Info Commons was and is a needed service and needs to expand. Perhaps continue specialty labs and then merge with Info Commons." (From student survey of library spaces)

" I love the library/I love studying here" (From a number of the student surveys of library spaces)

" I don’t go to school here, but I take classes here everyday and come to the library because it’s a great place to work and is always quiet even though lots of people are here to do work". (From student survey of library spaces)

"I think the library keeps getting better. All the software provided has been sufficient to produce high-quality class preparations." (From student survey of library spaces)

1.c Objective: Create a high-end computer lab and multimedia resource center in the Library complex designed for faculty development.


  • Technology support is a critical, competitive variable in recruiting and retaining faculty.
  • There is a need to provide resources to enable faculty to produce instructional materials using sound pedagogical and instructional design.
  • Faculty are educating students raised in a digital environment with technology-based teaching, online information retrieval, and electronic communications.
  • Provide an opportunity for faculty to stay current with technology tools for teaching, research databases, and pedagogical issues surrounding the use of technology in the classroom.
  • Provide a space that allows for productive collaboration between librarians, technologists, and faculty working on curriculum projects.


  • Purchased high end peripherals for centralized faculty use including, high resolution flat-bed and film scanners, color laser printer and high end color ink-jet printer and digital/analog conversion hardware.
  • Created a faculty resource center to encourage and allow for the exploration by faculty of the potential of educational software, multimedia technology and internet capabilities on state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Configured the Faculty Resource Center to create collaborative workstations to accommodate a technologist, librarian, and faculty member.
  • Offer daily drop-in hours for faculty support from web page edits, to course development, to capturing video or iMovie production.


  • The FRC supports special faculty projects, such as multimedia course development and scientific imaging.  
  • The FRC showcases new technology and serves as a place where state of the art software and hardware are available for demonstration and evaluation.
  • Logged 988 user contacts at the Faculty Resource Center during 2003/04.
  • Incresed use of multimedia materials and information resources in student assignments.

1.d Objective: Create a video resource center (VRC) in the LITS complex dedicated to the exploration and support of digital video production including DVD authoring, animation, Flash, 3-D modeling and other multi-media development.


  • Providing accessibility, media storage and technical support to high-end users of computer based video production systems, as well as providing simple solutions for casual users, campus-wide.
  • Assembling and training support personnel for service point staffing and managing the scalability of this type of support.
  • Staying current with latest trends, software, hardware and best practices as relates to a higher ed environment.


  • Currently five station editing and teaching lab with additional audio capture and duplication equipment are available.
  • Created professional staff position for creation, continued development and management of VRC space and equipment.
  • Recruited tech-savvy students to specialize in VRC technical support. Mandatory weekly training sessions for student workers.
  • Instituted a series of workshops on a variety of topics related to computed based video production.


  • Usage of video and other visual media in teaching and learning continues to increase dramatically.
  • Faculty acceptance of multi-media elements to annotate or replace traditional written assignments is expanding.
  • Expanded number of stations and available professional support.
  • Video Production Course now taught in the VRC.
  • Initiated series of workshops on computer based video production.

"Just a few days ago, I was in the VRC and closed my eyes for a minute to plot out how I would sequence the images that I have collected for my i-Movie.  I realized what I was seeing in my mind's eye is very much the same process that I, or any student writing an essay probably goes through, prior to the actual writing.  The stunning and exciting thing about the i-Movie project, for me (in spite of my respect and passion for the written word), is that this may be the first time that my ‘audience’ will experience exactly what I ‘see.’ The staff in the VRC have been very supportive and generous with their time and have given me the confidence that I can succeed at this new (to me) media." ~ Student, Religion 230 - Spirituals & the Blues

1.e Objective: To create new spaces in the Library complex that are conducive to the many purposes LITS serves: research, reflection, and collaboration.


  • Opportunity to attract more users to the Library.
  • Need for social space.
  • Need to make the main entrance of the Library more inviting and welcoming.


  • Renovated the Library courtyard inside main entrance.
  • Installed large screen monitor displaying CNN with captions.
  • Worked with local retailer and sought student input in area of fair trade coffee selection.
  • Installed Rao’s - an attractive café serving coffee, tea and snacks.
  • Installed café tables and chairs in the courtyard.
  • Installed bookshelves for the leisure book collection and a cozy seating area in the courtyard opposite the café.
  • Installed wireless network access in the courtyard.


  • Of the 71% of respondents who socialize in the Library, 68% of respondents to the Library Space survey indicated that they socialize in the courtyard/café.
  • Of the 65% of survey respondents who conduct group work in the Library, 31% indicated that they conduct it in the courtyard/café, the most popular location for group work after the Information Commons.
  • The library courtyard has been transformed from a deserted, empty space to a bustling meeting place where students, faculty, staff, and visitors meet, collaborate, and socialize.
  • Library courtyard is used for curriculum linked art shows and theatre performances.

"Rao’s is a MUST!"
(From student survey of library spaces)

"Rao’s creates traffic but community"
(From student survey of library spaces)

1.f Objective: Develop, sustain, manage and provide access to collections that meet the needs of the community.


  • Work with faculty to develop collections that support the curriculum.
  • Anticipate scholarly trends and support emerging developments in scholarly communications.
  • Make appropriate choices in format, purchase vs. rental; ownership vs. access; and location, local vs. remote.
  • Embrace changes in information management, access and delivery methodologies.
  • Acquire, catalog, maintain, and preserve library resources in a variety of formats to support the research, curricular and recreational needs of the community.


  • Added leisure collection of fiction and non-fiction books, books on tape and CD plus feature films in both VHS and DVD formats.
  • Adopted an approval plan to assure that we acquire core scholarly monographs in a timely way.
  • Moved lesser-used materials and those duplicated online to the Five College Depository, a shared offsite facility.
  • In 2003, a workflow analysis of the Technical Services area was performed by R2 Consulting Services.
  • In conjunction with faculty, undertook several periodical reviews to insure that subscriptions meet curricular needs and that we make the best use of subscription funds.
  • Added Ingenta's Document Delivery system to increase "on demand" access to individual journal articles and provide faculty with quick access to articles needed for research.
  • Developed an electronic resources database in-house to collect formally disparate data regarding the status of our electronic resources. The new database integrates with our SFX instance and allows for the easy maintenance of vendor information, including financial data that can also be archived from year-to-year.


  • 63,635 circulations of monographs in 2003/04.
  • 13,597 circulations of items on Reserve in 2003/04.
  • 7,572 items lent through interlibrary loan in 2003/04. Average time from request arrived at Mount Holyoke for loan to item shipped out = 2.98 days.
  • 4,180 items borrowed through interlibrary loan in 2003/04. Average time from request sent to OCLC to being received at Mount Holyoke = 9.68 days.
  • For at least the past 10 years Mount Holyoke has made the NELINET Top 20 OCLC Lenders list and continues to be a net lender.
  • 8,796 circulations from the Leisure Collections.
  • 20,438 items circulated to libraries in the Five College Consortium in 2003/04.
  • 250 reference databases available.
  • In 2002, the Five Colleges opened an off site depository for lesser-used materials. The site will hold 500,000 volumes in 10,000 sq.ft of space. Mount Holyoke goal is to send 60,000 volumes to the Depository during the first 3 years of operation.
  • As a resulted of the Technical Services workflow analysis we consolidated our monograph vendors, increased our approval plans, restructured our fund structure and outsourced a retrospective conversion project.

"Very helpful staff, very useful resources, excellent web page, very easy to find what I need through searches both at MHC and Five Colleges."
~ Comment from 2004 LibQUAL+ Survey

"This school’s emphasis is on academics, and our library is the main hub of our campus.. so great attention should be paid (both finacially and mentally) to the library as a tool for students. The staff that work here are fabulous and always very helpful! The new ILL program is wonderful!"
~ Comment from 2004 LibQUAL+ Survey

1.g Objective: Provide the finest technological, user-centered integrated information and research environment to be found among peer colleges. Make information technology work for the College.

Issue: Continue moving toward seamless and ubiquitous access to data and information.


  • Acquired ILLIAD (ILL management software) to improve ILL service.
  • Trained technically skilled, service-oriented, teaching- focused reference staff.
  • Added 20 wireless desktops to the Reading Room.
  • Added a videoconferencing facility to the library.
  • Installed EZProxy to allow off-campus access to our commercially licensed databases.
  • Installed ContentDM to facilitate the management of digital collections.
  • Initiated a program to circulate wireless laptops throughout the library.
  • Circulate digital cameras (still and video), LCD projectors, and numerous audio visual devices from the library Circulation Desk.
  • Participated with the 5 Colleges in installation, configuration, and launching of SFX.
  • Added RefWorks, a web-based tool that allows users to gather citations from most of the research databases seamlessly and create personal database of references.
  • Participated in the LibQual+ Library survey administered by the Association of Research Libraries.
  • Plan to mediate all scheduled classrooms.
  • Acquired WebCT to be the College’s course management system.
  • Acquired two mobile classrooms – carts with wireless laptops that can be used throughout the Library.


  • Increase in reference transactions while many peer institutions saw a drop in numbers.
  • 8,484 circulations of wireless laptop computers in 2003/04
  • 2,656 circulations of media equipment in 2003/04.
  • The Fall semester of 2004 saw a 500% increase over the same period in 2003 in the number of items on Electronic Reserves.
  • By September 2004, Media Services had mediated 68% of all scheduled classrooms.
  • 50% of Information Fluency sessions delivered using the wireless classrooms.

1.h Objective: Provide the greatest possible access for our community to high-quality information resources and new software and technologies while carefully managing a limited budget and limited staff resources.


  • High (and increasing) subscription costs for important information tools such as the numerous periodical index databases on which much research relies
  • Problems in keeping up with the fast pace of new technological innovation that can improve the learning experience
  • Growing number of exciting new digital resources such as learning objects, image repositories, and multi-media archives that would be of benefit to our faculty and students both


  • Develop connections with other institutions and consortia. Currently, Mount Holyoke is an active member in the following organizations or consortial groups:
    • Five Colleges, Inc
    • NELINET – New England Library Network (OCLC)
    • NERL – North East Research Libraries
    • WALDO – Westchester Area Library Directors Organization
    • Obergroup – Oberlin Group (of similar academic libraries)
    • NITLE (CET) – National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education - Centers for Educational Technology
    • NERCOMP – North East Regional Computing Program
    • WMRLS – Western Massachusetts Library System
    • New Media Centers
  • We have also joined with other schools to form impromptu partnerships on special resources or projects:
  • Special pricing for SciFinder Scholar with Connecticut College & Williams Colleg.e
  • Worked on TE/XMLI grant with Wheaton College.
  • Special pricing for American Chemical Society e-journals with UMass system.


  • Increased leverage in negotiating licensing terms and/or costs for information technology and resources
  • Increased training opportunities for LITS staff and Mount Holyoke faculty
  • Increased opportunity to take advantage of special grant-funded projects
  • Increased circle of contacts and collegial connections for problem-solving and support
  • Increased opportunities for cost-saving through vendor sponsorships

2. Leadership in Developing and Implementing Exemplary Programs

2.a Objective: Develop a formal 'information literacy' program that includes an institutionalized presence in the curriculum to foster greater student understanding of navigating information resources in a digitally-rich environment.


  • Librarians teach approximately 40-50 on-demand ‘one-shot’ course-integrated sessions a semester. These sessions are much appreciated by both faculty and students and have their successes; however, giving the changing nature of information and technology, more class time and new approaches are needed to teach broader information literacy skills to complement these sessions.
  • Charge in College’s strategic plan, Mount Holyoke’s Plan for 2010, to "encourage faculty to infuse information literacy across the curriculum and provide appropriate support for faculty research and course development."
  • How to address national standards in an appropriate and effective manner specific to our unique environment.


  • Created an Instructional Services Coordinator position to foster programmatic discussion and planning regarding teaching and learning, January 2004.
  • Instructional Services Coordinator attended California ACRL Immersion 2004, Program Track.
  • Convened a planning group composed of librarians and instructional technologists to evaluate current services and develop a program, June 2004.
  • Began conducting needs analysis of community with faculty focus group, August 2004.
  • Develop a foundation credit-bearing stand-alone information fluency course for first-year students to establish a common base of research/information and technology knowledge to be offered January 2005 with sponsorship of Acting Dean of Faculty and Academic Priorities Committee.
  • Continue to develop course integrated instruction - already very active collaborations at MHC between LITS professionals and faculty (approx. 50 class sessions per semester.
  • Develop a faculty toolkit that might include assignment models and strategies for incorporating information fluency skills.
  • Develop a suite of learning objects and self-paced tutorials for students
  • Develop assessment tools in order to determine student levels of understanding of research and technology.


  • Students will learn how a concept moves from an idea to a published entity, gain an appreciation for the dynamic nature of the production of knowledge and the changing trends throughout the years and will gain understanding of the large categories of types of publications: lab reports, white papers, conference papers, blogs, scholarly journals, magazines, books, stats, images, etc.
  • Students will learn how to distinguish between popular and scholarly literature and gain an understanding of how to use both types appropriately in their research endeavors
  • Students will gain an understanding of the suite of tools available to them to retrieve information: they will gain an understanding of the distinction between library catalogs, indexes (print and electronic), free internet directories and search engines, etc. and learn to appropriately select which tools may be used for what purpose
  • Students will learn how to ask what voices are not being heard, what information is not being retrieved if particular tools are used over others and will learn strategies to seek underrepresented information or knowledge, ex: ‘gray literature’ or alternative presses
  • Students will learn how to critically evaluate a web page in order to gain a better understanding of the context in which it was created and apply/use its content appropriately
  • Students will become aware of the strengths and weaknesses of various tools to convey information and be able to choose appropriate tools among the suite of technology resources available to them to organize, produce and disseminate knowledge appropriately and effectively
  • Students will gain an understanding of information as property (i.e. intellectual property) which can therefore be "owned" and will explore the implications – ethical and legal issues - that arise from that concept
  • Students will recognize the challenges inherent in the current system of the production and dissemination of knowledge.
  • Students will be able to posit themselves as individuals within these systems of the production of knowledge and begin to recognize themselves as creators, agents, producers of knowledge, in addition to critical consumers.
  • Information Literacy is now a key component in the Mount Holyoke Plan for 2010.

2.b Objective: Create opportunities to encourage undergraduates, particularly those from underrepresented populations, to consider librarianship as a career.

Issue: In 2003, Mount Holyoke College, along with the Atlanta University Center (serving Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse and Spelman Colleges) and Occidental, Oberlin, Swarthmore and Wellesley Colleges, began collaboration on the Mellon Librarian Recruitment Program, a three-year, Mellon-funded project designed to address librarian recruiting and diversity issues at the undergraduate level.


  • Hold information sessions during the fall semesters on issues of concern to librarians: Fall 2003 sessions addressed the USA PATRIOT Act; and Fall 2004 sessions addressed Open Access Publishing.
  • Offer spring internships in which undergraduates participate in a "mini course" on librarianship, take field trips to various kinds of libraries, and work on projects in the Mount Holyoke library.
  • Offer summer internships in which undergraduates work on projects in the Mount Holyoke library or another academic library.
  • Offer one-year post-baccalaureate Library Associate positions for recent graduates of the participating schools.


  • In Spring 2004, three undergraduate students participated in internships under the Mellon Librarian Recruitment Program. In addition to taking the mini course on librarianship, they visited eight libraries and completed three library projects at Mount Holyoke, including developing and administering a survey of library users about the use of study space in the library.
  • One of the Spring 2004 interns participated in a Summer 2004 internship in the library and archives at Dartmouth College. This year, she has a work study job in the Mount Holyoke Archives, and plans to attend library school after graduating from Mount Holyoke.
  • A Mount Holyoke senior won one of five competitive Mellon-funded $5,000 scholarships for a graduate program in library and information science, available to students at the schools participating in the grant.
  • From July 2004 – June 2005 we are hosting a post-baccalaureate Library Associate who graduated from Oberlin College in 2004.
  • Twenty-five Mount Holyoke students, including 11 women of color, attended one of four information sessions on Open Access Publishing in Fall 2004.
  • Student evaluations of the Open Access publishing information sessions included a question about whether the session caused students to think about librarianship as a career. Responses included:
    • "Yes, this session increased my interest in librarianship as a career. I actually intend on applying to a Masters program in Library Science and Information Technology. This session helped me realize exactly how important this field is."
    • "Yes. I had previously considered it but had forgotten about it. Mentioning it at this session reminded me of this option."
    • "Yes. I’ve been thinking about it more & more."
    • "Yes. Never thought about it before – I love books."
  • We saw a 50% increase in the number of applicants to the spring internships from 2004 to 2005. Three of the 31 applicants to the Spring 2005 internships had attended an Open Access Publishing information session.

2.c Objective: Create a Technology Mentor Program designed to offer additional creative and collaborative support to foster the effective integration of technology and research sources into the curriculum. Under the guidance of an information technology professional (librarian or instructional technologist or both), student technology mentors work closely with selected faculty and students to support related technology and research needs in College courses.


  • Charge in Mount Holyoke’s Plan for 2010 to create a Technology Mentor Program as part of a larger goal to "develop in all students a high degree of technological savvy....[to] infuse technology across the curriculum and integrate technology into the everyday lives of students."
  • Increasing multimedia project work within courses.
  • Campus-wide initiative to offer pre-professional student employment positions.


  • Established application process for faculty and student candidates.
  • Established semester-long support models for both technology project management and student mentors.
  • Established assessment procedures.
  • Established web presence to market new program and educate community.
  • Established a training curriculum to prepare student mentors in both technology and learning environment issues.


  • Since February 2004, the Program’s start, we have supported 9 courses over the duration of the entire semester. Among the 9 supported, several were either new courses or involved significant curriculum or assignment re-design resulting from the new resources available from the Program.
  • Faculty members are exploring new technologies in their courses and consequently, enhancing the learning environment for these courses.

"The positive outcome of the tech mentor program is that students who end up using Formsite [an online survey-builder] will be able to spend more time thinking about what their data mean rather than spending that time entering data. What a huge potential difference that will make to their project!"
Psychology 200
Experimental Methods in Psychology, 2004

"The technology mentor helps students review and apply class material in a specific problem. The positive outcomes include: increasing student confidence in tackling problems, strengthening their creativity, and making chemistry more attractive. All of these were possible in a large class because thanks to the technology mentor they were able to get individual attention at key points in their tackling of their group project.
Chemistry 101
General Chemistry, 2004

2.d Objective: To support enhancement of technical skills throughout the student body, particularly to support pedagogical and research goals, which require proficiency with increasingly, complicated technological tools.


  • Limited access of students to training resources.
  • Create an effective peer-to-peer system for student technology training
  • Limited staffing hours, not convenient for student schedules.
  • Scalability of support for growing variety and number of course assignments and large enrollment courses.
  • Lack of time to sustain training outcomes with individual consultations.


  • To maximize training resources and student support opportunities a team of students (Swebtechs) has been recruited and trained to:
  • Serve as peer-to-peer mentors.
  • Help plan and develop a technology curriculum.
  • Teach technology workshops, and
  • Provide one-on-one consultation during hours scheduled to meet student study needs and to support students’ use of technology tools in their research, thesis work and class assignments.


  • Swebtechs teach workshops on topics as diverse as Microsoft Excel, web design and bibliographic software.
  • Swebtechs provide a student perspective contributing to the improvement of current training materials and the development of new workshops.
  • Swebtechs provide 75 person hours per week of drop-in consultation service in the college public computing labs supporting curricular software, course project development, and the use of bibliographic software. These hours, in late afternoon and evening, conform to the students’ preferred study hours.
  • The availability of a pool of student trainers allows LITS to offer asynchronous workshops coordinated with curricular initiatives of faculty in diverse curricula. A number of faculty in disciplines as varied as Chemistry, English, Psychology, Astronomy and Politics have used these workshops to support assignments in their courses.
  • All students in a large enrollment course can be given "hands on" instruction in bibliographic software, web development, etc. (e.g. , Over the past 3 years, approximately 200 Chemistry 101 students per year have been supported in the development of web-delivered library research papers.)
  • Separation of these workshops from the individual courses allows students to select training appropriate to their current skill or comfort level.
  • Students report that they self-select to improve their technology skills to prepare for class assignments, to support co-curricular commitments, and for personal enrichment.
  • Swebtechs teach an average of 5 technology related workshops per week with an average enrollment of 6 students per workshop.
  • Assessments collected from all participants in these workshops show that participants give these workshops an average usefulness score of 4.5 out of a possible 5.
  • Students comment in these assessments that this process of workshops and consultations is particularly successful in reducing "stress of learning new skills" and overcoming "fear of failure" with unfamiliar technology tools.
  • Faculty report that using these services coordinated with their course projects reduces the faculty and class time needed to support projects and improves both student understanding and project quality. Several faculty members have commented that these services allow them to explore more technically challenging assignments in their courses.

"This job is fun and challenging at the same time , but (also) really encouraging because you get to show other students how to have fun with the applications you have fun with."

3. Substantial and Productive Relationships with Classroom Faculty and Students

3.a Objective: Create a new unit within LITS to work in partnership with faculty to integrate new technologies, research methods and information resources into courses to enhance teaching and learning.


  • Networked information technology has radically changed the way we teach and learn.
  • Teaching is no longer a solitary initiative.
  • The proliferation of information technologies and information resources on the Mount Holyoke campus necessitates new approaches to the work of supporting research and instructional initiatives.
  • The successful fusing of technology, pedagogy, and information will require a team-based approach to the development of curricular projects.
  • Faculty are assigning work requiring both library and technical resources.


  • Merged Reference Services with Curriculum Support and Instructional Technology to create the Research and Instructional Support (RIS) unit.
  • Renovated office spaces to allow for the entire department to work in close proximity, which in turn allowed for enhanced work and communications.
  • Constructed a strategic plan for the new unit.
  • Redesigned the Library Liaison Program to blend both the technology and library liaison.


  • Enhanced collaboration between the RIS staff and the MHC faculty.
  • Greater infusion of technology and information fluency into the curriculum.
  • Dynamic new roles for librarians and technologists based on partnership.
  • Both faculty and student support is now far more seamless.
  • Instructional technologists involved in collection development activities.
  • Librarians teach technology related workshops.
  • Both librarians and technologist collaborate on delivering Information Fluency sessions.
  • During 2003/4, RIS conducted 160 individual research assistance sessions with students doing higher level projects.
  • During 2003/04, RIS handled 9,039 reference queries: 3,401 Ready Reference, 235 Referrals 2,181. Directional, 1,612 Technical Support, and 1,610 In-Depth.
  • Taught 44 workshops for faculty & staff with 97 participants in 2003/04.
  • Taught 109 library instruction classes with 1,636 participants in 2003/04.
  • Oversaw 85 student-to-student workshops with 332 participants 2003/04.

3.b Objective: Integrate the College Archives and Special Collections as a teaching resource, enabling undergraduate students to become researchers adept at mining primary as well as secondary resources.

The intellectual and historical focus of the College’s Archives and Special Collections relates very closely to the curriculum.  The challenge has been to find ways to integrate use of the collections into the curriculum.  The research collections total over 9,500 linear feet of records and manuscripts and 9,000 rare books.  The archival collection primarily documents the history of the college and the history of women in higher education.  The collection is comprised of the College’s administrative and academic records as well as personal papers of its prolific alumnae who include scholars from most fields but especially the fields of science, medicine as well as community services.  The rare book collection is strong in Renaissance sciences as well as American colonial history, Italian literature, fine press books, early atlases and geographies, artist’s books and children’s literature.  Engaging students with the collections enable them to conduct original research using primary and original sources.  Further, employing technology as a tool increasing access to collections (digitizing and encoding) offers students an opportunity to understand first-hand the implications of the radial transformation occurring from a print to a virtual networked environment. 


  • Archives and Special Collections is building an outreach program informing the faculty and students in the community of its collections. 
  • Activities include an extensive website, occasional newsletters, exhibits, and online publishing of collections. 
  • The department also seeks open dialogue with faculty, staff, students and others within the Five College community to ensure that collection development is in line with the needs of the curriculum. 
  • The department stays abreast of developments within the fields of librarianship, higher education, technology as well as archives to merge services to best meet the information seeking behavior of its constituents.


  • Archives and Special Collections has a variety of teaching roles.  The archivists co-teach courses with faculty in many disciplines, provide bibliographic instruction to classes on the history of the book and using primary resources, as well as work with students doing honors work (research that leads to the publication of an honors or masters theses), independent studies, course papers and projects. 
  • Archives and Special Collections continually merges its teaching activities with the application of technology to increase access to its holdings. 
  • In 2003, the department worked with a faculty member and LITS staff to build an online Historical Atlas. Twelve students in History 283 "Mapping the Memorable" used sources in the Archives to begin creating an atlas depicting many aspects of the College's cultural and environmental history. The students in the course scanned 2,000 items from the collections and built a database of metadata.  The project is currently being migrated into ContentDM for future use by faculty and students.
  • In 2004, the archives taught the history of metadata and online access to historic resources to an undergraduate chemistry class embarking upon a TEI-encoding project to make selected manuscript items from a scientist’s collection available electronically.

3.c Objective: Encourage and support faculty in creating new multimedia and technology projects to support teaching. Create an effective way to provide a very high level of technology support and resources to advance this objective. Build a summer program that assigns teams of reference librarians, instructional technologists, and student workers to work in close contact with faculty members in creating curricular-related multimedia and technology projects.


  • Creating and managing effective teams of library and instructional technology staff along with student production workers to aid faculty in researching and producing new multimedia tools for teaching.
  • Recruiting and training student workers to meet the technology skills and production needs required by faculty multimedia projects.
  • Overcoming obstacles (lack of technical knowledge, lack of time) to faculty development of curricular-related technology projects by providing comprehensive support.
  • Encouraging faculty members to use new technology tools and capabilities in teaching.


  • Awarded grants of 100 hours of student production work, along with the active involvement of library and instructional technology staff, to develop, support and produce curricular-related multimedia or technology projects for faculty members.
  • Designed and carried out an application process to award grants of student production work and intensive staff support.
  • Publicized the grant, met with faculty applicants, and selected faculty projects to maximize the effectiveness of the grants based on the expected impact on teaching, feasibility, and the desire to provide resources to faculty undertaking a technology project for the first time.
  • Recruited and trained a group of student workers to provide the technology skills needed to produce the faculty multimedia projects.
  • Provided supervision and guidance of students by library and instructional technology staff.
  • Structured staff work loads during the summer months to allow intensive support for faculty multimedia projects, active supervision of the student workers, and the successful completion of faculty projects during the period of the grant.


  • During the past two summers, the Faculty Multimedia Development grants have helped faculty to produce more than twenty successful multimedia projects, involving web sites, audio-video projects, GIS, digital imaging, computer modeling, and other instructional digital technology.
  • The Faculty Multimedia Development grants have encouraged faculty in many departments to ambitiously utilize new technology tools and capabilities to enhance learning at the College. This program has played a significant role in promoting the use of new technology tools across campus and publicizing the technology and library support services available to faculty.