ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award Trinity University Elizabeth Huth Coates Library Application

The challenges posed to academic libraries in the 21st century have required a reconceptualization of how libraries are defined and how they function. Librarians are now charged with achieving professional objectives and supporting local institutional missions while also maintaining a singular vision that remains fluid in light of shifting patron needs and new technologies for the access, circulation, and preservation of information.

Trinity University's Elizabeth Huth Coates Library, an Oberlin Group member, embodies these characteristics in ways only achieved at small liberal arts institutions. Characterized by forward-thinking leadership, intense collaboration with teaching faculty and students, and an energetic collection of professionals and staff members, the Coates Library is a symbol of excellence in contemporary academic librarianship.

Institutional Background

Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas is a private, liberal arts institution serving primarily undergraduates. Its academic programs in the arts and sciences are intertwined with pre-professional and professional fields (engineering, pre-med, business, and education) to provide broad and intensive educational opportunities. Trinity enrolls a diverse student body of just over 2,500 undergraduates, representing 42 states as well as more than 40 foreign countries. The approximately 230 graduate students, just 8% of the total enrollment, are limited to three fields of study: health care administration, education, and business.

The University’s Elizabeth Huth Coates Library is large for an institution of this size, with a collection totaling approximately 938,000 cataloged volumes or 1,139,460 total items (books, serials, and documents). The title count is approximately 686,000. The collection benefited from a generous capital campaign gift in the early 1980s, when the number of books purchased increased substantially during a 10-year period.

The Coates Library staff consists of 35 FTE, including 10 FTE professionals and 25 FTE paraprofessional or administrative assistant staff. The library employs students for 20,500 hours annually. Due to Trinity’s small graduate program, its Carnegie Classification is Masters I and this application falls into the University category. With our small size and limited number of librarians, we take pride in how wide a net we have cast. We tend to think of ourselves as "the little library that could."

A Shared Mission

Trinity’s mission is "excellence in the interrelated areas of teaching, research, and service." It is dedicated to "providing a supportive and challenging experience wherein students, faculty, and staff can realize the potential of their abilities and engage their responsibilities to others." The library’s mission, in part, "supports and stimulates teaching and learning by providing an environment in which instruction and research can thrive. The Coates Library locates, acquires or delivers, organizes, interprets, and preserves information contained in all types of resources. The Library develops information literacy among students and faculty so that they may effectively use all forms of information in teaching and learning."

A Library on the Move

Nothing stands still in today’s information field, and Trinity librarians embrace these changes. As members of the faculty, we are considered movers and shakers on campus. Known for our interest in novel ideas, new technology, and innovative teaching, we attribute some of this change-friendly behavior to the fact that eight of the ten librarians have joined the staff since 2000. The encouragement and heavy participation by our director in "all things new" is also a factor in our efforts to experiment with different approaches and new products. We are fortunate in having a creative and involved support staff that facilitates new approaches and strategies.


A. Creativity and innovation in meeting the needs of our academic community.


1. Provide a welcoming space where students can access computer technology, work collaboratively, get needed reference and technical assistance, and print finished assignments.


In early 2003, the library’s main floor was renovated to include an Information Commons, providing access to 68 general-use PCs where before we had housed an extensive and little-used reference collection and 20 limited-use PCs. Other additions included a classroom with computers for up to 27 people, comfortable furniture for study or socializing, and collaborative working space within and outside the PC areas. This renovation followed the popular installation of the library’s coffee shop, Java City, in August 2001.

In the fall 2003 semester, the library’s Help Desk began providing staffing by reference and ITS personnel to address multiple needs by students. Well-trained reference students, perceived as being more approachable by many students, have supplemented service offered by librarians and reference staff members.

Space was created for a Kinko's operation within the library in 2003; management of campus printing services was turned over to Kinko’s at that time. The library spearheaded an early effort to adopt pay-for-print on campus after free printing used a substantial portion of our supplies budget in 2001-2002.


Use of the library building has increased 65 % in the past five years, from a door count of 228,600 (2000-01) to 376,003 (2005-2006). Circulation has also increased, up 3.54% from 2004-05 to 2005-06. Total in-house use of print materials was up 11.78% during that period. Individual searches using electronic resources jumped from 182,311 (2002-2003) to 348,648 (2005-2006), an increase of 91.24%. The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) survey of 2004 Trinity seniors showed a rating of "very satisfied" from 91% of students when they were asked about library facilities, compared to 67% for a comparison group of private four-year institutions. From 2002 to 2004, Trinity seniors’ rating of "very satisfied" moved from 38% to over 50%.

Shared staffing of the Help Desk by reference and IT personnel has provided a major service for students, who often have computer problems as well as resource questions. Reference staff members as well as students benefit from this readily available technical expertise and have increased their own skills by working side-by-side with IT counterparts. Student reference staff members have also allowed the library to provide service for many more hours, covering the weekends, evenings up until midnight, and even extended hours during final exam periods.

Printing "issues" at Trinity have lessened considerably after migrating to a pay-for-print model. On an intellectual level, students select better and more appropriate sources when they must consider the cost involved in printing these items. The piles of print jobs that were left behind when it was "free" (i.e., paid for by the library’s budget) have largely disappeared. One benefit of having Kinko’s in the library is that reference staffers have been freed from dealing with many technical printing problems. In addition, students enjoy greater access to assistance with posters and other productions for class assignments.

2. Support academic integrity and Trinity’s Academic Honor Code, initiated in 2004.


In the context of early information literacy instruction, we include discussions on the ethical use and attribution of research sources. RefWorks is incorporated into our institutional program for academic integrity. Provided jointly by the library and the Office of Academic Affairs, this bibliographic management software makes it easier for students to track and cite sources. RefWorks is promoted through information literacy instruction and training sessions for peer tutors in the First-Year Seminar program; it is also supported with customized tutorials on the library webpage. In addition, one of our librarians prepared web pages that offer extensive assistance with creating bibliographies and citing sources, including accurate, user-friendly examples from various style guides. These may be found at < >.

Finally, a Trinity librarian serves as one of two faculty advisors to the student-run Academic Honor Council.


Almost 1600 RefWorks accounts have been created at Trinity, 95% of which belong to students. In November 2006, the RefWorks software was accessed almost 600 times, making it one of the top twenty library pages viewed by users. Peer tutors routinely give RefWorks high recommendations during the information literacy sessions we hold with their First-Year Seminar classes.

The library’s citation guides see consistently high usage by Trinity students and faculty as well as patrons outside the University. For example, the main page of the guides was accessed 947 times in November 2005, and would increase to 1,591 visits in November 2006. Academic Honor Council members have been so impressed with the quality of these pages they requested that a Quicklink to these guides be added to the Student Portal to encourage proper attribution and decrease cases of plagiarism. While some libraries create guides for common citations, the Coates Library guides include formats and example for citing media and other non-traditional sources. As an indication of their value, they were accessed 1,962 times in November 2006; 1,531 of those hits came from outside Trinity.

3. Create better and faster access to more books.


We have changed approval plan vendors several times and revised our profiles extensively since 2002 to improve the quality of materials and to decrease the quantity of returns. For short-term reading interests, we have contracted with book leasing programs that provide access to leisure reading materials and computer handbooks.

In our library catalog, we have included specialized authority records that provide subject headings for fictional materials.  We loaded a very large set of bibliographic records for the Early English Books Online (EEBO) database into our library’s catalog.  Because the users of this database may initially begin their search for these resources through the library catalog, it was critical that we add catalog records for each item with a link to the EEBO database.  This effort was also important from a catalog management standpoint because loading vendor-provided record sets will become more and more common, and we needed to develop a system for this process.  Additionally, we have also loaded marc records for all of our Netlibrary and other ebook holdings.

We streamlined processing procedures in technical services (cataloging, acquisitions, and serials control) in 2003 to reduce the number of staff through which an item must pass and to move materials more quickly to the shelves.


By adding a University Press component to our approval plan in 2004, we feel more assured that we are acquiring most of the "must have" new titles. We achieved savings in our book budget by changing approval plan vendors, thereby reducing a return rate that had resulted in $4000/year in shipping charges for rejected books.

Our decision to lease leisure reading and computer books has paid off in a big way. In the 18 months since we inaugurated the programs, we have had over 700 circulations. Each of these two collections encompasses about 100 titles at any given time.

By following the recommendations of the thesaurus Guidelines on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drama, Etc. (GSAFD), we have given our library users better access to individual works of fiction, drama, poetry, humor and folklore in all formats. 

Our efforts to add EEBO records (requiring five points of description and documentation) were successful, and these electronic books totaling 73,000 titles are now accessible in the catalog and in the EEBO database.

The quality and speed of cataloging production have improved since we initiated workflow changes in 2003.  Work was re-delegated after the loss of two employees without having to rehire for those positions.

4. Represent the Library in outreach activities which advance the mission of the library and the University.


We take every opportunity to promote the library as a cultural center on campus. Library programs and presentations often include participation by support staff as well as the librarians. We encourage displays and activities within the library that are initiated by students or faculty. We also offer instruction programs for campus staff to increase their understanding of the library, its collections, and other services.


Library scavenger hunts focusing on a literature/film theme (Frankenstein, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter) were initiated in 2002 and became a popular component of Trinity’s New Student Orientation. All of the library staff were involved in the two-day event as we emphasized creative ideas and having fun, while also encouraging perceptions of the library as a helpful and friendly place. In 2006, the motif changed to a mystery game entitled "Blood on the Stacks," which combined elements of a treasure hunt, virtual clues, a Classics subject (Egyptology), and a monetary prize for the best-researched solution to the mystery. The library program is now a required activity during New Student Orientation; each year attendance has been over 60% of the incoming class, with a high of 85% during its first year.

We also offer an annual new faculty orientation event early each fall semester.

Other programs and displays within the library have included the following:

The National Library of Medicine’s Frankenstein traveling exhibition came to Trinity for three weeks in 2003; ours was one of only 82 libraries in the country to host this impressive display. Local programming took on a life of its own as we supported a costume party/opening reception, three public lectures, a poster session by students on Frankenstein-related projects, a film festival, a faculty panel on cloning, and a blood drive. Total attendance at events was 1,025, and an estimate of the number of people who observed the exhibition (based on a fraction of the door count for the three weeks) was 24,000.

Banned Books Week was celebrated in 2005 and 2006 with daily readings in front of the library by students, faculty, and staff. The library was also involved in programming for evening readings related to commemorating the freedom to read. In fall 2006, ALA and Nextbook’s Jewish Literature program was hosted at the library. Trinity was only the second academic library in Texas to participate and the third library overall in Texas.

Films screened at Cannes, Sundance, and at other international film festivals received their San Antonio premieres at the Coates Library Cinema Series in fall 2006.  Presented in their native languages and portraying a variety of cultural themes and universal narratives, these films from Japan, Canada, India, and Norway were well received by the campus and local community.  Future series showings are planned and it is expected that the series will grow in scope and audience.

We frequently host library displays to support student theatre productions and activities. Displays coordinated by student groups have been set up every year for Gay & Lesbian History Month, Women's History Month, etc. We have initiated music performances in front of the library by Trinity students to showcase their talents and provide a pleasant interlude for people walking across campus. Student groups often approach us about events or displays in Java City. Trinity’s KRTU placed a booth in front of the library in celebration of its third year as a jazz-only campus radio station. The Black Students Union placed a memorial to Rosa Parks in the library lobby. In 2006 we recognized Day Without Art, an observance of International AIDS Day, which had as its focus the number of artists that died from the AIDS epidemic. The library’s 15 feet by 80 feet mural and other large artworks were draped in black for the day. The 12 Black Classicists exhibit will be hosted in February 2007. In addition to all the temporary displays that travel through the library, we have created our own set of 12 Read posters, capturing faculty members, the dean of students, and the University president reading their favorite books. These posters have become a permanent part of the library décor.

The library administered the national LibQual+ survey in spring 2003. In response to its data, library staff offered a number of orientation sessions for Trinity employees during 2004 and 2005. These led to greater understanding and cooperation with departmental secretaries, who often act as the go-between for faculty in regard to reserve items and copyright issues.

5. Meet student researchers where they live.


Understanding that we are competing with the apparent simplicity of Google, Trinity librarians investigated federated search products that would serve as a front end to a collection of discipline-based e-reference sources, allowing the user to search multiple databases simultaneously.

Several librarians meet with the First-Year Seminar peer tutors every fall to introduce RefWorks, promising new databases, and other products that will appeal to students. By their own enthusiasm, the peer tutors are the most likely to "sell" new students on the value of the library to their college career.


To meet the needs of the contemporary student, Trinity librarians implemented several new products. Like many other institutions, we have added "chat reference" to our repertoire of service avenues. We designed and implemented a library toolbar that students can download for their Internet browser, giving searchers more efficient access to prominent library links. Most recently, Trinity librarians implemented a federated search product (MultiSearch). A Google-like search window is available on the library homepage, allowing the user to perform general searches on multiple resources that include the catalog and highly-used databases. We have created 25 subsets of MultiSearch to use in course- and subject-specific guides. One of them, Linguistics, was designed because our faculty who do research in that area wanted a database that was priced out of our budget. By using MultiSearch, we were able to group together databases that indexed the majority of the journals in which they were interested.

Comment from a reference/instruction librarian:

"Re: librarian buy-in to MultiSearch: OK, I thought I would never teach with it, but it works very well for certain things, and many of us (me too!) have taught with it in ILI sessions. … perhaps our ILI approach is strong and flexible enough to incorporate a tool that elsewhere students love and librarians hate."

6. Follow effective and strategic utilization of budget resources to best meet the needs of our academic community.


Concern about providing easier and more comprehensive access to journals has led to a number of actions in the past four years. In-house management of electronic journals, particularly for those available through aggregator databases, was not considered cost effective, and that led to a major investigation of commercial sources in 2002. In an effort to deal with subscription inflation, we changed our serials vendor, took a leadership role in consortial purchase negotiations, and cancelled a number of subscriptions while substituting access through a pay per view model. Similar fiscal considerations have been pursued in our book purchasing plan and in staff reductions.


In 2002 we became an early subscriber to TDNet, an electronic journals management system that fulfilled our need for an open URL resolver. We now have access to over 22,000 electronic journal titles, which far outstrip our print journal holdings at any time in the past. Use of electronic resources increased 87.91% from 2000-01 to 2004-05. We negotiated a contract with a new serials vendor in 2003-04, thus providing savings in service charges that could be used to soften the impact of subscription inflation. In terms of consortial purchase negotiations, we handle the Oxford University Press journals and IEEE Xplore Society Periodicals Package for the Oberlin Group, as well as the American Chemical Society and Wiley Press journals deals for independent colleges in Texas. These actions saved Trinity thousands of dollars and resulted in wider access to the journal literature.

Beginning in 2007 all Elsevier subscriptions will be cancelled in exchange for pay per view document delivery of any Elsevier article. We believe that this will save substantial funds while providing increased access to Elsevier articles for our faculty. Interlibrary loan, which was greatly enhanced by our purchase of ILLiad in 2004, continues to offer faculty and students quick, often desktop-delivery of articles.

As noted in A. 3., we achieved considerable savings in our acquisitions budget by changing approval plan vendors, thereby reducing the $4000/year in shipping charges for returned books. Judicious budgeting for both serials and books has allowed us to purchase important collections of primary source materials such as Early English Books Online, Historical New York Times edition, the Historical Washington Post edition, and Palmer’s Index to the London Times, as well as expensive but highly desirable databases such as SciFinder Scholar, Web of Science, and Compendex. Of course, purchasing expensive items is not good use of a budget unless they are well utilized, so we have developed Resource by Subject web pages for all our liaison areas to lead students and faculty to the most appropriate databases and other items. The success of this approach is evidenced by usage of the index page for these subject guides; it was accessed 1,999 times in November 2006.

We streamlined processing procedures in technical services (cataloging, acquisitions, and serials control) to reduce staffing and move materials more quickly to the shelves. Since 2002 we have reduced staff from 42.5 FTE to 35.5 (through attrition) to pull our numbers into line with other Oberlin Group institutions.

7. Encourage staff involvement in library programs and provide support for all aspects of their work.


The Technical Services area of the library was renovated in 2005 after 27 years of the same hand-me-down furniture and carpet (euw!). Support staff took responsibility for selecting new colors and for choosing the furniture configurations that best supported their work.

Staff development is an ongoing activity at the Coates Library. While some of these opportunities are carried out onsite, staff are also encouraged to attend workshops at Trinity or locally within San Antonio, or at regional/national conferences where meetings are relevant for their work.


The renovated Technical Services area has been a great morale booster. A year later people are still commenting about how much they appreciate these changes.

A number of professional development activities have become regular events. A staff development day is held annually in August, during which the library is closed to the public and everyone is encouraged to participate. Frequently support staff provide leadership and sessions as part of this event. In an effort to keep circulation staff (especially student workers) up to date on changing policies and procedures, a Wiki has been developed. As mentioned in A.4. above, many staff participate in New Student Orientation and other programs held in the library. Some of them have attended Amigos and Endeavor workshops and conferences within Texas as well as outside the state, including commercial courses in Adobe and Access, state-wide interlibrary loan workshops, Serials Cooperative Cataloging Training Program courses, and digitization project management workshops.

Trinity University gives the Helen Heare McKinley Classified Employee Excellence Award each quarter, to honor a deserving member of the classified staff. No less than three library employees have received this award since 2002.

B. Leadership in developing and implementing exemplary programs that other libraries can emulate.


1. Create and implement an information literacy program across the liberal arts curriculum.

Actions: In 2003, in conjunction with a newly renovated Information Commons, the Coates Library created the new position of Information Literacy Coordinator to unite all of the professional librarians toward the mission of integrating information literacy across the curriculum. Previously, public service librarians served the role of conducting bibliographic instruction sessions, but there was no leader to spearhead the discussions on campus to grow the program. The library director and information literacy coordinator held luncheons every semester from 2003 to 2005 to meet with a primary target group of first-year seminar (FYS) teaching faculty to discuss information literacy outcomes and the importance of including instruction in the first year of college.

The addition of two new dynamic librarians and liaison duties to a Spanish speaking professional also impacted the information literacy program in a positive manner. All librarians were assigned liaison departments and programs to offer information literacy instruction throughout the curriculum and to unite the librarians in a teaching role. To manage the program internally, the information literacy coordinator designs a retreat at the beginning of every semester to focus on outcomes for each year. Librarians focus on the learning model of information literacy across the curriculum instead of relying on a teaching model in order to become partners with the classroom faculty on campus.

The information literacy program is built on both qualitative and quantitative information. The library has taken part in national information literacy assessment projects such as Project SAILS from Kent State University and more localized assessment gathering such as the First-Year Information Literacy in the Liberal Arts Assessment project from Carleton University. We also plan classroom assessment each year depending on the needs of our community.

Outcomes: Due to the institution of the Information Literacy Coordinator position, over 90% of the first-year seminar classes have included an information literacy component and face-to-face interaction with a librarian. In 2004-05, the use of librarians in courses increased 78% over the 2003-04 year, and 140% over the 2000-01 year. The number of students exposed to library instruction went from 1,472 in 2000-01 to 3,198 in 2004-05, an increase of 118%. The number of departments utilizing library instruction has grown to 24, an increase of 50% over the 2003-2004 school year, while the number of faculty requesting instruction also increased 67% over that same time. Since all professionals in the Coates Library now teach, the information literacy team is united in a common goal. Librarians, as liaisons to their departments, are working to create assignments with faculty, create working bibliographies, grade some assignments and have become partners to the teaching faculty. Our assessment projects have yielded useful data which have been distributed to the university community in the form of a Quality Enhancement Plan proposal as part of our reaccreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

2. Provide leadership and development in the creation of an institutional repository.

Actions: In 2004, Trinity University, working with Carleton, Dickinson and Middlebury Colleges, implemented the Digital Commons@Trinity, which serves as an alternative repository for undergraduate research, faculty working papers, "little" magazines, etc. It can be viewed at <>. As interest in repositories increased at other institutions, the original group of four has since expanded to become the Liberal Arts Scholarly Repository (LASR); that combined effort may be viewed at <>. This larger group now includes Amherst, Connecticut, Macalester, and Simmons Colleges. Trinity was a leader in developing a partnership with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) to host the newly expanded LASR on a new platform utilizing DSpace technology.

In addition to the Digital Commons, the Coates library began projects to collect and archive locally created digital information in the Historical Images Archive and the Theatre Arts Image Archive utilizing ContentDM software. 

Outcomes: This institutional repository, consisting of organized and managed collections of digital content created by faculty and students, is an exciting endeavor to preserve Trinity’s scholarship.  This is a stimulating project as we are one of the few schools our size to be undertaking this sort of work.  The Digital Commons is a collection of mostly text-based documents including student theses and projects, lesson plans, faculty working papers, and administrative policies. In early 2007, the entire LASR project will move to Dspace software. This conversion was the best solution for the expanding collection, and Trinity’s library director is one of the primary leaders of this next big step.

The Historical Images Archive consists of images from our Special Collections area documenting the University’s history from the 1870s to the 1990s.  The Theatre Arts Image Archive is a collection of images culled from the theatrical productions of Trinity’s Drama Program.  This online collection is comprised of selected photographs from plays, musicals, and other performances.  Digital images formerly available at the Speech and Drama Department webpage are now available in a searchable format as a part of the library’s digital collections.

Clearly, we had few models to follow in developing our local electronic collections, and we have chosen to share our experiences and the opportunities of such programs with other professionals. "Bepress Digital Commons" was a co-presentation given at the Digital Assets Management Symposium by our director and the catalog librarian. The goal of this symposium was to enable teams from NITLE colleges to share solutions and consider planning for campus-wide or consortial strategies for managing a wide range of digital collections and assets.  Their presentation was part of a solutions showcase; they described how we use the Digital Commons software to organize and archive student work.

3. Create an annual library assessment process that involves all units.

Actions: Each year, as part of the annual assessment effort in our divisional unit within the university, the library takes an inventory of last year’s assessment efforts and creates a new annual assessment plan. The idea is that the library works to improve services in all areas of the library on an ongoing basis and submits a plan each year. This cycle can be emulated because of its comprehensiveness and ongoing nature. Goals of the annual plan correlate to Collections, Bibliographic Control, Information Access, Information Literacy, Information Delivery, and Staffing and Compensation. Each staff member responsible for those areas forwards clear objectives and details how those objectives will be measured to the library director. Then, the following year, the library revisits the plan and identifies success and obstacles to each objective.

Outcomes: By initiating a comprehensive plan each year involving staff and librarians across liaison areas, the entire library receives continual assessment. This has made the overall assessment process easier and more efficient. A year review of our plan ensures that items that need to be addressed are done so in a timely fashion. When an item on the plan is not completed, it can be reevaluated or removed from our objectives for the following year.

4. Initiate support for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) within the library and across the curriculum.

Actions: After arriving at Trinity in 2004, the GIS liaison librarian created a campus GIS interest group, which includes the Vice President of Information Resources and Administrative Affairs, faculty who teach with GIS, Information Technology Services, Physical Plant, the GIS librarian, the library director, and other campus staff who use GIS. This group holds meetings and helps to create awareness and garner interest. In order to take a leadership role in fostering use of GIS technology, the library maintains the GIS lab spaces on campus, including managing the license, installing new software and extensions, and making hardware recommendations. More specifically, the GIS liaison develops the library collection covering geospatial data and analysis. He collects titles from a number of disciplines and selects titles devoted to software skills. He also purchases, gleans, and provides electronic access to spatial data. The position provides instructional support for all things GIS, including teaching information literacy instruction sessions utilizing GIS, meeting individually with users, developing curriculum for GIS modules in courses, preparing data sets, maintaining library finding aids and creating a campus data repository for use in teaching and research.

Additionally, the GIS liaison works to connect Trinity’s GIS students with presentation opportunities such as the Academic Fair and San Antonio GIS Day. He also conducts guest lectures on digital mapping and GIS for classes with related interests (i.e. Interactive Web Design, Human Geography, and Political Science Research Methods). Trinity works to create a national GIS presence by supporting the liaison in attendance at national workshops (in most cases accompanying Trinity faculty) and conferences on the topic of GIS in higher education, both as a participant and as a presenter. The library also hosted a workshop at Trinity with NITLE called "Managing and Supporting GIS: a Workshop for Instructional Technologists, Librarians, and GIS Specialists" in 2006.

Outcomes: Coordinating meetings with interested parties on campus help to identify areas for collaboration and opportunities for students learning, and also serve to create a unified vision for the use of GIS technology on campus. A new course, PLSI 3329, GIS & Demographics, is co-taught by political science teaching faculty and the GIS Librarian. A GPS/GIS lab was developed by the GIS Librarian and a Biology student and incorporated into BIOL 1212, Methods of Biological Problem Solving. Additionally, a two-part GIS assignment for students in PLSI 3346, Geography & World Politics, focused on exploring worldwide fossil fuel data.

We have also encouraged GIS use by individual students. For example, a 2006 Communications major conducted a project researching Texas School Districts with Challenged Books in 2004. Future projects may include GIS mapping of the ancient Mediterranean for a course in the Classics Department and place names research for Linguistics researchers.

5. Create greater faculty awareness of the issues surrounding scholarly communication and the publishing world.

Actions: The scholarly communication crisis affects colleges and universities across the country but is often overlooked by liberal arts institutions. Trinity librarians have been particularly concerned with actions by the journal publishing industry, leading to discussions with faculty regarding serials cancellations on an almost annual basis.


To help educate our faculty, the Coates Library and the Library Activities Committee co-sponsored a seminar on scholarly publishing. With funding from Trinity University’s Lecturers and Visiting Scholars Committee, the "Issues in Scholarly Communication Forum" was held in February 2004 and led to wide interdisciplinary discussions about the current state of scholarly communications. In addition, library newsletters designed for faculty readers regularly include information about new trends in scholarly publishing, and we maintain an "Issues in Scholarly Communication" link from the Faculty Corner on the library’s homepage. Working to ensure our librarians are part of the national conversation about scholarly publication, the Trinity library director was a member of the review team for applications, ARL/ACRL Institute for Scholarly Communication, Spring 2006 and also serves on the SPARC Steering Committee (2006-2009). Further, our electronic resources and serials librarian was selected to attend the ARL/ACRL Institute for Scholarly Communication in the summer of 2006 at UCLA.

C. Substantial and productive relationships with classroom faculty and students.

1. Strengthen the Coates Library liaison program and partner with teaching faculty to infuse information literacy into coursework.

Actions: In 2002, the library director worked with each professional librarian to assign appropriate liaison departments and programs to create a stronger relationship with classroom faculty. Previously, only public service librarians were serving as liaisons, causing individual department service and attention to be thinly spread.

While our information literacy action plan has been detailed in part B, it is important to note that much of our work in building the program relates to our relationships with classroom faculty and the liaison program. Our marketing of information literacy, through departmental meetings, faculty newsletter columns, faculty and departmental workshops among other things, has garnered a great deal of support. In addition we have created a web site that serves as a gateway for faculty that allows them to take advantage of the support we offer and to explore methods for integrating information literacy into their courses.

Outcomes: By revising liaison assignments, departments are now better served in terms of their individual needs, as well as teaching support and collection development.

The creation of the faculty information literacy portal < research/infolit/teachingfac.shtml> and direct request access increased demand for class specific course guides, instruction, and assignment design. As previously noted, information literacy instruction is reaching more departments than ever before and we receive more requests from faculty. Many faculty members now include our contact information in their syllabi and consider us to be partners in student learning.

Individual librarians are working with faculty to create successful assignments and our research appointments program has grown due to our productive faculty relationships. Each semester our librarians see an average of 5-10 students for 30-60 minute appointments in addition to our face-to-face instruction. 2. Develop relationships with students and become a partner in their education.

Actions: In 2004, the library began a formal program for students to set up research appointments with appropriate liaisons. While librarians were always available at the reference desk, our experience shows that students will return to librarians they know from information literacy instruction for research appointments. Additionally, teaching faculty increasingly refer students to specific liaisons, and students have become more inclined to contact individual librarians.

Outcomes: The statistics for individual research appointments range from 5-30 appointments per semester, mostly depending on librarian liaison assignments. This increased individual contact has allowed several librarians to work with students on their senior honors theses or capstone projects on an ongoing basis as part of the liaison role. The research appointment program is popular with classroom faculty because of their reluctance, from time to time, to give up classroom time to library instruction. 3. Work beside faculty in the ongoing development of the first-year seminar (FYS) component of the Trinity University curriculum.

Actions: When the information literacy coordinator arrived at Trinity, the teaching librarians began to focus on the first-year seminar because it is the only required course for all students at Trinity University. Therefore, librarians began a serious campaign to push into the FYS and enforce what is known in the course handbook as the "required bibliographic component" of the course. All liaison libraries partnered to design face-to-face information literacy experience in conjunction with teaching faculty for first-year seminars. Additionally, in order to be viewed as true partners, librarians serve as instructors and teach their own sections of the FYS.

Outcomes: Through heavy campaigning and marketing, the information literacy coordinator takes part in the annual workshop of the classroom faculty active in teaching the first-year seminar. The coordinator also works with the peer tutors assigned to each FYS section and encourages them to counsel first-year students in their research and academic integrity practices. As previously noted, the library is now included in approximately 90-95% of the first-year seminars. That work includes both a face-to-face instruction session (and sometimes more than one) as well as a close relationship with the classroom faculty in designing the library experience included in the course. 4. Work with classroom faculty in the education on basic computer skills at Trinity University.

Actions: All incoming students are required to take a computer proficiency exam upon entering Trinity University. If they do not pass, they must take a computer skills course sometime before matriculation. In the past few years involvement of the Trinity librarians in the course has increased tremendously and we see this as another face-to-face opportunity with students, a way to showcase our knowledge and expertise, and a continued partnership with classroom faculty.

Outcomes: The library director educates students every semester on copyright as it relates to their lives as students and as consumers of entertainment. Other librarians guest lecture on Web page evaluation, plagiarism and even uses of social software. The anecdotal evidence in support of participation by librarians in these courses is very strong. It is not uncommon for a student question to begin with the words "I learned about this from the librarian who came to our computer skills class, but can you take me to the next step?" 5. Encourage faculty to stay current with library resources and technology.

Actions: In 2003, the library began a series of workshops targeting all classroom faculty entitled Focus on Faculty. The idea blossomed out of a brainstorming session on educating faculty about the growing list of electronic journals, and the classes were born. These occasional sessions highlight specific electronic services and products and are tailored to faculty interests and needs. Liaison librarians now offer departmental specific workshops based on need. In addition, the library hosts an annual New Faculty Orientation that describes library support for teaching and learning while also taking the opportunity to begin dialogues about other current issues.

Outcomes: Attendance at workshops has been steady. Many new faculty take advantage of workshops designed to learn specific resources such as RefWorks or ArtSTOR. Departments can now also work with liaisons to schedule specific workshops for resources for their departments, and the History department had a day-long workshop last year entitled "How to Get History Majors Back into the Library." This session highlighted some of the new resources for students as well as assignment design ideas that initiate student research and interest. Nearly all new faculty members attended New Faculty Orientation during the past three years. In 2005, 30% of the new faculty requested library instruction after attending orientation.

6. Encourage librarians to fill other faculty roles on campus.

Actions: In 2003 the library faculty crafted a significant revision of our promotion and tenure requirements. We developed a scheme that will reward and encourage librarians in their efforts to support the teaching and research needs of Trinity teaching faculty and students. Our "unique" vision of promotion and tenure for librarians involves participation in activities and committees across campus.

Outcomes: In 2005-2006, three library faculty members taught full semester classes. Our language professional taught non-credit campus-wide staff-development classes in Arabic and Spanish, while another librarian was included as faculty in "A Trinity Summer," a program for incoming seniors in high school.

Librarians are also serving as student group faculty advisors or sponsors to various organizations on campus, including TWIST (Trinity Women In Science & Technology), Academic Honor Council, and the Spurs Sorority. Librarians have been tapped to work with students on off-campus research trips, including the Latin American Studies Symposium at Birmingham-Southern College in 2006 and the Model UN team international symposium in Monterrey, México. Additionally, all of our librarians provide leadership and service to campus academic committees, thereby demonstrating involvement and outreach beyond the library. We have served on (and in some cases chaired) the Faculty Senate, the Teaching and Learning Committee, the University Curriculum Committee, the Promotion & Tenure Committee, the Quality Enhancement Plan selection committee, the Academic Integrity Committee, and the Modern Languages Film Curriculum Committee.

D. Representation in state, regional and national organizations that promotes the Trinity library in the wider academic community as a leader in technology and information-related concerns.


1. Encourage library staff to become active in state, regional, and national professional and scholarly organizations.


The library provides a travel budget that allows professional staff to attend at least two out-of-state conferences per year. Trinity librarians are active members of ALA, ACRL, NASIG, the Music Library Association, the Oberlin Group of library directors, the Texas Library Association (TLA), Texas Independent College & University Libraries, the Texas Council of Academic Libraries, and CORAL, a San Antonio-based resource-sharing group. Additionally, Trinity librarians have participated in national and regional programs sponsored by EDUCAUSE, NITLE, the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the GPO, the International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology (IASSIST), and ESRI.


Since 2001 Trinity librarians have made presentations at ALA, ACRL, NASIG, LOEX, EDUCAUSE, NITLE, Brick and Click Academic Library Symposium, ASEE, Electronic Resources & Libraries, and ESRI conferences on information literacy, collection development in specific fields, serials management, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), institutional repositories, and metadata creation for foreign-language materials. Three librarians have attended the ACRL Institute for Information Literacy Immersion program (2 on teacher track and 1 on program track). Another librarian presented a session at the National Junior Classical League’s 50th annual meeting in 2003.

Trinity hosted the annual NASIG conference in 2001 and the Oberlin Group annual meeting in 2004. The campus also hosted a 3-day seminar for the ACRL College Library Section’s College Library Directors’ Mentor Program during ALA Midwinter in January 2006.

2. Encourage library staff to serve as elected officers and in appointed positions in professional and scholarly organizations.


The library administration provides staff with sufficient release time to attend conferences and to carry out organizational business with support from the Coates Library. The director sets an example by being very active herself.


The library director currently serves on the SPARC Steering Committee, the Academic Commons Advisory Board, the EDUCAUSE Management Institute Faculty, the Oberlin Group membership committee (chair for 2006), and the Southern Methodist University Libraries Executive Board. She chaired the EDUCAUSE Southwest Regional Conference Program Committee in 2004 and was a member of the National Program Committee in 2005.

Other librarians have served on the boards for NASIG, the ALA New Members Round Table, and ALCTS. They have served as chairs for committees and discussion groups within NASIG, the ACRL Instruction Section, the ALCTS Serials Section, and the ACRL Science and Technology Section (STS). One librarian has been elected to a directorship position for the ALA New Members Roundtable, and the science librarian was elected as vice chair/chair elect of STS in 2006. Trinity librarians have also served on committees for the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) and the Texas Library Association. The electronic resources/serials librarian is serving as the representative for small/medium-sized libraries on a group sponsored by SPARC & ARL to devise a list of best practices that could serve as an alternative to license agreements.  NISO has agreed to sponsor them and their work, adding legitimacy to their actions.

3. Encourage Trinity librarians to carry out scholarly activities such as publishing, presentations, and grant writing.


The library administration provides sufficient release time for professional staff to write and attend conferences. It also provides material and personnel resources to support information gathering and final presentation products.


Scholarly work by Trinity librarians has been published in Reference Services Review, Serials Review, Education Libraries, College and Undergraduate Libraries, Library Journal, and Marketing Electronic Resources. Trinity librarians have authored books, contributed chapters in textbooks and handbooks, and written for other professional online publications.

Successful grant applications from Trinity Library faculty include:

2001-02: $75K Telecommunications Infrastructure Grant to acquire laptops for circulation and install wireless networking capability throughout the library.

2002-03: $1.3M grant from the Priddy Foundation to create the Information Commons. Supporting grants from the Olin Foundation and Aramark totaling $200K enabled the creation of the Kinko’s Paw Prints space and the expansion of Java City.

2003-04: $1,195 grant from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) to support development of the Information Literacy program.

2003, 2004, 2005: Separate $5K NEH Preservation Assistance Grants ($15K total) to train staff on emergency preparedness (a model manual was the result), preservation practices, and digital preservation.

2006: $550 ACS Campus-Community Partnership Grant to support librarians teaching a first-year seminar on environmental issues.

2006: $1500 ALA and Nextbook Jewish Literature Program to support a five-part book discussion series on Jewish literature.

Members of the library faculty have successfully proposed a number of Trinity Lecturers and Visiting Scholars programs, including Bryan Alexander (2003), Susan Lederer for the Frankenstein Exhibition (2003), the Scholarly Communication Forum (2004), Susan Metros (2005) and David Orr (2006).