MyLibrary at Brooklyn College: Developing a Suite of Digital Tools

MyLibrary at Brooklyn College: Developing a Suite of Digital Tools

Colleen Bradley-Sanders (Brooklyn College, USA) and Alex Rudshteyn (Brooklyn College, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2676-6.ch007
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The Office of Academic Information Technologies (AIT) at Brooklyn College is based in the college library and has a history of successful innovation in developing in-house digital tools for the use of students, faculty and the library staff. In tight budgetary times developing software solutions in-house has not only improved services at lower cost than commercial products but also tailored them to the library's needs. There is some discussion of earning income from selling one of the tools to other libraries, however commercialization is not a prime motivator in the creation of the software. This chapter explores one aspect of the work done by AIT, the development of a set of digital tools called MyLibrary Suite.
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Merging The Library With Academic Information Technologies (Ait)

In the early 1990s, when developing a master plan for renovating the campus, senior administrators at Brooklyn College decided the new library would become the core location for the “transmission and retrieval of knowledge” on campus (Higginbotham, 1997). This decision was part of a trend discussed by Mary K. Bolin in her 2005 article in which she reported on the growing discussion about mergers of libraries and computer centers in the 1990’s. Given the wide range of what constitutes an academic library, she focused her study on a group of similar institutions (land grant universities) while noting that such changes were occurring at all types of colleges and universities—large, small, public, and private. Bolin’s description included that 88% of the universities she studied retained the traditional structure in which the library and computer centers reported separately to their respective administrators. She also noted that her study results seemed to “confirm Mech’s assertion that the merged organization is a phenomenon of smaller institutions, and that when it does occur, the top administrator of the new organization is generally a librarian” (Bolin, 2005). This is what happened at Brooklyn College, where AIT reports to the chief librarian.

Columbia University and the University of Southern California both have smaller student bodies than a typical land-grant university, and like other institutions in the 1990s and early 2000s, they merged their academic computing and library units. In separate articles for a special issue of the Journal of Library Administration in 2012, the stories of the respective mergers are told.

The University of Southern California merged its academic computing and library functions in 1997 into an Information Services Division (ISD), hoping to try new ways of providing services and perhaps provide a model for other institutions. After ten years, a new Provost determined that the merger was not effectively serving the patrons of the library or the IT unit. It was a difficult merger on the library side, with library faculty feeling undervalued. While the merged entity supported innovative work from the information technology (IT) staff, software developed by the team was “never fully developed for use by our community” (Quinlan & McHarg, 2012). In 2006, the two units were separated.

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