William Paterson University of New Jersey

William Paterson University of New Jersey

Nancy J. Weiner (David & Lorraine Cheng Library, William Paterson University of New Jersey, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4241-6.ch007


This chapter is an overview of the reference and instruction services provided by librarians at David & Lorraine Cheng Library at William Paterson University of New Jersey. Included will be a brief history of the University and the library along with an overview of the reference and instruction services currently provided and the relationship to past practices, how they have evolved through the years, and what impact these services have on student learning. Cheng Library has retained the traditional reference desk that is staffed by professional librarians which continues to work well for students, although assistance is also available via email, chat and during individual research appointments. Librarians from other departments serve as reference adjuncts which allows for double coverage at the desk during peak hours on weekdays and all librarians, including the Dean, are required to conduct instruction sessions for First Year Seminar classes during the fall semester. While the FYS classes provide a cohort for assessing information literacy skills, additional assessment activities have become a component of the instruction program and reflect national trends in terms of demonstrating the value of library services and resources. All full time librarian positions are tenure track and librarians have faculty status. While budget constraints have hampered some projects, Cheng Library remains committed to providing students with the highest level of service possible, and it has been able to make significant changes to the physical space of the library in response to student needs and as a result of technology.
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Objectives Of The Chapter

  • The reader will recognize the integral role played by the library and librarians in contributing to student success at a public, four year institution.

  • The reader will distinguish between the types of reference services offered and understand how technology has influenced changes in the area of reference.

  • The reader will identify the components of the library instruction program and recognize the increased focus on assessment activities.


Organizational Background

One of the nine state colleges and universities in New Jersey, William Paterson University can trace its origins to the city of Paterson, where the Paterson Normal School was established in 1855 to provide professional training to practicing teachers and, two decades later, to prospective teachers. The school remained in the city of Paterson for nearly 100 years in various locations, expanding its offerings and becoming the New Jersey State Normal School at Paterson in 1923. By 1937 the name of school was changed to the New Jersey State Teacher's College at Paterson and a degree-granting curriculum was established (White, 1967). The growth and expansion of course offerings continued, necessitating a move to its present day Wayne, New Jersey, location in 1951. In 1958 the school was renamed Paterson State College. A state mandate in 1971 transformed the school into a multipurpose liberal arts school which was renamed William Paterson College of New Jersey in honor of the New Jersey patriot and statesman (Parrillo, 2005). Attaining University status in 1997, William Paterson is a comprehensive university with more than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students, offering 43 undergraduate and 21 graduate degree programs.

The David & Lorraine Cheng Library at William Paterson University can trace its origins back to a one room library that was first organized in 1924 and, “…the first catalog of the Paterson State Normal School, 1925-1926 lists Miss Dorothy Abrams as librarian” (White, 1967, p. 114). Mirroring the growth of the institution, the library continued to expand and by 1934 the library contained about 11,000 books, mostly in the fields of education and children’s literature, and as indicated in a Student Government Association pamphlet, “the librarian also provided instruction to senior students in library methods” (Geary as cited in White, 1967, p. 114). The library had been relegated to the second floor of an administration building, but upon moving to the new campus in Wayne, a new library building, named after Sarah Byrd Askew, was dedicated in 1956. By the mid 1960’s the library was staffed by 11 professional librarians and the collection had grown from 30,000 volumes to nearly 90,000 volumes. The library became seriously overcrowded, necessitating construction of a new facility that opened in 1967 (Parrillo, 2005). As demand for library services increased, staff was also increased and during the 1970’s there were 26 full time librarians along with an equal number of classified staff. A major expansion and renovation of the library commenced in the mid 1990’s and the departments in the library were reorganized as Access & Information Services, Library Information Systems and Resource Management. The position of Library Director remained, but the Library now reported directly to the Associate Vice President for Information Technology, a newly created position. Five years after the renovation was completed, the library was renamed in honor of its benefactors, David and Lorraine Cheng.

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