A closer look: how the library adds to its shelves

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Clare Myers
Contributing Writer

--------------------Photo by Danny Sauer-------------------- Lauren Lagasse, junior English major, studies in the library.

One of the most poorly attended events during freshman orientation is the tour of the William A. Blakeley Library.

While some might not consider it a good time investment, others see it as an opportunity to familiarize themselves with one of University of Dallas’ greatest resources.

The on-campus library holds roughly 310,000 works. Approximately 190,000 are in circulation, and the rest include periodicals, reference books, rare books and special collections that are not permitted to be taken outside the building.

The theology section is most likely the largest, said Access Services Librarian Cherie Hohertz. However, she said she believes the philosophy and English departments have a comparable number of volumes.

Blakley has a “specific collection development policy” when it comes to the acquisition of new books, Hohertz said. In general, the staff aims to procure books that “relate to our curriculum.”

“We prefer scholarly works,” she remarked.

Each academic department at the University of Dallas has a faculty member who functions as a bibliographer.

Hohertz explained that the bibliographer submits purchase requests based on what he or she believes will be most useful or that pertains to the research a faculty member is conducting.

Then the library can “do some basic purchasing with the idea that a course” related to the professor’s research “would most likely be taught in the future,” she said.

The funding for new books comes from the operating budget of the university. Blakley received a relatively small monograph budget for the first time in several years for the 2010-2011 academic year. For the current academic year, the library did not receive a monograph budget at all.

Besides the general university endowment, the library also receives resources for new acquisitions from monetary donations given directly to the library, donations of books, smaller restricted funds and large donations given with the “sole intent of buying books on a particular topic, such as English or psychology,” according to Hohertz.

Once the library chooses specific works, the search begins for a copy with a binding and type of paper that will “hold up to multiple checkouts and high circulation rates.”

Through “ILLiad,” or the Interlibrary Loan system, the library also obtains for students and faculty books or journal articles that it does not carry in its own collections from other libraries across the globe.

If there is a book or journal article of which Blakley does not own a copy, “We’ll research libraries worldwide to see who has that book and will loan it to us,” Hohertz said.

Articles will generally arrive in three to five business days, while books usually take about seven to 10 days to obtain.

On a slightly different note, many students have experienced confusion and embarrassment when the library entrance book detectors go off when they pass through, even when they are not carrying any books with magnetic strips that have not been desensitized.

Hohertz explained this phenomenon:  “More and more companies are using similar magnetic strips,” she said. “Something from the bookstore or Barnes & Noble, if it hasn’t been desensitized, will set it off.”

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