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  • January 18, 2012: Printing without a Hokie Passort (online comment box)

    I noticed the new printers today, and was excited until I discovered that I cannot print at the library under the new configuration. I'm not enrolled at Tech for the current semester, and as a result, my Hokie Passport is inactive.

    Is there a timeframe for implementation of a patron card? In the interim, is there any way to setup a single computer for public printing use? Any information would be appreciated.

    We expect the new patron copy cards to be at the library and available for purchase by the end of Monday (Jan.23).

    Brenda Pratt
    Head of Circulation


    If you still have a Hokie Passport, you should be able to add funds to it using the cash to card machine on the 2nd floor in front of the circulation desk, even if you are not a current student.  (If that doesn't work, please write back to me and I'll investigate that aspect further).

    We are supposed to be getting generic cards from the Hokie Passport office for use by non-VT patrons, but they have not yet been delivered, and I'm not sure what the time frame for that is (but we're supposed to hear very soon.)

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • January 24, 2012: Accessing S&P Reports (online comment box)

    I am looking for the 2005 Standard & Poors industry surveys.  Where can I find that online? Please advise.

    We have the electronic Standard & Poors Industry Surveys: netAdvantage, which has older industry surveys archived back to 1999.  If you go to this page, you will see a link to connect to the database under the Connect to section.  Once you click and enter the database, select Industries in the blue bar at top.  Then you can choose the name of your industry.  Once you do that, you are offered a pull-down menu under Archived Surveys to select the date that you wish to view.

    Please email me if I can help further.
    Ellen Krupar
    College Librarian for Business

    Like all of our online databases, you can find the link to Standard and Poor's through the Databases tab on the home page. Simply search "standard and poor's

    You'll see we have all of these publication online back to 1999 (once you reach the S&P home page, look for the "Select year and issue" pop up menu on the right side).

    Be sure to use Off Campus Sign In when not on the campus network before accessing this restricted resource.
    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • January 26, 2012: Photocopy/Printing complaint (library suggestion box)

    1. The new printing system is terrible. Go back to the where we can pay with cash.

    2. Please offer a way to pay for printing in cash, not just the Hokie Passport.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this new system has caused you.  However, we felt the benefits far outweighed any negative impact.  We have set up a system so you can apply cash to a card to utilize the services regardless of your patron status.  Because of the change we now have wireless printing capabilities and we are now able to give patrons the ability to print during any time the library is open in our new 24/5 environment.  Thank you for your feedback on the new system.  We hope you continue to utilize our services here in the library.

    Charla Lancaster
    Director, Assessment and Access Services
    University Library

  • February 6, 2012: Digital signature policy (online comment box)

    My name is [redacted], and I am a grad student at the University of Mary Washington (UMW); I am currently working an externship with an assigned task to find Digital Signature policies that UMW can pattern its Digital Signature policy after.  Would I be able to view a copy of your digital signature policy?  I am trying to get security policies from neighboring universities to present in my externship presentation.

    Please let me know as I only have sixteen weeks to complete this task.

    To the best of my knowledge, the university does not have a digital signature policy beyond that established in federal law. All our policies can be found at (, and the one listed there specifically about signature is just who responsible for signing what. There is a pilot project to allow digital signatures in the leave report process, though the library is not participating.

    Please note: In the future, when requesting this kind of information, if you want a response, you should provide your email address.

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • February 7, 2012: Movie suggestions (library suggestion box)

    Requests to purchase the following movies:

    1.  Bring it on. (three suggestions)

    Thank you for your suggestion.  In the past, we have had a budget for purchasing popular materials.  However, those funds have been used up and we are not in a position to purchase this title.  We recommend contacting the public library, as this would be very appropriate for their collection.

    2.  love the DVD section. Please don't forget to keep adding to it.

    We're so glad that you are enjoying the DVD collection.  We are continuously purchasing new items for the collection, however recent purchasing efforts have been focused on films that are usable in an academic as well as an entertainment setting in order to maximize our DVD budget.  We will continue to build a collection of high quality DVDs and we welcome any suggestions you may have.

    Jennifer Nardine,
    Film Bibliographer
    Research & Instructional Services

  • February 16, 2012: Grilled cheese all the time! (library suggestion box)

    1) You should make more grilled cheese sandwiches during the night hours, maybe every other week or something. I thought the idea was great ! More than half the time I skip meals to study and it's helpful when food is right there, and motivating!

    2) I think you should bring back the free grilled cheese sandwiches. It was so convenient during finals but it would be even better to bring it back possibly during the weeks when most students have exams. A lot of times I end up skipping meals to study so it was so helpful when food and beverages were right there. By the way, I'm so happy that the library is opened 24/5!! I come here all the time! Great job!

    Dear Grillcheesers,
    The "Say Cheese in the library" event was a ton of fun for our staff volunteers and a great way to get to know students better! As a mom of 5 kids, three of which are in college, I know that meals are skipped during finals so thought this would be a good idea. I am so pleased to hear from people and appreciate you taking a moment to go on our website and give the feedback.  You and other students giving us feedback is exactly what led to getting a budget for grill cheese and coffee again! We will be cranking up the griddles on the first night of finals this spring and running it each night before finals.

    We made 1,649 last December! Keep your comments coming and encourage your friends to do the same.
    Therese Walters
    Event and Community Relations Coordinator
    University Libraries

  • February 24, 2012: Suggestions for Improving Spaces (library suggestion box)

    1. Please fix the blinds on the 4th floor, fourth from the right past the group study rooms.
    2.The heater under that window is very loud and distracting.
    3. Softer lights around the couches
    4. Less single desks and more tables.

    Thank you for your suggestions. You will be glad to know that the Library Administration is planning for a major reconfiguration of the second and fourth floors, that will include major renovations, as well increased group study and private study areas. Please bare with us, as we are just in the study phase of this project.

    Buddy Litchfield
    Va. Tech Libraries

  • Feburary 24, 2012: Group Study Rooms (library suggestion box)

    Have some time limit for the people who work in the Group Study rooms.

    Thank you for your suggestion, and we understand for frustration with not being able to use one of our four group study rooms when you need to. We do have a policy in place, posted on the walls by each room, that states that the rooms are for groups of 3 or more, and we will ask smaller groups to vacate, if a  group of 3 or more request to use the room. We also know from experience that if we set up some kind sign up sheet, that groups of 4 will each sign up for a block of time, and hog the room anyway. Plus we don't like the idea of ejecting a group from the rooms when they are not finished with what ever they are discussing. Our long term solution is to add more group study areas to the Library, which we hope to start working on in the very near future.

    Buddy Litchfield
    Va. Tech Libraries

  • February 29, 2012: Extend DVD checkouts (library suggestion box)

    Have a longer checkout time for DVDs. A week would be much better than 3 days. Thank you.

    While we would love to accommodate a longer loan period on DVD's, it is a highly used collection with a quick turn-around time of usage.  The shorter amount of time allows for more patrons to have access to the materials.

    Thank you for your feedback and continued patronage.
    Charla Lancaster
    Director, Assessment and Access Services

  • March 9, 2012: Book suggestion (library suggestion box)

    More Nabokov.

    Thank you for your suggestion, but you need to be more specific. We have about 10 to 15 authors in our collection with that last name. If you could tell us the full name of the author you are referring to, we could look into buying more of his titles for the Library. Better yet, if you have specific titles that you want us to purchase please use the book suggestion form to let us know what they are.

    Thank you for your suggestion.
    Buddy Litchfield
    Va. Tech Libraries

  • March 13, 2012: Book request (library suggestion box)

    Please procure more copies of the Virgin Suicides.

    Thank you for your suggestion. I have ordered another copy of the Virgin Suicides.

    Paul Metz
    Librarian for English Language and Literature.

  • March 15, 2012: Better sharpener (library suggestion box)

    Please get a better pencil sharpener at the 1st floor help desk.

    Thank you for your suggestion. I have asked that  that they upgrade the pencil sharpener at that desk.

    Buddy Litchfield
    Va. Tech Libraries

  • March 26, 2012: Off Campus SignIn problem (online comment box)

    I'm having trouble with the Off Campus Sign in.  It appears that the link is broken because I get directed to a page that says "oops that page cannot be found".  I am not sure if it's somehow my computer, but I wanted you to be aware of it so you can fix it if the problem is on your end.  Thank you.

    This is usually a sign that a firewall is blocking access to the "ports" used by Off Campus Sign In (OCSI). See our OCSI FAQ for details on diagnosing the problem.

    Note: Include your email address in future notes to ensure a prompt reply.

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • March 27, 2012: Problem accessing ebook (online comment box)

    The eBook link of the following book does not work. Name of the book: Aeronomy of the middle atmosphere: chemistry and physics of the stratosphere and mesosphere. 

    The entire EBSCO set of websites is offline right now. We are in contact with the company and expect their pages (and this ebook) to come back online soon.

    Don't hesitate to use Ask a Librarian (linked on every library web page) to report problems like this.

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • April 3, 2012: Cleanliness issue (online comment box)

    Could the library please be cleaned?  This place is becoming a dump!  With all the cups, takeout containers, and filthy floors, its now a disgusting place to study.

    Housekeeping in the Library falls under the responsibility of the VT Facilities Department.  We've met with the Director for Custodial Services, Mr. Wyatt Sasser, and we've met with the Director of Facilities Operations, Mr. Mark Helms, to discuss this unfortunate situation in the Library and we are still eagerly awaiting their response and solution.

    Dennis Herron
    Purchasing-Facility Manager
    University Libraries

  • April 4, 2012: Hours for Easter (online comment box)

    What are the hours for Newman Library for Easter Sunday or is it closed?

    We are open on Sunday morning at 9:00am.

    Charla Lancaster
    Director of Access Services and Assessment

  • April 17, 2012: Copying & scanning (library suggestion box)

    The copies should be cheaper and scanning free.

    Thank you so much for your comments concerning copies and scanning.  The library is currently below cost in comparison to other places on campus for printing.  We do try very hard to keep prices low.  Unfortunately, we must pay for equipment, personnel, and supplies in order to provide these services to you.  I am more than happy to speak with you about this or any other concerns you might have.  Thank you again for your feedback.

    Charla Lancaster
    Director of Assessment and Library Access Services

  • April 19, 2012: Web usability suggestions (online comment box)

    Hi, I have two usability suggestions for the Library website:
    1) Allow searching by abbreviated journal names (e.g., Accid. Anal. Prev.) and acronyms under the 'Journal' tab on the Library homepage. I have seen this option available on other library search engines (e.g., Cornell University's), and I find it far more useful than the 'title begins with' search option. Some paper's citations style is with abbreviated journal names, and it is also much faster to type an acronym you know already than to figure out exactly what the letters stand for (association of agricultural ...? american association of ...? agricultural association of ...? association of american ...?). As my tongue-in-cheek example illustrates, sometimes it's difficult to know what order the words in the title are, which is why the 'title begins with' search option is particularly tough. 'title equals' and 'title includes ALL words' (emphasis added) are both even harder.

    2) Provide option to download citation for an individual Addison entry in more than just EndNote format. I personally use BibTeX exclusively.

    1) The Journal Title Search box is run by a third party we contract with.  While well established journal title abbreviations like JAMA are searchable, each abbreviation would have to be added to a journal record, and while ISI/Web of Science has attempted to standardize journal abbreviations, there are several different organizations/publishers that determine what abbreviations should be used, resulting in multiple abbreviations need to be added for each journal.

    Actually, the search options can be used quite effectively. If you know the first words in your journal title, you don't have to enter the entire title in the Title Starts With example. If you are not sure of things like prepositions in the title, the Title Includes ALL Words option is great: just enter the main words in the title, and again, you don't have to enter every word. Title equal is great for short titles like Science or Time where you'll get irrelevant results with the other options.

    I will explore adding links to our abbreviation sources to this search box to make it easier to expand titles. You can also use Ask a Librarian for assistance in looking up a title by abbreviation--we have several sources for these in print at the reference desks.

    2) The Export to EndNote option in the External Links box on Addison screens is a service from WorldCat (they also offer export to RefWorks and EasyBib). Marking a record to add it to a list allows exporting to EndNote, Refworks, and Pro-Cite. I can look to see if BibTex offers a similar service that we can add to the catalog; let me know if you are aware of one. There are utilities to convert the RIS format used by EndNote and many other bibliographic manager software to the format used by BibTex (

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • April 20, 2012: Thank you for services (online comment box)

    This is an ordinary Hokie who has been thinking of writing to express my thanks to all your terrific work for a long time.

    Now it's the end of this semester and what you have done this semester is pretty impressive, courteous, and wonderful! I even guess you might have a new president or leader, if not, why are there this many perfect changes this semester?

    1. You decide to open the main library 24 hours from Sun. to Thur., which is pretty convenient for all those undergraduates and graduates. My friends from other universities said their libraries open 24 hours several years ago. Until the day you opened 24 hours did I realize how could this benefit us greatly.

    2. This semester more and more students walk into Newman to study, discuss, or search. Whenever possible, I saw you staff set new chairs and desks everywhere. That is really really nice and courteous. The sight is touching. Thank you all.

    3. When I left the library at around 2 a.m., I saw a patroit security and a library stuff talking at the circulation desk. I felt safe, comfortable, and home-like here in the library. If the staff is sleepy, I don't think it's necessary for them to stay here all night long coz we don't borrow books from 12:00 to 6:00 a.m. They deserve a perfect sleep and dream.

    At last, I can only say "Thank you so much"!

    We are so happy that you have been able to benefit from all the changes in the library.  We have indeed changed administration in the last year or so.  Tyler Walter became dean of the Newman Library in March of 2011.  Under his leadership the Newman Library has been able to move forward in many areas.  We are growing in areas of digital scholarship, new services, as well as creating collaborative opportunities across campus that also benefit the Virginia Tech community.  Please continue to provide us feedback on how we are doing.  We take comments very seriously and are working in an environment of continuous improvement.

    Charla Lancaster
    Director of Assessment and Library Access Services

  • May 9, 2012: Poor customer service (online comment box)

    I am an employee and I was interested in reserving a video for a staff training I am conducting.  I called the circulation desk because I have only done this once and the person I talked to was very rude and demanded to know what I wanted the video for.  This left me somewhat taken aback. He did not help me at all. So I remembered I knew someone in Binding and Preservation so I called the number listed in the VT DIRECTORY under her name and "Deborah" answered the phone and told me I was not to call this person on that line, she wanted to know who I was and what I wanted and I told her I was calling from another office and she HUNG UP ON ME!!!!  The video I wanted to borrow was on customer service! You might want to do a customer service training of your own.  I would fire any one of my staff who EVER talked to someone in the tone of voice in which these two people talked to me much less hung up on someone.  I hope all your staff isn't like this.

    I'm very sorry for the treatment you received, this is not what we in the library accept for customer service.  I will help you reserve the materials you need and will address the staff issue in my area.  I have also passed this note on to Leslie O'Brien, Director of Technical Services, so that the other part of the poor service you received can be addressed by her units as well. 

    Brenda Pratt
    Head of Circulation Services

  • May 14, 2012: Email response for form submissions (online comment box)

    Please program all the library request and response forms to send a copy to the email we entered on the form.  that will give us a record of the communication.

    I've never understood why this is so ignored by programmers who prepare these forms, or by the various offices who request that they be prepared.  If your software package can't do it, get another software package.  beyond the above, it seems a simple matter of courtesy.

    Thanks for your consideration!

    The reason I don't do that on our service forms is to stop them from sending spam. If the form sent an email to whatever address was typed in (in addition to the hard-coded address), then anyone could use the form to send an email to anyone using our servers, which would quickly result in them getting blocked by other ISPs or completely cut off from the network by CNS. That's pretty standard with online forms, unless the force you to log in before you can submit the form. Since most of our forms can also be used by our community patrons, there's no easy way to hide them behind some kind of authentication.

    I do try to present the submitted data on a result screen whenever possible so you can see what's getting emailed to us.

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, University Libraries

  • May 15, 2012: Yeah to grilled cheese and coffee! (online comment box)

    Loved the coffee and grilled cheese!  Brightened up my study session and gave me a burst of energy for the last chapter, please do it again!

    The grilled cheese was awesome. Please continue this service during exams. It made my evening.

    The library has expanded its services in such a positive way. I have been waiting on the expanded hours since my first year here. I hope to see things go 24/7 in the future. Also, the extra refreshments provided for free during finals are really great. Grilled cheese hits the spot when I am studying for finals.

    Thank you so much for your enthusiastic response to our expanded beverage and sandwich service during exams.  We are so happy that you enjoyed our free grilled cheese and coffee service.  While we've offered coffee in the past, we had such a positive response when we offered grilled cheese for fall term finals that we wanted to offer this again (and make sure you guys were able to get something to eat!).  I'd also like to thank all of our volunteers who also helped make this service such a wonderful success again - I can't do this alone!

    Therese Walters
    Va. Tech Libraries

  • May 15, 2012: Healthier choices for free food (online comment box)

    Thank you for providing refreshments. That said, I have a few comments:

    - Selection of Greenberry's coffee was great.

    - Many prefer their coffee and tea iced at this time of year. The addition of available cups of ice would have been welcome and inexpensive to offer.

    - Healthy eating contributes to a sound and ready mind, ever so critical during final exams. I did not partake in either the popcorn or grilled cheese as both were nutritionally deficient, although I wanted a snack. I suggest offering the grilled cheese on quality wheat bread, with real cheddar or jack cheese (not highly processed American cheese), and without Country Crock margarine (real butter instead) in order to offer a better meal. I think the library should have also offered sliced fruit and nuts for those looking for a healthier snack. The cost would be higher, but it would be worth it (and more than paid for by our tuition!).

    Thank you for your comments, but please note that your tuition does not provide any funding for the free refreshments the library provides.  Rather we rely on the volunteering of library employees to staff this service, donations by Greenberry's, and a lot of shopping at the Dollar Tree store for cups and the fixings for the grilled cheese sandwiches.  Up until last fall, we only offered hot coffee and tea, grilled cheese was introduced for the first time during the fall 2011 exams, and as there was such enthusiasm for it, Therese Walters (Marketing and Events Coordinator) wanted to offer it again.  However, there is no actual budget to pay for this, so we've relied on Therese to pull funds where she can to supply the above items.  So while it may not seem to be a lot to add the foods (or ice) you suggest, when you go through as many coffee cups and grilled cheese as we did, it adds up very quickly. 

    Kiri Goldbeck DeBose
    University Libraries 

  • June 7, 2012: Donation question (online comment box)

    Are you accepting donations of university and graduate level text books.  If not are you aware of anyone who is in need of these? 

    Send Ed Lener ( a list of titles/editions and he can check if they are something we can use in our collection. We do collect some upper level textbooks.
    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries


    We are just in the beginning stages of offering more textbooks on reserve for classes for the fall semester.  We would be happy to accept your donation and appreciate your support of the library.  Any information you can provide on the courses associated with the items would be useful.  Please see Brenda Pratt at the circulation desk to drop off the materials.  Thank you very much for your donation.

    Charla Lancaster
    Director of Assessment and Library Access Services

  • August 7, 2012: Limiting by book format (online comment box)

    When searching for books it would be nice if we could specify whether we want to search for (a) e-books only (b) actual bound books only (c) both.

    You can, in both Addison and Summon.

    In Addison, use the advanced search screen. In the Material Type menu, you can choose to limit to either books or ebooks, or control/command click to choose both.

    In Summon, after an initial search, use the Content Type facet to limit to both books and ebooks. Further adding either the Items With Full Text Online under the Refine Your Search facet would then show just ebooks. Adding instead one or m,ore physical libraries under the Library Location facet will show just print books.

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • August 15, 2012: Obit search (online comment box)

    Hello, I am looking for an obit for Lucinda Jane Lucas who died January 16, 1926 in Christiansburg, Montgomery County, Virginia.  Please let me know if you can be of assistance.

    Our copy of the Montgomery Messenger, which would include obituaries, is currently missing all of 1926.  They do have an office in Christiansburg, (note they are now called The News Messenger):
    302 W. Main Street, Suite B, Christiansburg, VA 24073

    They may have 1926 in their archives.  We also have the Roanoke Times for that time period in our microfilm collection that you could come use.  If you are not in the Blacksburg area, you could request this through your local Interlibrary Loan office.  Since you know the month/day when this person passed away, they should be able to find it by searching the week or so after that date.

    Hope this helps.
    Kiri DeBose
    College Librarian 

  • September 3, 2012: Broken link (online comment box)

    There is a link on your site for Master Building list, which points to  This link has been non-operational for months.  I am trying to access building floor plans.  I was able to do so in the past but can't seem to find that information or a working link any more.  Can you help or find out why the link does not work?

    Sorry, I do need to delete that link.  as you now know, the campus building floor plans has been taken down for various reasons, I was told that they are currently working on a new revamped page.  In the meantime you can contact:

    Jason Shelton
    GIS Manager
    FS - Facilities Operatn. Engin'g. (0547)     126-A Grounds Building
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
    United States     E-mail:
    Work: (540) 231-6854

    Jason can assist you in acquiring the floor plans you need.

    Ed Brooks
    Library GIS specialist

  • September 12, 2012: Complaint (online comment box)

    A comment has been issued concerning a frustrating employee/patron interaction.  This comment will not be posted due to the privacy and protection of both the employee and the patron.  We take all comments seriously and this has been addressed internally.  We appreciate your feedback concerning all library issues.

  • October 1, 2012: Torg bridge locked at odd hour (online comment box)

    Unfortunately Torg Bridge is completely locked up today (at about 1:15pm). I realize this isn't the library's problem, but when I asked the Newman Staff on why it was locked they told me to leave a comment here. Basically no one knows why both entrances of Torg bridge are locked. A few of the office lamps are even on.  This is my absolute favorite place to study, much quieter than the library.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  I have scheduled a meeting with the Facility Manager for Torgersen Hall to address this issue.

    Dennis Herron
    Purchasing-Facility Manager
    University Libraries

  • October 2, 2012: Smoking areas outside 1st floor entrance (library comment box)

    In the first floor lounge area where Greenberry's was formerly located, the door is often left open. I find this convenient and pleasant most of the time, however, I noticed today that several people stopped by the tables near this door to smoke. The cigarette smoke was able to travel into the lounge area near the open door and was bothering me. Perhaps signs about not smoking so close to the building could be posted.

    Thank you for your comment and observation.  I will have Facilities post "No Smoking" signage by both doors and on any tables within 25 feet of a door.

    Dennis Herron
    Purchasing-Facility Manager
    University Libraries

  • October 6, 2012: Reading library barcodes (library suggestion box)

    Would like to use my Smartphone to read the Library's barcodes

    It's not clear exactly which barcodes you are referring to:

    If you mean the QR codes we use for the self-guided tours, there are several possible apps you could install that would translate the codes into their corresponding URLs and load those pages. (These barcode readers often can also decode ISBN barcodes that can be found on some of our materials. Exactly where they direct your device would depend on the configuration of the app.)

    If you mean the barcodes on books and other items in the library's collection, that's more difficult. You would need to pass the barcode number to Addison like this: like this That would let you see the corresponding bibliographic record, which could help you determine if an item you are browsing in the stacks is useful for your needs. We currently don't have the staffing for app development, but it could be a great project for a student.

  • October 9, 2012: Recent changes in custodial service (online comment box)

    Good morning, I want to make two comments about the recent changes in custodial support services in the library.  The first is that the cleanliness of restrooms has declined in recent weeks, including the lack of hand towels on most days.  The second is that the new custodial staff are often relatively loud on quiet floors - for instance, one of the staff plays video games or uses some other program/device with loud sound in the E7 custodial office right next to the study desks.  I hope the feedback is helpful.

    I have forwarded your comment to the manager of the new custodial service staff, letting him know the E7 closet mentioned is on the 5th floor, within several feet of a row of study carols, it is on one of our quiet floors.  I asked that he request his staff to limit gaming during breaks to one of our noisy floors, either 1st, 2nd, or 4th and even on those floors to please turn down the volume on their gaming devices out of consideration for the students in our building at night.  His response is as follows:

    "None of our employees should be gaming in any area of the library. I will find out who is using this closet and make sure they receive a verbal reprimand for their actions."

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
    Dennis Herron
    Purchasing-Facility Manager
    University Libraries

  • October 31, 2012: Usabilitiy studies (online comment box)

    Hello, I am the usability director [for another library]. I'm conducting a study focused on the terms academic libraries use on Web sites to describe services. I'm particularly interested in the terms used to describe Interlibrary Loan services. Do you know if your Web site has undergone any usability assessments recently?

    Any insight you could provide is very helpful.  Thank you for your time.

    We did several usability studies when we implemented our content management system, plus we follow feedback through surveys like LibQual and from library departments.

    We specifically looked at de-emphasizing the term "ILLiad" since the web team considered it library jargon. But all the feedback we received on that potential change was negative; ILLiad is a better known term among our users (especially distance users) than "interlibrary loan." So we use both on the home page and make sure both terms appear on all ILL pages for searchability.

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • November 12, 2012: Screensavers on public computers (online comment box)

    I use the computers in the library a lot and it would be great if the idle screen time was increased. Right now when the computer is idle for like 15seconds, it turns to the screensaver. A lot of the times I will be reading a powerpoint slide and it'll keep going to the screensaver. If you can change the time to like 1 minute before a screesaver, it'll be a lot less annoying.

    Thank you for the consideration.

    Hi, The screensaver timeout should be set at 1min. We have not made any changes to the public workstations because we are in transition with turning management over to Computer-Integrated Learning Spaces. The department that currently manages most of the campus labs. You will have better access to campus software and a lot more flexibility when using public workstations, once this transition is complete.

    Thank you,
    Curtis Carr
    Department Head, Information Technologies & Services 

  • November 26, 2012: Broken link (online comment box)

    The link to: Bibliography on Evaluating Web Information Search Engine Watch, in the second line of the home page, appears to be broken.

    This link has been updated (along with the statistic).

    Robert Sebek
    Webmaster, Virginia Tech Libraries

  • December 14, 2012: Exam snacks

    - The free hot chocolate, grilled cheese, and cookies are awesome!  Keep it up

    - The grilled cheese and coffee study break was absolutely fantastic! It was exactly what my friends and I needed while studying for finals. I would be completely ecstatic to see this happen again!

    - Thank you SO much for the awesome grilled cheese and free coffee/tea/hot chocolate.  The guy serving the grilled cheese sandwiches was also super nice and awesome.  Also, the cute puppies that we could pet were such a perfect touch, made studying for finals so much easier! Thank you!

    -  I have two finals tomorrow.  I almost lost hope and all energy, but when I saw the bright faces of the most generous individuals offering Hot Drinks and Grilled Cheese I immediately became energetic and empowered to continue studying!


    - Free coffee and grilled cheese at the library at night for finals has to be one of the greatest surprises of my college experience thus far. Here I am, walking into the library at 11:00pm dreading the cumbersome projects and tests that lie ahead the next day only to be pleasantly surprised with free coffee and grilled cheese to keep my spirits up as I plow through all of this material. I feel like my grades will be significantly improved on these tests not only for the coffee to keep me alert and studying, but even just the confidence of having a good meal and being well prepared. I can't thank you all enough for putting this together, this is awesome!

    - I love that you all provide grilled cheese and coffee/hot cocoa during exam week. It really helps having a pick me up while studying. It makes it a lot easier being able to go right downstairs to grab a bite to eat and saves a lot of time so that I have more time to study for exams. Thanks a ton! I wish it lasted past 12 like when I really need the coffee :)

    Thank you for your great comments and good luck on exams!

    Robert Sebek
    Library Marketing Support team

  • December 18, 2012: Graduate study lounge problems (online comment box)

    Hello, I have a comment about the graduate reading room. First of all - thank you! It is an excellent resource. However, there is a slight problem with the way in which some students here use it, and I thought it might be helpful to put a policy in place, or post signs or something...

    Anyway, my classmate and I walked in to try to find a place to work. We ended up at the chairs, which is okay except for the fact that the desktop on mine is broken. We were really hoping to set up at one of the tables, but they're all taken. In and of itself, that would not be a problem; however, two of the tables (and two of the study corrals) have someone's stuff thrown all over it, but they're not here. We've now been here for 45 minutes with no sight of either person. It seems like a lot of people are setting up their stuff and then going and doing other things. This seems to defeat the purpose of a room that is meant for ALL grad students - not just one or two.

    So, is there a way we could put up signs about this, or have some sort of policy? Are we permitted to move people's things if they're gone for too long? I mean, this really is ridiculous(and inconsiderate of these individuals). I realize that your power to regulate other people's behavior is limited, but some sort of policy might help. Thanks.

    Thank you for your feedback regarding usage of the Graduate Study Lounge. As of now we do not have a strictly enforced policy on  items left unattended at tables and other work spaces within the lounge. However, there is an expectation that students would observe the overall library guidelines of not leaving unattended items at workspaces in the library, especially for purposes of trying to hold on to a space from other users. Starting in the spring of 2013, we will look into posting signage in the Graduate Study Lounge to advise students of the guidelines and appropriate use of the space.

    Please continue to provide us your feedback so that we can endeavor to meet your needs and provide a supportive environment for your study and research.

    Best regards,
    Lesley Moyo
    Director of Research & Instructional Services

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