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Dean of University Libraries to leave for new job

January 23, 2015 News

Over the past several years, the University’s libraries have undergone a number of changes including the renovation of the third floor of Waterfield Library and the addition of new available technology such as iPads and dual monitor computers to the library system.

At the end of this semester the library will be subjected to another change: the stepping down of the dean of the university libraries, the man responsible for many of these changes made to the libraries in the past five years.

 Adam Murray, dean of University Libraries, formally submitted his letter of resignation shortly after the spring semester began and announced he will accept the position of dean of Libraries and Educational Technology at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

Murray said the position at James Madison was enticing to him for a number of reasons including the university’s similarity in size and demographic to Murray State, but also in its strategic plans for the future, which are focused on engagement.



“Really that word ‘engagement’ has been at the heart of what I’m trying to do here,” he said. “Look at the ways people engage with each other, with information, with their learning experiences, with their research and taking that out of the formal classroom.”

He said the fact that James Madison had “engagement” as its core concept, which was going to define it for the next 10 years, was exciting for him.

“All the check boxes of what I’m looking for in a potential position lined up,” Murray said. “It just seemed like the perfect next step for my career.”

Murray, who was appointed as interim dean in 2007, will serve as dean until June 30.

A search committee has been formed and tasked with naming Murray’s successor in six months. The committee, headed by Bob Pervine, associate provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, submitted the  job advertisement to Human Resources this week.

Administration hopes to have it posted online and in academic journals by Feb. 1.

Pervine said the committee is looking for someone with experience in an academic library setting, with fundraising and who has a vision of what a 21st century library should be like. He said they prefer candidates who also have experience with library renovations or the construction of a new library.

“We need to  do something with our current (library) facilities,” he said. “I think that’s something everyone realizes and that’s something that will be on the horizon and with which our next library dean will certainly be involved with in some way.”

With funding for Murray State’s new Engineering and Physics Building secured via state funding, Pervine said Murray State will be re-prioritizing its capital.

Plans for major renovations to Waterfield Library or the construction of a new facility have both been on the table as possible future projects for several years, he said.

After Spring Break the search committee hopes to have narrowed down its list of possible candidates to three or four finalists.

Murray said the most important things for the next dean to be are collaborative and innovative.

“A lot of people still hear the word ‘library’ and they have the traditional notion of a dusty warehouse with dusty books,” he said.

Murray said he hopes his lasting legacy at Murray State is that he’s helped people understand that libraries aren’t just about warehousing books, but places which can meet people’s needs in a variety of fashions.

“While books are part of what we do, that’s not all of it,” Murray said. It’s important they make sure they keep that in mind and continue to expand the services and meet the demand and evolving need of the different constituencies.”

Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer

Library store meets students’ needs

February 7, 2014 News

Stocked full with various snacks and drinks, Waterfield Library’s Starbooks has been a popular pit stop for students to go any time of the day when in need of a snack.

The busy store provides students with a wide selection of choices including candy bars, coffee, sodas, pastries and two soups that change daily. While there are other on-campus dining options such as Winslow Cafeteria, the Throughbred Room and the Business Express, Starbooks is centrally located on campus.

While the store has recently removed Jasmine Thai and Sushi Bar, its popularity hasn’t wavered and looks to continue to serve students.

Sophomore Taylor Fischer from St. Louis, Mo. said she believes the store is popular among students because of its easily accessible location.

“I think it’s been so busy because it’s so convenient,” Fischer said. “If you’re in a hurry or if a class gets out and you have a few minutes to spare before your next one, it’s the perfect place to go and grab a quick snack before heading on your way.”

Fischer, who prefers to satisfy her between class cravings with Baked Lays and a 7UP, said the store has many options that attract students.

However, she said the only thing the store could work on is to stock items more often with such a large amount of customers going in and out.

“Sometimes it seems like they don’t restock their items as often as they should,” Fischer said. “I’ve been there before when a whole stack of shelves were practically empty. Other than that I think their service and options are great.”

She said she knows the workers are busy, but with so many students wanting jobs, maybe they could hire a few more people.

Options, which include the popular items coffee, soda, water, energy drinks and the soups, are things the student workers at Starbooks try to keep constantly stocked for the busy rush hours.

Fischer said the busiest time for Starbooks is in the morning and around Noon.

“Whenever it gets super busy, we try to make sure that there are two registers open, but sometimes even that doesn’t help,” she said. “We try to keep an eye on coffee levels, too. We mostly try to balance keeping the registers going and keeping things stocked.”


Story by Mary Bradley, Staff writer

Library app encourages tablet studying

January 24, 2014 News

There is a new way to study being introduced by Murray State Libraries that could make students educational experience more efficient and enjoyable.

BrowZine is an information organizing application downloadable to iPads and Android Tablets.

BrowZine was created in response to this generation’s students and the way they seem to prefer to consume information in this day and age.

BrowZine takes into consideration the contemporary student’s needs, not the needs of the traditional learning platform that bore many students today.

Instead of having to sift through large amounts of old information, the BrowZine application can send alerts when editions of journals are published.

Murray State students can use this application to browse the libraries’ vast storage of information from anywhere on campus or from home.

Students can also personalize their Newsstand application and see only information that is relevant to their area of study.

All that is required is their Murray State network login information.

Universities such as Brown, Colorado State and Dartmouth have already begun utilizing BrowZine.

Adam Murray, associate professor and dean of Murray State Libraries, said Murray State Libraries chose to sponsor BrowZine because it would meet the needs of the campus community they serve.

“The University Libraries’ Research and Instruction Librarians can help set up very tailored profiles for faculty and students wishing to use BrowZine,” Murray said. “That will alert library users when there are new articles or publications relevant to them.”

Murray said the University Libraries take their role as prime academic support centers seriously.

Now that technology is changing the lifestyles of the people in the campus community, so must the way the libraries seek to help students and faculty.

“I think the way our entire society consumes information has changed radically,” sid Murray. “Smartphones, tablets and the development of apps available for these devices have helped change our expectation of how we interact with information.

“We strive to provide services that are easy to use and that fit seamlessly within the hectic lives of Murray State students and faculty.”


Story by Alex McLaughlin, Staff writer


November 15, 2013 News, Slider Featured stories
Photo illustration by Kate Russell and Evan Watson/The News Ahmad Alanezi, freshman from Saudi Arabia, checks out a laptop at Waterfield Library.

Photo illustration by Kate Russell and Evan Watson/The News
Ahmad Alanezi, freshman from Saudi Arabia, checks out a laptop at Waterfield Library.

Waterfield Library has experienced record-breaking numbers of visitors this year and as a result, resources such as laptops have been limited to students.

Adam Murray, dean of University Libraries, said the demand of laptops and desktops stays high.

He said laptops are checked out 25,000-30,000 times each academic year and are one of the library’s most used resources.

Waterfield has 60 desktops computers available and 50-60 laptops for students to check out. Laptops can be checked out for a two-hour duration period.

Murray said the desktops in the library are usually all occupied, but due to limited space and the electrical infrastructure of the building, it is unlikely more will be added.

The electrical system for Waterfield has not been updated since 1978.

Murray said there was an issue with the University’s network this semester, so many laptops were out of use for a period of time.

“There were complaints a few weeks ago about not having enough laptops available, but the laptops would not have worked,” Murray said. “The issue was out of our control.”

Murray said laptops are sometimes out due to repair from the heavy use which they receive.

Sara Holmes, senior from St. Charles, Mo., said she sometimes experiences difficulty checking out a laptop and has had issues with the laptops being slow.

“It has been somewhat of an inconvenience at times,” Holmes said. “It would be nicer if the laptops and network were faster.”

Garrett Wheatley, help desk and user services manager, said the new wireless network was implemented over the summer.

“The new networks were created in order to improve security,” Wheatley said. “This helps to keep other nearby from snooping on what (students) are doing online.”

Wheatley said students needing assistance with the new network can check out the support site at http://support.murraystate.edu or call the help desk at 809-2346.

Murray said the laptops are replaced on a fairly regular cycle and a segment of laptops will be replaced this year.

He said the library hopes to add more laptops since they are such a high use item.

To help out with the high usage of computers in Waterfield, the library also offers resources such as iPads to students to check out.

Murray said the library is also experimenting with chrome books this semester for students who do not need printing capabilities.

Chrome books are devices which can be connected to the Internet and support applications through the Web, as opposed to other devices which support applications through the machine itself.

The library has 20 iPads and five chrome books available for students to check out at the information desk.

Taylor Bell, senior from Litchfield, Ky., said the library has done a good job providing the resources she needs for her academic success.

“The library has always provided me with the resources I have needed for my assignments,” Bell said.

Bell said resources such as laptop computers have been a valuable tool for her when studying and completing projects.

The average number of visitors to the library each day is more than 4,000 people, and the highest number has been 4,300 in a single day.

Murray said it is important for students to have resources such as computers at the library so they can complete assignments.

Said Murray: “Anything (students) are required to do anymore requires a computer, so it is important for the library to have these resources available.”


Story by Rebecca Walter, Staff writer

Library ends 24-hour week

November 1, 2013 News

For the last four years, students have camped out in Waterfield Library for all-night study sessions during finals week. This year, the all-nighters in the library end at 3 a.m.

While dealing with campus-wide budget cuts, the University library is shutting its doors from 3 to 7 a.m. during finals week. These hours are saving the University almost $6,000.

The full 24-hour service for two weeks costs around $3,000 per semester, while the extended hours schedule only cost $500, which the University Libraries will pay in full.

The Student Government Association developed a proposal to extend the library hours from 12:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. The money to operate during the extended hours is coming from University Libraries.

Several proposals were made to find an option that satisfied students and the budget task force. One option was to defer the cost of keeping the library open to the Campus Activities Board, another was to allow for extended hours.

Dean of University Libraries Adam Murray said he has data showing around 3 a.m., the number of students using Waterfield decreases greatly.

“We found that there were less than 100 students utilizing the library between the hours of 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.,” Murray said.

Jessica Jacobs, junior from Brookport, Ill., said the library hours being cutback will affect her studying because she said she feels more confident by reviewing the material prior to the exam; all-nighters work well for her.

“Although ideally it’s nice to have sleep, I always feel more confident if I review information until right before the exam,” Jacobs said. “This will affect my studying in the fact that I’m still going to feel the need to pull all-nighters. However, instead of being in my study zone, I will have to interrupt my focus to move to another location.”

Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, said studies show students who get sleep before an exam perform better than students who cram all night, so he is hoping the extended hours will encourage students to get some sleep instead of staying in the library all night.

Jeremiah Johnson, SGA president, said the Senate passed the proposal to extend library hours so students would have some form of extended hours during finals.

“We do understand it might not benefit every student, but it’s a start and it is way better than not having extended hours at all,” Johnson said. “I strongly encourage students to use the library during finals, because with declining use in that early morning timeframe, it will be hard for future SGAs to lobby the administration to keep the building open for extended hours.”

Julia Hilkey, SGA vice president and president of CAB, said if they were to keep Waterfield Library open for 24 hours during dead week and finals week, it would cost $6,000 of CABs budget.

“Those are dollars that come from students’ activities fees,” Hilkey said. “We didn’t think that it was right to use all of our students’ money to service less than 10 percent of our student body.”

Hilkey said Lee Clark Residential College will open its study lounges and the Curris Center open during those hours to convenience those students who would be in the library.

“Students seem to care very little,” Hilkey said. “We have a few irate senators, but for the most part, I think the students realize they can find other places to study.”

Finals week begins Dec. 9 and ends Dec. 13. Extended library hours will also take place the week before finals.


Story by Meghann Anderson, News Editor

Student engagement needed on library expansion proposals

September 25, 2013 Opinion, Slider Featured stories
Evan Watson/The News

Evan Watson/The News

If you were a student during the Spring 2012 semester, you might remember a certain controversy on campus involving plans by the University to construct a new library. Some of you may even remember visiting Waterfield Library and noticing fancy charts in the lobby about what the proposed library was going to look like, why it was going to be built and when we could expect to see it on campus.

Things looked to be going smoothly until it was announced that students would be paying a $90 fee in order to facilitate the construction of the $69 million project.

Several angry editorials (which you can still read at TheNews.org) and a groundswell of opposition from students to the proposed library later, the Board of Regents ultimately decided to put a hold on the project. Now, a year and a half later, the Board of Regents will revisit the thorny issue of library expansion on campus at its Dec. 5 meeting.

The good news? Building a brand new library from scratch and charging students to do it is out. One of the proposals the board will consider is the addition of an annex to Waterfield Library, which would connect to the library and be built where Woods Hall now stands.

This proposal is estimated at $19 million, though the board will also consider an additional $2-3 million to revamp Waterfield Library, which has not undergone major renovations since 1978, when it became a library, it had previously been used as a student center not unlike the Curris Center today.

There are no proposals to charge students a fee to renovate Waterfield or add an annex, which the University considers a long-term fix to the problem of Waterfield’s decaying, outmoded infrastructure.

We want to voice our cautious support for this endeavor.

If the problems at the library are bad enough to warrant such major renovations, and if students aren’t going to be the ones bearing the brunt of costs associated with this project, we have few problems acting as an advocate for the revamping and expansion of Waterfield Library.

We’ve all been in Waterfield at least once at our time here at Murray State (or at least, we hope so!) and we all know what it’s like between classes.

The computers are almost always full, many a time during finals week there won’t be enough laptops to check out or a table for quiet study. What’s $19 million if it means constant access to computers in the library, open tables and laptops always available for checkout? This one’s a no-brainer. We need more space at Waterfield Library – for students, for books and for computers alike.

We are, however, cautious in expressing our support for this project. Are we to expect the University to keep to a commitment not to charge students to fund the library expansion project?

We need to see some numbers before we’re ready to fully commit to supporting this project. How is the University going to pay for library expansion if not by asking the students? Will an invisible fee be added to parking permits or tuition? Will the University dip into its carry-forward funds to pay for this project?

Again, we understand the reasons for expansion and would like to see it – but not without first seeing how it’s going to be paid for and a guarantee that it won’t be done on the backs of students.

As always, students must keep one eye focused on their studies and the other focused on the goings-on at Murray State and just what the folks on the Board of Regents and in the President’s Office are up to.

Academics isn’t everything – to be a well-rounded student, a well-rounded person, one must pay attention to the powers that be and hold them accountable when necessary.

We have to stay engaged and give our representatives the necessary feedback on these and other projects that may effect students, for them to make the right decisions. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that if this is done, it is done right.

Changes to library include new annex

September 25, 2013 News

The Board of Regents will meet Dec. 5 to further discuss renovations and projects for University libraries.

Interim President Tim Miller said one possibility the board will discuss is the addition of an annex to Waterfield Library, which is a less expensive project than the new library proposal previously rejected by the Board of Regents.

“The board is looking at plans for the University libraries again because there are certain things that need to be changed and improved,” Miller said.

He said one possibility includes tearing down Woods Hall to build the new annex, which would be connected to Waterfield.

The proposal also includes plans to do several renovations to the existing building.

Renovations include a new heating and air system, new electrical system and improved handicapped-accessible bathrooms, which are currently located on the third floor of the library.

Miller said renovations to Waterfield are projected to cost between $2-3 million, with $19 million for the addition of the annex, which is considered a long-term project for the University.

He said the University does not want students to have to pay a fee for these renovations and additions, a topic which will be discussed at the Board of Regents meeting.

The proposal for a new library was put on hold by the Board of Regents in March 2012 due in part to the increased fees students would have to pay for the $69 million project.

Students would have seen a $90 initial fee increase if the proposal had passed.

Plans for the new library included study rooms, a computer lab with more than 100 work stations and a dining area for students. Waterfield would have been turned into a student services center.

Waterfield was originally intended to be a student center, similar to the Curris Center, when it was built in the 1950s.

The building was turned into a library in 1978, and has seen few changes to the building’s infrastructure since that time.

Adam Murray, dean of University Libraries, said Waterfield experiences issues with structural support, electrical system problems and issues with handicapped-accessible bathrooms for students.

“When Waterfield was turned into a library, it was never meant to house such a large amount of books or the largest computer lab on campus,” Murray said. “Also, it was not designed with an electrical system to support the heavy usage of computers, laptops and other electrical devices students have.”

The electrical system for Waterfield has not been updated since the library was renovated in 1978.

Murray also said the library was not designed to handle the heavy amount of student traffic Waterfield sees on a daily basis.

He said University Libraries continue to see an increase in the number of students using library services each year.

So far this semester, Waterfield has seen an average of 4,000 students per day.

Sept. 17 set a record for the number of students using the library in a single day with 4,300 students.

Hannah Bradley, junior from San Antonio, Texas, said she uses University Libraries at least once a week and would like to see more resources available to students.

“Although the library has not failed me yet, I think students could benefit from more resources,” Bradley said.

Murray said University Libraries should be a place where students can connect with each other and faculty members while improving their academic careers.

Said Murray: “Students should have a place where they can come to for help, stay connected, feel comfortable and succeed.”


Story by Rebecca Walter, Staff Writer

Bolin: Books will always remain, great libraries will always house them

September 25, 2013 Opinions Columns

Libraries without books? Not a chance. As much as technocrats prophesize the coming demise of the book, it will never happen.

My friend, Terry Birdwhistell, the Dean of Libraries at the University of Kentucky, echoed that very sentiment last summer at the University of Kentucky Friends of the Library Dinner.

Library deans will come and go, but the book will always remain, and great libraries will always find space to house them. Perhaps no one knew more about books and the housing of them than William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), the author of a book – well, it is really a tract, only 29 pages long – titled “On Books and the Housing of Them.”

Anne Fadiman, a fellow writer, found a copy of Gladstone’s book in a secondhand bookshop, and at first it didn’t dawn on her that the author was that Gladstone, but, as Fadiman put it, “It was that Gladstone: four times British Prime Minister, grand old man of the Liberal Party, scholar, financier, theologian, orator, humanitarian and thorn in the side of Benjamin Disraeli, who, when asked to define the difference between a misfortune and a calamity, replied, “‘If Mr. Gladstone were to fall into the Thames, it would be a misfortune. But if someone dragged him out again, it would be a calamity.’”

Fadiman knew that Gladstone’s little book is a jewel with many facets and “if you wish to understand the character of both W. E. Gladstone and Victorian England, everything you need to know is contained within the small compass of “On Books and the Housing of Them.”

Gladstone deals with the old problem of “too many books, too little space,” a problem certainly existing in the Bolin household, and apparently a problem at Murray State’s Waterfield Library as well, but more on that later.

Gladstone argued that this problem might be solved by some sort of sophisticated shelving system, a system that might “prevent the population of Great Britain from being extruded some centuries hence into the surrounding waters by the exorbitant dimensions of their own libraries.”

In a “note” at the beginning of the book, the publisher wrote that “it is well to remember concerning “Books and the Housing of Them” that the books themselves should be worthy the care the owner bestows on them.”

After the books have been meticulously selected, and after thousands of books have been deemed so meritorious that one just has to own them, what then?

Gladstone suggested an elaborate shelving system around the walls of a room. Shelves would be built along the walls, but every few feet, shelves would also be built projecting at right angles into the room.

I wish I could draw you a diagram, but I will just have to let Gladstone describe it for you.

He calculated that a library room 20 by 40 feet, with projecting bookcases three feet long, 12 inches deep and nine feet high, “so that the upper shelf can be reached by the aid of a wooden stool of two steps not more than 20 inches high,” would accommodate between 18 and 20 thousand volumes.

In addition to his idea of shelves projecting into a room, Gladstone also designed a system of rolling shelves, a system that is used today in the Radcliffe Camera room of Oxford’s Bodleian Library and at “The New York Times Book Review.” I suppose Gladstone’s system is the basis of the plan used as well in the basement stacks at Waterfield Library.

Fadiman has seen a photograph of Gladstone sitting in his own library at Hawarden Castle, a room that he called the Temple of Peace. As Fadiman describes it, “He sits in a wooden armchair, surrounded by leather-bound volumes on shelves that are, of course, constructed according to the principles set forth in “On Books and the Housing of Them.’”

Gladstone spent many a happy hour in his Temple of Peace, reading books of course, but also caring for them.

“The book must of necessity be put into a bookcase,” he wrote. “And the bookcase must be housed. And the house must be kept. And the library must be dusted, must be arranged, must be catalogued. What a vista of toil, yet not unhappy toil.”

When I retire from Murray State’s department of history, I will be faced with the task of moving all of those history books from my sixth floor Faculty Hall office to our home.

Perhaps I will build shelves, or rather have them built, and fashion a room according to Gladstone’s plan.

And perhaps with Evelyn I can while away the days of my retirement in just such a room, reading, writing and caring for books.


Column by Duane Bolin, Professor of history

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