104 · Survey Results: Survey Questions And Responses
replaced. We are fortunate to have a 75% dedicated exhibits coordinator, but she is also serving reference service shifts
and managing our small artifact collections.
I think that generally, the whole area of exhibits and exhibit- or collection-specific Web sites should be emphasized in
your analysis. These are important outreach tools, both locally and nationally/internationally.
In this questionnaire, we have responded (on advice of staff) only in the context of activities in the core Special
Collections &University Archives Department. Some similar activities, not reported here, are also undertaken by the
Iowa Women’s Archive, the John Martin History of Medicine Collection, a collection of rare scores and books in the
Music Library, and in other departmental libraries. In light of the decentralization of many of these activities, relevant
activities at Iowa are probably, in a sense, under-reported.
Most of our outreach efforts are external to the University, particularly exhibits and events. Outreach on campus has a
very different flavor, and is focused on curricular activities for the most part.
Outreach and engagement are a major emphasis in the Library’s current 5-year strategic initiatives, and a major
emphasis of current Special Collections and library leadership this is a new emphasis within the last two years. Some
Special Collections staff have observed privately that they have noticed a dramatic increase in these activities, especially
over the way things were 5 or 10 or so years ago, and in expectations to perform them, with little corresponding
increase in staffing or release from other duties. It would be extremely useful if this survey would correlate the number
and level of staff, and size of collections, among respondents, in order to maximize this survey’s utility as an advocacy
tool with Administrations as we seek additional support and staffing for outreach and engagement activities. It would
be very helpful to know how many institutions have dedicated outreach specialists, and how those positions function.
Outreach is not just about amplifying use of collections. Archives have a critical role to play in connecting a wide range
of people and perspectives in our communities.
Please note the responses to this survey reflect activities at the Divinity School Library, not the entire University library
system. Some of our activities are particular to the Divinity School community and some are in conjunction with special
collections University-wide.
SIL has an active Resident Scholar Program that provides a stipend for researchers to use our special collections in their
research. Successful applicants have come from the US and Canada, as well as some foreign countries.
The AD for Planning &Assessment, who completed the survey, was previously head of Special Collections and
University Archives. She has responsibility for fund raising for special collections and is one of the most experienced
event planners in the library. For this reason she is usually the lead planner on events that special collections hosts or is
partner on.
The biggest challenge is to balance the labour required to process and describe incoming donations in an accurate
manner, and the need to promote all the exciting material we’re acquiring. CTASC staff are also taking the time to
establish standards of digitization and hosting so that once we create a digital surrogate, it can be hosted in a trusted
repository with a permanent link that will allow for future research use. Ultimately, this will result in a more useful,
academic resource of materials that can be re-purposed by staff and used in a myriad of ways by our users. We are
developing an exhibit component that will allow commenting and crowd sourcing to enhance our metadata and
generate new content and context for our holdings.
The commitment to service here is very high, and our interest in serving ALL university communities (students, faculty,
staff, library donors and supporters, and citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond) is great. The
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