Public Services Committee Meeting: August 23, 2021

Zoom / Conference Call

Members attending: Caitlin Archer-Helke (Saint Xavier University), Jessica Bastian (Illinois Central College), Krista Bowers Sharpe (Western Illinois University), Chad Kahl, co-chair (Illinois State University), Cynthia Kremer, co-chair (Joliet Junior College), Ashley McMullin (DePaul University), Nestor Osorio, (Northern Illinois University), Arlie Sims (Columbia College Chicago), Lesley Wolfgang (Saint John's College of Nursing)

CARLI Staff attending: Elizabeth Clarage, Anne Craig, Denise Green

Board Liaisons: Spencer Brayton (Waubonsee Community College)

Discovery Primo VE Task Force Liaison: Christine McClure (DePaul University)


  • As co-chairs, Cynthia will take lead this term as Chad is on leave.
  • June minutes were unanimously approved.
  • Monthly committee meetings will be held on the third Wednesday from 12:30 – 2pm.
  • Minute taking will be done alphabetically by surname (beginning with Archer-Helke) with the schedule as follows:
    • September 15: Jessica Bastian
    • October 20: Krista Bowers Sharpe
    • November 17: Chad Kahl
    • December 15: Cynthia Kremer
    • January 19: Ashley McMullin
    • February 16: Nestor Osorio
    • March 16: Arlie Sims
    • April 20: Lesley Wolfgang
    • May 18: TBD
    • June 15: TBD

Tasks Assigned

  • Minutes taken by Caitlin Archer-Helke.
  • Dense and Elizabeth will send out the monthly meeting invite.
  • Cynthia will put forth a call for agenda items and will send to the committee via email as well as share in Box.


  • Member Announcements:
    • Cynthia Kremer (JJC): Their parking lot hasn’t been this full since the beginning of March 2020! Half the library has been opened. The library is down a person due to retirement. Trying to navigate remote services while performing in person services as well. 50% of classes are in person. Library hours remain shorter.
    • Jessica Bastian (ICC): Both campuses have been opened for two weeks now. The library had less foot traffic than normal the first week of classes. Library hours are extremely shortened: 8-4:30; however, virtual reference hours extend to 8. Saturdays are much shorter as well (9-2). Employee time in the library has been staggered.
    • Caitlin (SXU): Campus is open and fully operational with all spaces open. Masks urged. Nether vaccine mandate nor testing. Open normal hours with reference desk staffed 9-4:30 on most weekdays and for some time on weekends.
    • Ashley (DePaul): Library staff are now back on site at DePaul. The library has been offering contactless pickup for months and began study room reservations in the summer. Library is completely open now; however, there are staffing shortages. Working to bring service to multiple modalities while working in person. Vaccine mandate for all DePaul community members.
    • Arlie (Columbia): Library is kind of back to normal in terms of access to space but will be closed on Sundays in the fall. Otherwise, normal weekly and Saturday hours. Most reference and instruction work has been done virtually; reference was largely virtual before COVID as well. Their new (in 2020) online learning librarian has helped Columbia step up during the pandemic as their instruction has been much enriched by having someone that helps focus on online instructional. Campus has a vaccine mandate for students; no mandate for faculty and staff but over 80% are vaccinated. Those that are unvaccinated must test. A lot of hybrid and remote as well as in person classes. Library is training access services staff, particularly student access services workers, on how to manage the blended services model. Classes start the Tuesday after Labor Day.
    • Lesley (Saint John’s): Classes started two weeks ago with a mix of in person and virtual. A hybrid model of instruction at this point. The hospital is not yet mandating vaccines. There may be changes following the FDA Pfizer approval.
    • Krista (WIU): In July, everyone who wasn’t union was required to return in person. The library building is fully open and staff are providing in-person reference. Vaccines are incentivized but not required. Masks are mandated but that means staff are spending their time telling people to put their masks on. Teaching happening in all ways and the library building has limited capacity. The union may re-negotiate whether vaccines will be mandated once they are fully approved.
    • Chad (ISU): No vaccination mandate at ISU, but more frequent testing for those who are unvaccinated and possible penalties for those that skip testing.
    • Nestor (NIU): NIU has a vaccination mandate and are requiring masks. Masks are an issue as students either wear them wrong or not wear them. Reference services remain virtual for the next eight weeks,  but the first floor where circulation is located is flooded with students. Trying to de-densify area. Instruction will be either in person or virtual. The library has smart rooms available but they are limited to one third of their capacity. Air circulation is a problem in the building. The good news: people are very positive, and students are happy to be back.
  • CARLI Announcements:
    • Some current CARLI projects include the third cohort of the IMLS funded CARLI Counts, the U.S. Department of Education grant for Open Textbooks, and continuing education opportunities offered via CARLI’s association with the Professional Development Alliance.
    • CARLI has several email lists. The committee list is reserved for committee members and their work, but there are several on different topics, committee members can share these CARLI lists with colleagues.
    • Box is a platform that provides a good way to exchange drafts and so on.
    • Consortial EBook Program: CARLI staff will be adding the records to I-Share and sharing the records with non-I-Share members.


  • Committee members were welcomed to the committee and thanked for their service.
  • Committee discussed who will take minutes at meetings. Previously minutes have been done alphabetically by institution. Committee decided to rotate minutes taking by last name.
  • The committee discussed its future meeting schedule and decided to meet on the third Wednesday from 12:30-2pm.
  • Proposed dates: September 15, October 20, November 17, December 15, January 19, February 16, March 16, April 20, May 18, and June 15.
  • The committee reviewed and discussed the committee charge.
  • The committee reviewed prior projects which included programing such as Getting Ready for Primo VE, The Pandemic Made Me Do It and a thorough review of the committee’s charge. As part of last year’s committee and charge review, the committee recommended a new group to focus on the Discovery system, which was approved and we now have a liaison to that group for this committee.
  • An annual project in the sense of a written document or set of recommendations is not required this year, but we can do a project anyway! The end product has traditionally been something members could use.
  • The Committee discussed Project Ideas
  • How to balance in-person, online, and hybrid instruction models.
  • Focus on how the pandemic has enhanced services. We’ve not only survived but thrived.
  • Public services in many modalities (online, in-person and hybrid).
  • Retrospective: where we’ve been, the ways in which we have adapted and are adapting, where we’ll be or where we might be in six months.
  • How pandemic enhanced public services. Transformational for the better, ex. Using Zoom for reference, LibGuides to complement course integrated instruction, etc.
  • Virtual spaces: how do libraries make sure we are where our students are? Integrating libraries into virtual spaces.
    • Leganto as tool for integration into the campus LMS.
    • Other virtual tools
  • Having Single sign on to provide seamless access to resources so users do not have so many clicks to get to resources.
  • What have we learned with the use of Alma (and Primo VE) in the first year of its use?  Library just completed usability testing for language and appearance of the catalog based on helping patrons and their feedback.
  • Explore ways to speak with upper administration about our needs and how important our services are? Use of language including "value" and return on investment to support the library and its role on campus. Controlled digital lending, being virtual while we have materials with tight controls that make access possible during lockdown times.
    • Might be difficult due to current lawsuit.
  • Alternatives to copyright including licenses for Open access and open educational resources
  • User roles in Alma/Primo VE
  • Public Services staffing & changes in staffing models as many institutions are short staffed.
  • The impact of Alma/PVE on staffing.
  • Better ways to promote library on campus, esp. librarians' role
  • Value of both- in-person or virtual. library building and virtual collections
  • Libraries provide excellent in-person and online instruction- student engagement, ex. Quiz.
  • There are equity issues with digital and virtual only for those without the technology or are using their phone as the way they access both online classes and course materials.
  • Gen Z students expect assistance via video but many libraries lack expertise or tools to provide them.
  • Public Services-related video production

Next Meeting Dates and Deadlines

The Public Services Committee will meet next on September 15, 2021 from 12:30 – 2:00pm.

Committee Meetings:

  • October 20, 2021
  • November 17, 2021
  • December 15, 2021
  • January 19, 2022
  • February 16, 2022
  • March 16, 2022
  • April 20, 2022
  • May 18, 2022
  • June 15, 2022