Curriculum Material Centers to consolidate above Steelcase Library

The Steelcase Library located in the DeVos Center on the Pew Campus of Grand Valley State Univeristy.

Andrew Mills

The Steelcase Library located in the DeVos Center on the Pew Campus of Grand Valley State Univeristy.

Anya Zentmeyer

At the end of this academic year, Grand Valley State University will consolidate all Curriculum Material Centers (CMLs) that support teacher preparation at the downtown campus. With the exception of books that support College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) teaching faculty, Steelcase Library will now house all materials, which brings mixed emotions from faculty and students.

“Perceptions differ about whether this move will make things more difficult for students and faculty,” said Lee Van Orsdel, dean of University Libraries. “We are committed to keeping the difficulties to an absolute minimum by providing excellent service to close any gaps wherever we can. Most faculty in Allendale have been reassured when we tell them that the print resources central to their teaching will stay in Allendale.”

To limit difficulties, Van Orsdel said she is actively seeking the input of faculty on the question of what materials will stay on the Allendale campus. She said although faculty and students in Allendale might occasionally need to request an item housed downtown, the library staff plans to courier requested items in as timely a manner as possible to reduce any inconveniences.

“The biggest difference, and the thing that may inconvenience students in some classes, is the fact that they will have to go to the downtown CML to use educational equipment and supplies,” she added.

Van Orsdel said the library based its consolidation of materials on multiple factors.

“We have studied use of the two centers and found that there has been a slow but steady decline in usage – both in terms of numbers and in terms of the complexity of the users’ needs,” she said.

Van Orsdel said the decline might be fueled by students’ increasing usage of curricula materials on the web and related to changing teaching practices. The cost was another determining factor, she added.

“It is costly to maintain staff in two facilities particularly when demand for the centers’ resources and personnel is declining,” Van Orsdel said. “It’s also costly to purchase and maintain two sets of equipment and software.”

With the money saved from the consolidation, Van Orsdel said university libraries will now be able to purchase more and better equipment, software and online services without the need to buy two of everything.

Julie Garrison, associate dean of research and instruction, said university faculty have discussed the decision for some time.

“This decision was not made in haste,” she said. “We carefully reviewed how each CML was being used, talked with both the dean of the College of Education and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to make sure they could support this decision and determined it was time to consolidate services in one location. We believe we will create a stronger CML program by consolidating services.”

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