Appendix C: Engineering Branch Library Example – Academic Branch Libraries in Changing Times

Appendix C

Engineering Branch Library Example

Engineering and Physical Sciences (University of Maryland)

The building

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Library (EPSL) occupies four flours in the Math Building, on the East side of the University of Maryland campus. The Library has a total of 36,348 assignable square feet of space (ground floor: 2,875; first: 10,794; second: 11,422; third: 11,275).

Total seating: 501 (group study: 261; individual study carrel: 158; lounge seating: 47; computer seating: 35).

The community

EPSL serves primarily students, faculty, researchers and staff from the A. James Clark School of Engineering with its eight departments and the College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences (CMPS) with its six departments, and seven institutes. Enrollment of these schools in 2009 was as follows:

Students and faculty from the other colleges on campus also use the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library, as do members of the general public. On average, 20,000 customers visit EPSL each month.

The collection

Most of EPSL’s monograph and print journal volumes total more than 260,000 and are housed in the building. The reference collection consists of about 13,000 volumes. Although current print journal subscriptions have declined over the years (it totals over 700), the number of current electronic journals subscriptions increased. Some 100,000 volumes of little used monographs and journals have been transferred to an off-campus storage facility. They are retrieved within 24 to 48 hours upon request. EPSL is currently filled to 85 percent capacity. In addition to printed books and journals, electronic editions of many titles are also available. A selected microfilm collection also supports the printed journal collection. The EPSL Technical Reports Center has over two million items, mainly on microfiche. It houses one of the most complete collections of National Aeronautics and Space Administration documents on the East Coast. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publications, Rand Corporation, US Air Force, Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) documents are among the many domestic and foreign reports available.

The services

In addition to circulation and reference services, EPSL provides document delivery – scanned copies from the print EPSL collection to faculty and graduate students. Print course reserves materials are processed at EPSL, while electronic course reserves are processed centrally at McKeldin (main library). The acquisition of print books and periodicals is handled centrally at McKeldin; serials bindery preparation is handled at EPSL. As the number of print serials decreases, this task is becoming more obsolete.

The staff

Staff in 2010 consisted of four librarians – the head of the library and three subject librarians, six library technicians (two part-time), and 12–15 students-circulation assistants during Fall/Spring semesters (see 2010 Organization Chart).

2010 Organization Chart

In contrast, in 1981 EPSL had a staff of 19. In addition to the head of EPSL, two librarians reporting to the head of EPSL were in charge of two distinct services units: circulation services unit, and reference services unit. The reference unit had three reference librarians and seven technicians (three part-time). The circulation unit had five technicians (four part-time). A clerk typist reported directly to the Head of EPSL (see 1981 Organizational chart).

Job descriptions*

Head of Branch Library


1. Leads the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library, providing administrative leadership, organizational and resource management, strategic planning, and staff supervision and development for EPSL.

EPSL Organization Chart. FY 1981 (As of June 1981)

 Ensures the development and effective delivery of programs, services, collections, and facilities to meet the information needs of the clientele, including faculty, staff, and students from the College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and the A. James Clark School of Engineering, as well as related academic disciplines and the general public.

 Works closely with division director, teams inside and outside of the division, and unit staff to evaluate existing library programs and to identify areas for modification or development of new initiatives.

 Analyzes staffing needs within the unit; reallocates resources and requests additional resources as appropriate; actively participates in service- and collection-related activities as needed; monitors Labor and Assistance expenditures.

 Assures timely evaluation, performance review, and mentoring of library faculty and staff.

 Oversees expenditures of endowments and other special funding.

 Oversees space planning and utilization for all areas of the unit or site.

 Shares in the leadership of the division and Libraries through participation in library leadership groups.

2. Leads collection management activities.

 In collaboration with teaching faculty and subject specialists, develops and assesses general guidelines for development and management of the general collections at EPSL.

 Selects materials to add to the general collection; identifies and acquires retrospective materials needed to fill collection gaps; oversees and coordinates group responsibility for selection of books, media, electronic databases, and reference materials; manages allocated materials funds for monographs, serials, electronic resources and approval/purchase plans.

 In collaboration with the Preservation Production Group of the UM Libraries, identifies appropriate methods for storing and preserving materials in both general and special collections; reviews materials in the collection identified as lost, missing, or needing repair and decides upon appropriate action.

 Responding to the expressed needs of users and in collaboration with the catalogers in the Technical Services Division; sets cataloging priorities.

 Corresponds with gifts-in-kind donors to the general collections, reports gifts to the Gifts-in-Kind Coordinator in the UM Libraries, and adds materials deemed appropriate for the collection, reserving unwanted duplicates for potential exchange by the Gifts-in-Kind Coordinator.

 Participates in the collection-related activities of the Science & Technology Collaborative.

 Provides leadership for exhibits, print collections, electronic initiatives including digital library projects.

 Consults with curators and provides guidance as needed on acceptance of new collections, priorities for digital initiatives, and preservation projects.

 Works with curators to identify ways to expand access to materials in the special collections.

 Assists in planning and participates in special events related to exhibits and donor relations.

 Participates in the activities of the Special Collections Collaborative.

3. Liaison to specific departments

 Works closely with the Mathematics and Computer Science Departments, and other departments in the College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the A. James Clark School of Engineering.

 Participates in meetings of teaching faculty, academic administrators and students.

 Seeks opportunities to integrate library collections and services with teaching, learning, research and other activities of the departments served.

 Provides reference services and teaches library instruction classes.

4. Works with the Libraries’ Associate Dean of External Relations in the UM Libraries and others on donor relations and other development activities.

 In collaboration with curators and development staff, outlines strategies for donor cultivation.

 Prepares and delivers statements outlining funding priorities for EPSL.

 Attends development events in the UM Libraries, on campus and offsite as needed.

 Meets and cultivates current and future donors.

 Pursues other external funding such as grants to extend resources, services and innovations.

5. Promotes services available through the Libraries.

6. Serves on library and university committees as appropriate.

7. Participates in activities of professional organizations and/or other community groups related to the unit’s or site’s specialization.

Performs other duties as assigned.

Administrative Assistant


1. Assists Customers (20%)

a. Provides information assistance for in-person/ telephone inquiries using selected automated and manual resources, e.g. patent/trademark questions, interpretation of citations, journal locations, materials receipt, etc. Advises customers of available services, best methods, capabilities, costs and time schedules. Assists customers in filling out online and printed request forms for materials and/or services, e.g. ILL, patents.

b. Instructs and assists customers in the basic use of online catalogs, indexes, and selected databases at the Information Desk.

c. Assists and instructs customers in the use of equipment, e.g. microfilm equipment, reader/printers, photocopiers.

2. Manages Support Services such as: (20%)

a. Building maintenance and repairs – makes requests and tracks progress.

b. Service calls and progress tracking for all readerprinters, printers, copy and fax machines.

c. Key operator for photocopy machines – supervising and training students to provide routine maintenance and providing maintenance when no students are available.

d. Ordering and stocking of all supplies.

e. Building key monitor – ordering keys and maintaining building access list.

f. Pay check pick up and distribution.

g. Responsible for the security and physical maintenance of the public service area during hours of operation.

3. Student Assistant Supervisor (20%)

a. Hires and supervises all student assistants. Schedules all shifts for Circulation student assistants and signs off on timesheets.

b. Provides some training along with the Billing/Reserves Supervisor.

c. Handles all paper work involved in the employment of student assistants.

d. Keeps track of L&A funds and provides updates to the Head of EPSL.

4. Provides administrative assistance (20%)

a. Researches, analyzes, and summarizes information for reports and communicates findings orally and in writing.

b. Prepares budgets, charts, forms and other correspondence as needed for Head of EPSL and other staff members.

c. Establishes and revises complex and sensitive filing systems. Enters, updates, and retrieves information stored in files and databases.

d. Independently handles procedural and substantive matters and inquiries which do not require technical knowledge or refers callers to others as appropriate.

e. Anticipates supervisor’s course of action when absent and facilitates problem resolution. Interprets administrative decisions and policies to other staff and transmits directions and instructions based on authority delegated by the supervisor.

f. Ensures confidentiality of information. Provides guidance and instruction to office support staff.

5. Additional Duties (20%)

a. Processes all gifts received by EPSL, filing all reports, writing thank you letters, and maintaining spreadsheets.

b. Keeps monthly statistics on library use, including new books, transfers, renewals, returns, etc.

c. Maintains the EPSL directory and reflector lists.

d. Acts as chat monitor for all libraries, ensuring all shifts are filled and alerting librarians when quotas are not met.

e. Schedules all Information Desk shifts for librarians and support staff.

f. Serves as EPSL representative to the Safety and Security Committee as well as Floor Marshal for EPSL. Serves as co-webmaster of Libraries Safety and Security Guidelines.

Performs other duties, as assigned.

Subject Librarian


 Serves as College Park Patent & Trademark Depository Library Representative; attends annual training seminars conducted by the US Patent and Trademark Office, provides information and reference service to patent and trademark patrons from the general public.

 Serves as library liaison to specified academic departments, colleges or schools, which involves but is not limited to developing and managing electronic and print collections, promoting services available through the Libraries, supporting information literacy efforts and faculty research, engaging in continued outreach activities, and creating content for Web pages.

 Provides in person, by phone, or email in-depth reference, instruction and collection management services in specified subject specialties. Provides general reference services as well, and some circulation functions at times. Works with Information & Research Services Team Leader and with other related teams to improve cooperative online reference service via QuestionPoint.

 Participates in the activities of Engineering and Physical Science Library Team.

 Participates in the Science and Technology collaborative; consults and works with subject librarians and faculty members in evaluating and maintaining collections and providing reference services.

 Participates in various Library and University teams and committees, as well as in activities of professional organizations and/or other community groups related to librarianship.

 Performs other duties as assigned.

Billing/Reserves Supervisor – Library Technician


 Reserves (35%)

a. Manage EPSL course reserves. Deal with faculty requests, process materials using the automated system(s), request orders for materials, resolve problems.

 Billing (25%)

b. Serve as initial point of contact for billing inquiries, providing information and referral (when needed) to patrons. Cancel routine fines, refer other problems to supervisor or other libraries as appropriate. Search and process patron claims. Maintain billing correspondence files.

 Processing materials (15%)

c. Assist in processing of new acquisitions at EPSL.

d. Supervise daily processing of inter-campus requests for EPSL items.

e. Perform search requests, process withdrawals, compile statistics.

 Student workers (20%)

f. Train circulation students.

g. Provide daily supervision and direction to student workers.

 Other (5%)

h. Provide direct public service assistance to users at the Circulation desk: give information about EPSL, UM Libraries, and UM policies, procedures, and facilities.

Performs other duties, as assigned.

Night/Weekend supervisor – Library Technician


1. Searches and maintains files. (15%)

a. Input and update patron information into automated system; input temporary records into bibliographic database as needed.

b. Recognize and alert supervisor to any nonroutine circulation transactions or data in automated system.

c. Charge, renew and discharge library materials to patrons, using automated systems and manual procedures as necessary.

d. Use automated system to determine location, status and other information about library materials.

e. Use automated system to provide patrons with information about their borrowing activity.

2. Assists patrons. (40%)

a. Provide basic information to patrons about use of automated catalog, including placement of hold requests online.

b. Answer telephone and in-person inquiries concerning UMCP Libraries circulation policies and procedures, including loan periods, fine rates, recall and hold policies, ID cards, etc.

c. Provide patrons with proper forms and instructions in submitting billing claims and appeals, stacks search requests, course reserve requests, address changes, etc.

d. Provide directional and basic informational assistance.

e. Refer patrons to supervisors, other units, and other libraries as necessary.

3. Collection maintenance and retrieval. (30%)

a. Sort returned materials and prepare carts for re-shelving. Reshelve materials in stacks.

4. Maintains physical facilities and equipment. (15%)

a. Opens and closes library depending upon schedule. Turns on/off lights and equipment, unlocks/locks doors, makes sure building is cleared at closing, secures unit at closing. Reports any problems in writing to supervisor.

b. Acts as building supervisor, which includes: reporting potential and actual building problems to Work Control or to supervisor depending upon urgency of problem.

c. Responsible for quick and effective handling of emergencies should they arise. Notifies Work Control, Police, or Fire departments if necessary. Reports emergencies to supervisor and/or Library Director on call; stands by to evacuate and secure library if so directed.

d. Perform operating maintenance – i.e., replace paper and clear jams – on photocopiers, microfilm reader/ printers, printers at computer workstations. Reports other problems with equipment (need for toner, periodic maintenance, repairs) to appropriate person(s).

Performs other duties, as assigned.

Serials Unit – Library Technician


 Assists customers (25%)

a) provides direct public service assistance to patrons at the Information Desk.

 Maintains serials (55%)

b) maintains bindery control for all serials housed in EPSL. Collect and collate unbound periodicals, prepare for binding, check materials when returned from bindery.

c) organizes and directs maintenance of serials collection: identifies missing issues and requests replacement, supervises shelving and organization of unbound issues, identifies and helps resolve errors in online catalog regarding holdings, etc.

d) liaison with Technical Services units such as Bindery/ End Processing, Serials Cataloging, Database Management, and Acquisitions.

 Additional duties (20%)

e) helps maintain patents collection: receives and files materials, updates software, etc.

f) work on special projects and exhibits.

g) back-up for EPSL course reserves and circulation functions.

Performs other duties, as assigned.

Reference/Technical Reports – Library Technician


1. Patron Assistance (30%)

 Provides general information assistance for in person/telephone inquiries using selected automated and manual resources, e.g. patent/trademark questions, interpretation of citations, journal locations, materials receipt, etc. Advises patrons of available services, best methods, and capabilities. Assists patrons in filling out online and printed request forms for materials and/or services, e.g. ILL, patents, off-site storage.

 Instructs and assists patrons in the basic use of online catalogs, indexes, and selected databases at the Information Desk.

 Provides answers to questions regarding the status of materials on order and negotiates reservations for special loans.

 Provides reference assistance at the Information Desk.

2. Technical Reports Center Duties (20%)

 Fills requests, shelves new print materials, re-shelves print and microfiche materials after use, and maintains statistics of Technical Reports from storage.

 Performs shelf-reading to assure microfiche in Technical Reports (EPSL) and hard copies in Hornbake are properly filed.

 Assists patrons in searching and finding materials and provides directional information to patrons both in house and on the telephone.

 Assists patrons in the use of microform materials and equipment.

 Maintains printed collection – arrangement, shelving, shifting, identifying correct report numbers and labeling reports before shelving. Responsible for correct identification and labeling of shelves and cabinets.

 Recognizes and alerts supervisor to any non-routine problems.

 Manages periodic inventories of the collection.

 Processes technical reports material for withdrawal and/or transfer.

 Identifies lost or damaged items for replacement consideration.

 Performs simple binding and repairs of materials which can be done in-house and refers others to the Bindery.

 Manages copy service for microfilm/microfiche copies.

 Responsible for the security and physical maintenance of the public service area during hours of operation.

3. Collection maintenance and retrieval (25%)

 Receives, unpacks, counts, and processes new books. Identifies processing and/or cataloging errors and reports to Technical Services Help Desk or supervisor. Organizes and directs the maintenance of a specialized collection, e.g. technical reports.

 Processes and routes internal transfers (on Aleph Circulation Module) and withdrawals (sends them to Technical Services with paper documentation).

 Shelves new materials and re-shelves the used materials in the reference collection.

 Performs shelf reading of the reference collection to make sure materials are in order on shelves.

 Maintains reference items loan statistics.

 Weeds reference collection and sends items to stacks or withdrawal; pulls and processes superseded reference materials.

4. Other Duties (25%)

 Updates information policies and procedures folder at the reference desk.

 Maintains NEW ARRIVALS display book case.

Performs other duties, as assigned.

Reference Weekend – Library Technician (PT)


1. Patron Assistance

 Provides general information assistance for in person/ telephone inquiries using selected automated and manual resources, e.g. patent/trademark questions, interpretation of citations, journal locations, materials receipt, etc. Advises patrons of available services, best methods, and capabilities. Assists patrons in filling out online and printed request forms for materials and/or services, e.g. ILL, patents.

 Instructs and assists patrons in the basic use of online catalogs, indexes, and selected databases at the Information Desk.

 Provides answers to questions regarding the status of materials on order and negotiates reservations for special loans.

 Provides reference assistance at the Information Desk.

2. Weekend Supervisor of the EPSL Reference office

 Manages weekend operations of the Reference office.

 Supervises physical maintenance of public reference areas on weekends.

3. Collection maintenance

 Coordinates the technical service aspects of a public service unit.

 Processes and routes books to be sent for Repair (on Aleph Circulation Module); coordinates with Preservation department at McKeldin including replacement of missing spine labels.

 Organizes and directs the maintenance of a specialized collection, e.g. the EPSL reference collection, national and international standards, and update services.

Performs other duties, as assigned.

Head of Circulation & Serials (position discontinued in December 2009 – circulation duties distributed to library technicians)

NATURE OF WORK: Supervises operations of EPSL Circulation and Serials units, including training and evaluating staff, planning, and supervising daily operations. Serves as resource on training, policy and procedures for other UM circulation units and as resource/liaison with other UM library library divisions and other UM departments.


1. Manages EPSL Circulation and Serials units: sets goals for units; supervises and evaluates staff; plans and supervises daily workflow of units and special projects; assists in daily work when needed, serves as backup to staff; serves as stacks maintenance supervisor, supervising and performing shelving, shelf-reading, shifting, and special projects; handles non-standard billing appeal correspondence.

2. Serves as backup to circulation staff handling billing, course reserves, student supervision, and serials.

3. Collection management: assists in selection and processing of weeding and transfers from EPSL collections.

4. Reference service: handles circ-related email and chat questions referred from other EPSL staff and other UM library units.

5. Participates in library instruction activities.

6. Serves as liaison to ITD, Registrations, and other units for circulation issues; serves as resource for other UM and USMAI circulation units.

7. Prepares reports and compiles statistics to inform Head of EPSL on the work of the unit. In consultation with the Head of EPSL, sets long-term goals for unit and prepares action plans to achieve these goals.

8. As backup to Head of EPSL, assists in general planning as well as planning and execution of special projects.

Performs other duties, as assigned.


Supervises 3 FTE Circulation staff and one 75 percent Serials staff; supervises 10–15 student employees per semeste

*Job descriptions written by author.