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Greenwich University’s three campuses serve a total of over 21,000 students and they serve them well. In fact, 89% of students who took part in the National Student Survey reported being definitely or most satisfied with the quality of their degree courses at Greenwich.
This success might give the impression that students not only have access to world-class library facilities on each of the three campuses, but that they also must have the support of three full-time staffs dedicated to the work at each facility.
In reality, that’s not quite true.
“Many of our staff take on multiple roles,” said Joyce Hamilton, acquisitions manager at the University’s Stockwell Street library. “In fact, the acquisitions staff at our Medway Library is also charged with circulation, leaving hardly any time to dedicate to the tasks associated with getting books into students’ hands once they are delivered.”
Greenwich doesn’t face a unique challenge, but rather one that librarians in institutions of all sizes can recognize: not enough time in the day to manage the collection while offering the level of service that they’d like to provide to the tens of thousands of students that they serve. In fact, the three campuses combined have one cataloger, just over a dozen selectors and no designated processors.
Additionally, students expect immediate delivery of the resources that they request. So how do the Greenwich librarians accomplish so much?
They sought a partner who was more than just a content aggregator or library technology provider.
The first of Greenwich’s needs was very basic: simplified workflows and access to tools that can translate time-consuming manual tasks into automated processes.
ProQuest’s technology was able to deliver just that.
Tools like OASIS – ProQuest’s free web-based system for searching, selecting and ordering print and electronic books for academic libraries – are a must-have for the busy librarians at Greenwich as they provide access to the broadest title database in the industry with powerful search tools that help locate titles quickly and efficiently. Via OASIS, Greenwich has access to locally based print distribution centers and EBL, MyiLibrary, and ebrary ebooks, the top ebook platforms in the market which they use regularly.
But Greenwich needed more than just technology.
“ProQuest’s recent promotion where they offered 50 percent off ebooks if you held the print version is a great example of why we need more than just a vendor,” shared Hamilton. “We wanted to take advantage of this offer since it would help us offer unlimited access to high-usage titles while providing more ebooks, which our users are requesting more and more. Our obstacle was finding the time to determine which books we could potentially buy.”
Enter ProQuest customer service representative.
Hamilton said their ProQuest rep has always been there to help. For example, he produced a list of Greenwich’s print ISBNs, matched them against its ebook holdings and deduplicated against all of the library’s resources in order to provide an actionable list based on the University’s own data. Hamilton and the rest of the library staff could spend the time they would have dedicated to this preparation work making the strategic acquisition decisions that they’re best suited to make.
Partnering with ProQuest means Greenwich librarians can rest assured that they’re serving users as best as they can and fulfilling their needs as quickly as they possibly can.
“Their shelf-ready services alone have made a great difference,” said Hamilton. “From ordering to processing invoices, they’re ready and willing to customize to suit our library’s needs. This means less time spent on manual tasks on our end and more time serving students.”
The results from the partnership with ProQuest extend beyond just books, Hamilton added. For instance, she pointed out how their multimedia resources come in security cases that would otherwise take time to process and enter into their system. “That’s time we don’t have when there are students waiting for access to these resources,” she explained.
“With ProQuest, the materials arrive shelf-ready and with a MARC record, driving discovery without requiring much effort on our end.”
More of the same, according to Hamilton.
“It’d take an earthquake to make me change the relationship that we’ve established,” she added when asked about the future of the partnership.
“It’s not just that ProQuest has the content or offers promotions that sets it apart, but it’s their people who are the unique value. I contact my customer service representative probably a couple of times each week with queries,” said Hamilton. “It’s useful knowing the person who answers your call – and perhaps more so, useful having them know me and my library’s unique needs.”
Learn more about OASIS.
Image: Dennis Turner [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons