Welcome Back! A Message from the Dean of Cheng Library, Dr. Edward Owusu-Ansah

Dr. Owusu-Ansah welcomes back the WPU community to another academic year, outlines Cheng Library’s accomplishments in the past year, and invites everyone to join in the Library’s efforts to improve services.

Dr. Edward Owusu-Ansah, Dean of Cheng Library

Welcome to our new students, faculty, and staff, as well as our returning students and continuing faculty and staff. Welcome back from the rest and fun of the summer! We stayed behind working and preparing for your return and hope we did enough while you were away to adequately prepare for the new academic year.

We at Cheng Library understand and acknowledge that our primary utility to you lies in our ability to collect and organize knowledge and facilitate its acquisition and use. We recognize that while information represents the raw material from which knowledge is derived, it must be organized for it to engender the connections and interpretations that result in knowledge. We also know that empowering information users to seek and apply knowledge effectively and ethically enriches the knowledge acquisition and creation process. So we dedicate our time and energies to ensuring that organization, and building the connections that ensure effective access to and use of organized information to foster knowledge.

In that spirit, we worked diligently to make your search experience better by redesigning our webpage, your portal to all things Cheng. We tried to make finding what you want more transparent when you visit us. Please let us know what you think we could have done better. We will continue to provide you the excellent services we have always offered. Let us know when we are not performing to your optimal expectations. We will continue to collect and provide access to the information resources you need for your research and study. Please let us know when you detect gaps. We will support you in building your research skills to empower successful papers and learning commitments. Please be forthcoming in communicating how successful we are with that effort. We will continue to provide adequate and comfortable spaces for your use. Please let us know when we fall short.

Since it is the beginning of a new academic year, we would like to share what transpired in the last year as we worked to support your academic endeavors and aspirations. Self-booking software for group study rooms introduced in fall 2016 was appreciated and heavily utilized. We hope to continue the service and expand the number of rooms that students can book online. The new ID activated lock in the Graduate Study Room also appeared very popular, as does the 24/7 opening during the last two weeks of the semester. Usage of the ChengFind discovery tool was up by 5.7 percent over the previous year. Increases were observed in the use of online reference resources and tutorials.

To ensure your continued success, we collaborated with the Academic Success Center by providing space in the Library for tutoring on nights and weekends, conducted some 300 course-related library instruction sessions, and 60 in collaboration with the Pioneer Success Seminar. We also created a PRAXIS study guide collection in the Curriculum Materials Center. In support of faculty research and scholarship, we continued administration of the Office of the Provost funded open access initiative to encourage faculty publications in open access journals. We look forward to more faculty taking advantage of this opportunity going forward.

The Library purchased new databases and updated its current subscriptions to better respond to need in the face of fiscal challenges, and continued the transition to electronic resources whenever feasible. The goal is to ensure a collection that reflects the current and future curricular and research needs of the University and provides greater accessibility to more resources, while creating opportunities for repurposing library space to accommodate changing student expectations and needs. In support of this goal, we have devoted significant time and energy to weeding the collection, with some 35,000 book volumes removed from the reference and circulating collections, 3,871 items from the media collection, and 2,200 volumes from the periodicals collection.

We began investigation of a new library services platform to eventually replace the Voyager Integrated Library System.  Migration to Voyager in 2003 provided modules for library processes that were cutting-edge at the time. Today, shifts in the formats of materials, purchasing models, licensing requirements, and technological advances dictate a need to transition to a system that is more responsive to our current operations. We hosted various vendors who demonstrated their products.  Our investigation continues.

In summary, your library currently offers the ability to search the entire library collection in a single search on a revamped webpage that is user friendly and easy to navigate. It provides you access to almost 300,000 print and nearly 200,000 electronic books, more than 130 databases, thousands of online articles from scholarly journals and online reference resources, digitized content from the University Archives and special collections, and WP theses and dissertations. It connects you with interactive online tutorials and course specific research guides, supports you with individual research appointments in person and online, offers customized library instruction sessions and reference help by phone, email, in-person, and 24/7 chat assistance. 24/7 library hours during the last two weeks of the semester is now a regular feature of our service. We have relaxed the Library’s food and beverage policy for your convenience, and more than tripled the number of public use computer workstations in the last two years alone. Additional study rooms and easing access to such rooms was long overdue. We hope to achieve even greater enhancements to your experience in your favorite academic gathering and meeting space, Cheng Library.

Welcome back, good luck, and let’s continue the good work together!


September 12, 2017