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CCC closes Flagstaff campus library

Posted by Editor on April 15, 2010

HILLARY DAVIS Sun Staff Reporter | Posted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 5:30 am

Coconino Community College is planning to close most of its small library this summer and merge with nearby Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library, sharing resources and saving CCC as much as $70,000 per year.

Coconino President Leah Bornstein said she and NAU President John Haeger came up with the merger after enacting the CCC2NAU structured transfer program, which is now in its third semester with about 300 students signed up. The union also saves the much smaller community college money in personnel (the move eliminates 2.5 jobs), supplies, and books and periodicals.

The joint library addresses cuts in CCC’s state funding. Bornstein also said eventual transfer students could explore NAU and get used to the larger campus by having full access to Cline.

She said the library partnership model is the first of its kind in the state. The switch-over will happen on July 1.

“The impetus wasn’t necessarily cuts first,” she said. “It was, ‘What’s our next project, what makes some sense, how can we get our students commingled in a way that makes some sense?’ And then the realization after that was, this also could be certainly a good use of public funds.”

All CCC students and faculty will be able to take advantage of Cline Library’s extended hours, assistance and information resources, remote access to databases, interlibrary loans and document delivery services.

Cline is open to the general public, but on-site computer services and the borrowing of materials are limited and require guest registration for users not affiliated with the university. The library Web site’s research tools are unrestricted.

ALREADY MOSTLY VIRTUAL

CCC’s main library is at the Flagstaff Lone Tree Campus, with a smaller sub-library in Page that already works with the Page city library.

The 700 square feet currently dedicated to the Lone Tree library will be whittled down to about 200 square feet for a very limited collection administered by NAU. Students will be able to check out those materials and see items instructors have placed on reserve. But when those “hard” materials become dated and are purged, the services will become entirely virtual — “which is pretty much what we are now anyway,” Bornstein said.

She did not know CCC’s traffic patterns for in-person or paperbound services, but said they were small compared to online research.

CCC will lay off its library assistants and retain one person, who will be a part-librarian and research guide, part-liaison with NAU.

Student support services, such as career and academic advising, tutoring and placement testing, will fill the former library space. These services are currently scattered about the Lone Tree campus. The computer lab for CCC students, which adjoins the library but is separate, will stay as it is.

CCC will pay NAU about $30,000 per year to help offset database subscriptions, but CCC students and staff will have access to a wider variety of research options than they currently do. NAU is also expected to charge CCC an as-yet-undetermined amount for the generally increased usage. Officials are still working on a tracking system to separate CCC from NAU Cline use, Bornstein said.

CCC will purchase three wifi-capable laptops for its students to check out while at Cline, allowing them to work anywhere in the library.

Currently, staffs from both schools are culling CCC’s collection and ensuring remote research access for CCC students.

Haeger suggested that the partnership could give other schools efficiency ideas.

“With higher education budgets continuing to be squeezed, this has the potential to serve as a model for other institutions seeking creative solutions to shrinking budgets,” he said in a press release.

CCC’s operating budget is currently between $15 million and $16 million a year, Bornstein said.

Hillary Davis can be reached at hdavis@azdailysun.com or 556-2261.

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