B2: Sustain Coates Library as a critical intellectual resource for the campus

As one of the leading private libraries in the Southwestern United States, Trinity’s Coates Library is a nationally-recognized leader in connecting students and faculty with traditional and contemporary information resources. The Vice President for Information Resources, Communications and Marketing will oversee efforts to maintain Coates Library as a forwardlooking Learning Commons – a vibrant, shared resource for all members of our academic community. Recognizing the speed at which information can be accessed online, Trinity will devote the necessary human and technological resources to ensure that faculty, students, and other users will find what they need quickly and easily using the Library’s web site and our physical collections. Trinity will continue to pioneer new forms of digital scholarship through the Digital Commons platform.

A Hub for Research and Teaching

A leading liberal arts and sciences university depends upon a vibrant and forward-looking library to achieve its academic mission, instructional, and research needs. While this work is never accomplished, the University has taken a number of steps to ensure that our collections, services, and spaces are positioned to meet the evolving needs of students and faculty. These steps include:

  • In 2015, Coates Library completed a self-study and underwent a formal external review to evaluate the Library’s operations, identify future opportunities, and benchmark the Library’s achievements relative to peer institutions. "The external review of the library was highly positive about our successes in information literacy programs and the provision of personalized assistance to faculty and students," said University Librarian Chris Nolan. "The review praised our commitment to using analytical and data-driven assessments to inform our decisions and encouraged us to expand our data collection to evaluate all content on cost effectiveness. The review also indicated that our demand-driven collection development model, our weeding program, and the attempts to free up shelving space to provide room for other learning opportunities were all highly appropriate and should be emphasized even further."
  • In January 2018, Dr. Deneese Jones, Vice President for Academic Affairs, appointed Chris Nolan, University Librarian, to chair a Library Renovation Task Force to evaluate the evolving needs of our students and faculty for library facilities and how these needs impact the building’s study, teaching and collaboration areas, technology, furnishings and materials storage. The report was completed on May 1, 2018.
  • In partnership with Jim Bradley, Trinity’s Chief Information Officer, the Library is investigating new platforms for faculty publication, including innovative digital platforms.
  • The Student Government Association has launched an effort to investigate the adoption of open-source educational material.
  • In 2018, Coates Library participated in the Measurement of Information Service Outcomes (MISO)—a national survey of college libraries—which allowed for student and faculty evaluation of library quality. Survey findings will inform Coates Library’s continual improvement efforts. "Students were largely satisfied with library spaces, indicating that comfort, quiet study, and group study spaces were very important to them. Satisfaction with our collections was quite high among students and faculty," Nolan said. "Some responses were of concern to our staff, however. In response to these concerns, the library has helped create a preliminary building renovation plan, and will also continue to emphasize teaching information literacy skills."

a student views Digital Commons on her computer

Common Knowledge

Open Access organizations provide research and teaching resources

Trinity University’s Coates Library currently directs more than $56,000 toward open access ventures to increase access to scholarly research. Through membership and subventions, Trinity supports 12 open access organizations that make it easier for students, faculty, and researchers to find the information they need.

Among other organizations, the University supports the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition, Lever Press, Biomed Central, MDPI, Open Book Publishers, the Open Library of Humanities (OLH), and Knowledge Unlatched. Coates Library joined Knowledge Unlatched, a London-based nonprofit, in 2016 to support monographs in the humanities and social sciences. Two books, authored by Trinity political science professor Peter O’Brien and sociology and anthropology professor David Spener, were published through Knowledge Unlatched.

Additionally, Trinity supports open access scholarly publishing by providing financial support to nonprofit publishers that make research freely available. The library also provides an online repository, the Digital Commons, where faculty and student scholarship is openly accessible and easy to find. Since 2010, there have been more than 2 million downloads across more than 4,000 works. The most downloaded document was created by a graduate of Trinity’s Master of Arts in Teaching program and has been viewed more than 45,000 times.

In addition to managing the Digital Commons, Trinity’s librarians educate faculty, administrators, and students about the economics of scholarly publishing, the impact on University budgets, and the bigger picture surrounding access to scholarly knowledge. The library even helps faculty and student authors amend their contracts with publishers so that the University can retain a copy of an article or book within the Digital Commons. The library also encourages faculty to submit their works to reputable open access publications. For more information about open access initiatives at Trinity, ask a librarian.