Public Affairs

Stragetic Plan for CSU Libraries to include Technology Upgrades

Technological Advancement in Libraries to Support Student Success

California State University libraries are rapidly advancing as the rate of innovation in information technology accelerates the demand for faster access to library resources. The recent release of the 2000 Library Strategic Plan by the CSU Council of Library Directors sets goals for all 23-campus libraries to combine the physical access of information resources with electronically delivered information.

"It's important to utilize current information technologies to maximize learning opportunities in the university system," said Gordon Smith, CSU director of library initiatives. "It will provide the necessary resources to enable CSU students and staff to enter an increasingly complex world."

With CSU libraries working in collaboration, students can easily access a full range of library information resources by using one search tool that is available through Unified Information Access System (UIAS). Through UIAS, a Web-based interface called Pharos allows students, faculty and staff to access information resources found in all campus libraries and beyond. To be ready by spring 2001, it provides direct, customized online access to print and digital resources that include text, image, video and multi-media, and Internet-based resources. In addition, through Pharos, inter-campus circulation and inter-library loans has been streamlined. At the touch of a button, students can obtain materials currently not available at their home campus.

CSU Los Angeles and CSU Bakersfield have taken the lead in incorporating Pharos into their library systems. With a budget of more than $2 million, the UIAS project is considered to be the most advanced of its type, leading the way for the library and information services community and industry.

Another significant focus of the strategic plan is on student-centered learning. With new and emerging technologies, students need to learn how to use the research tools available and how to analyze and evaluate information that is found in research documents. The strategic plan identifies the importance of providing tutorial sessions with librarians to teach students how to use research tools and to increase their information competency. To help students become self- sufficient, Pharos has an additional built-in instructional tool that will increase student competency in areas such as identifying research materials appropriate for their specific needs.

The 2000 strategic plan builds on and updates a strategic plan issued by the Council of Library Directors in 1994. Also included in the 2000 strategic plan are funding initiatives of $4 million to increase library collections for the next four years. Libraries will acquire more up-to-date books and periodicals in printed form, as well as multi-media resources such as video, audio and other materials. Furthermore, library facilities will be improved to provide a comfortable and inviting space to facilitate an open learning environment and to support new technologies.

"By acknowledging the library as a physical facility that is central to the intellectual, cultural, and social life of the university, the plan reaffirms the importance of the library as a place and resource that is critical to student achievement, faculty scholarship, and cultural development," said Smith.

18 December 2000