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3.8 Library and Other Learning Resources

Comprehensive Standard:

3.8.1 The institution provides facilities and learning/information resources that are appropriate to support its teaching, research, and service mission. (Learning/information resources)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.


The University of West Georgia provides appropriate facilities, services and learning/information resources to support the teaching, research, and service mission of a State University as defined by the University System of Georgia [1], [2], [3].

Note: The University System of Georgia adopted a new classification for institutions in August 2013. The University of West Georgia is now a Comprehensive University [4]. Alignment with this new classification will begin in the Fall of 2013. 

The Irvine Sullivan Ingram Library facility serves as the academic and cultural heart of the campus, providing academic support services, access to collections, intellectually stimulating programs, and a welcoming, vibrant environment to provide educational excellence in a personal environment. The library’s website [5] provides access to electronic collections [6], the catalog [7], and portals [8] to facilitate access to reference assistance [9], [10], electronic reserves [11], [12] and interlibrary loan requests [13].  

The Irvine Sullivan Ingram Library, a four-story 109,155 (gross) square foot facility, was constructed in 1968, expanded in 1980, and fully renovated in 2011 with an $8 million state legislative appropriation supplemented by some $2 million in university and external funding [14]. The 2003 Campus Master Plan [15] identified the need to expand the library facility. Sizemore Associates, AIA worked with a campus committee to conduct the Ingram Library Planning/Programming Study in 2007 to outline renovation and expansion plans [16].  The firm refined renovation plans in 2008 after the receipt of a special state legislative appropriation for renovation of a portion of the library to facilitate the installation of a replica of the Georgia House Speaker’s State Capitol office to honor the political career of Speaker Tom Murphy.  The BOR J-153 Library Renovation and Speaker Tom Murphy Office project were designed by Houser Walker Architecture in association with a campus committee that included library faculty and staff as well as university faculty, students, and facilities personnel. In 2011, the campus contracted Houser Walker Architecture to finalize and develop its master plan for completing the renovation of areas outside the BOR J-153 project. Through direct participation on the planning committees, focus group and other interviews, numerous site visits to new and renovated libraries, and information gleaned through surveys, including the 2007 LibQual report [17], the library and the two architectural firms secured broad input to support renovation plans [18].

Ingram Library is sited along a well-trafficked walkway adjacent to several key classroom buildings, the Campus Center, and the University Community Center [19]. During academic sessions, the library is open 24/5 hours for FY 2011-2012 (132 hours) [20]. Reference assistance is available 24/7 through OCLC QuestionPoint [10] and electronic resources are accessible by password access 24/7 through the library web page [5] and GALILEO, the University System of Georgia’s online library portal [6]. The entire facility is equipped with wireless technology.  Students may check out laptops for use within the facility or make use of public access computers within the building.

The main floor of the library includes circulation, reserves, reference, equipment check-out, and interlibrary loan service points to facilitate access to library materials and equipment [21].  Print and micro format reference materials, media collections, United States government documents and maps are housed on the main floor.  The learning commons is equipped with computers and peripherals that allow access to information, scanning, and printing, as well as access to word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and other software [22]. Flexible furniture allows reconfiguration of study areas for individual or group projects or study, and several areas provide whiteboards and large monitors for collaborative project development [23]. Flexible classroom and program areas provide space for teaching and presentations [24]. The main floor includes lounge seating, display areas for new materials, exhibit areas, and a coffee house operated through the university’s Auxiliary Services [25], [26].

The library maintains an aggressive instruction program (outlined in SACS 3.8.2) and an extensive program of in-library cultural programming, including readings, book discussions, exhibits, and monthly faculty lectures [27]. Programs and exhibits are promoted to the University and the regional community.  The library’s Friends organization, the Penelope Melson Society [28], provides financial and other assistance for programs and supports community interaction with the library and the university in accordance with the "meaningful engagement with off-campus communities" tenet of the university’s 2010-2015 Strategic Plan [29].

Ingram Library’s Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections [30] is housed on the ground floor of the library in association with the Department of History’s Center for Public History [31], Georgia’s Political Heritage Program [32], and the Department of Political Science & Planning’s Thomas B. Murphy Center for Public Service [33].  Special Collections includes the university archives, regional history materials, and a number of political collections secured through Georgia’s Political Heritage Program. The latter include notable collections of papers, memorabilia and recorded interviews associated with Georgia political figures, including former Georgia House Speaker Thomas B. Murphy and former Congressman and 2008 U.S. presidential candidate Bob Barr.  A replica of the State Capitol office of Speaker Tom Murphy is housed on the library’s ground floor, supported by interpretive and rotating exhibits [34].  The Center for Public History provides experience-based opportunities for students in museum and archival studies programs. The Murphy Center for Public Service sponsors community programs and assists local and regional governments, nonprofits and community groups.

The ground floor of the library also houses the print and microform periodical collections and equipment for scanning and printing microform materials.

The library’s second floor houses circulating collections, library administrative offices, computer-support areas, two conference rooms, reader and lounge seating.  Study rooms and study pod areas can be re-configured for group study and project development. The Thomas B. Murphy Holocaust Teacher Training & Resource Center is located on the second floor of Ingram Library, and is administered and staffed through the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust [35].

The library’s third floor contains circulating collections, reader and lounge seating, study rooms, a presentation room, as well as classrooms, faculty offices, and work areas designed to facilitate interaction between library faculty and other units of the university and to support training and instruction initiatives. The library’s Instructional Services [36] division office suite and collaborative workroom is adjacent to the third floor classroom/computer area and a separate proposed Problem Based Learning classroom used for library instruction presentations, face-to-face units of the library’s for-credit course LIBR 1101, faculty development and training sessions, and for scheduled university classes.  Plans have been developed in association with the university’s Office of Disability Services for an expanded Assistive Technology Laboratory on the third floor.  The current lab, located on the second floor, is available for students registered with that office.

Library physical collections include (2011, 2012 figures) some 488,000, which is higher than the 330,000 average among in-state peer institutions, over 1 million units of micro format materials, and over 700 current print journal subscriptions. The library provides access to extensive collections of online materials, including over 73,000 journal titles, current and archival backfiles of hundreds of U.S. newspapers, and current and retrospective indices.   University users downloaded over 400,000 full text resources from library databases in 2010 [37].  University of West Georgia affiliates have 24/7 password access to electronic collections purchased by the library or available through the University System of Georgia’s GALILEO consortium.  The library has aggressively pursued online collection development to broaden the scope of information resources to support teaching and research, to support the university’s online eCore courses, and to facilitate space re-allocation within the library facility; for example, the library recently purchased a database from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences, which will help to support the new Ph.D. program in psychology [38]. More detailed information about the holdings of the Ingram Library can be found in the report for Core Requirement 2.9.

In addition to Ingram Library, and outside of its direct administrative jurisdiction, the University maintains staffed areas to support additional information and archival collections.  These include:

Ingram Library is a member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association. Ingram Library supports the "Standards for Libraries in Higher Education" approved by the ACRL Board of Directors in October, 2011.  These new standards are designed to guide the Library in advancing and sustaining its role in educating students, achieving its mission, and positioning the Library as a campus leader in assessment and continuous improvement [45].

Finally, it should be noted that the University of West Georgia ensures that all distance education students, regardless of where they are located, have access to library/learning resources adequate to support the courses they are taking (see section "Library Resources" in the table "Comparison of Student Services Offered Face-to-Face and Externally/Online" [46].


Supporting Documentation: