Field Trip to Oviatt Library Report
The purpose of the field trip is to understand the processes and operation of a library. I chose the Oviatt Library, my college campus library since it is easy to access. This report is a description of the library, the organization of workstations, standard procedures, equipment, employees, and resources. The library was chosen for this assignment for it reduces the cost of travel and time. This is because there are little effort and time required in preparation for approval from library staff, for I am a member of the library and a student at California State University. The field trip offers a hands-on experience of the real-life application of business management practices in a library. A description of the library, analysis of the library functions and processes, and recommendations are presented.
Oviatt library is located at the heart of California State University. The library is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 A.M. to midnight, and until 11:00 P.M. on Friday and Saturday. The library is organized into four floors and a basement, with each floor having two sets of restrooms and copy machines.
The first floor has a lobby with an information booth to the left, and a coffee booth situated in the middle of the lobby. To the right of the information, the booth is a circulation desk that assists library users to locate books and reading materials. In addition, the lobby is fitted with two payphones and a reference service desk. From the lobby, the user enters the main library with different locations marked “Lab A,” “Lab B,” “Presentation Room” to the right of Lab A, and the “AS/RS viewing room.”
The second floor of Oviatt library houses the “Special collection and reading room” and the “music/media and lecture room.” The special collection and reading room has a different access clearance for students or the members of the public. This section contains rare manuscripts, books, and rare publications, and scholarly scripts. Part of the collection in the Oviatt library entails modern western manuscripts, medieval manuscripts, and oriental manuscripts, which are available to library users through advance booking. However, some of the rare collections of manuscripts require special permission from the library staff prior to booking. The level of access to rare and special manuscripts depends on the level of clearance of the user. Level A cardholders can access and handle manuscripts and books pre-17th century. However, level S and V cardholders can only consult these materials through the library staff and include all undergraduate students.
The media room is fitted with computers, video, and audio equipment for priority use Oviatt students from the music department and school of arts. The media/music room has sound recording equipment including audio cassettes, compact disks, videos, multimedia CD-ROMs, and different music software. Headphones used in this room are distributed at the circulation desk. Oviatt library allows students to bring their own laptops and portable CD players to listen in the room. There are bookshelves on this floor with instruction labels on how to locate the correct book. This section also has several rows of computer desks between the bookshelves for students to use. On each side of the bookshelves are rows of tables located along the outer walls of the library used as reading desks.
The third floor has several study rooms available for group study activities. These study rooms are accessible from Monday to Thursday from 8:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. and from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. on Fridays. The rooms are fitted with study desks, chairs, with some having whiteboards and screens. To the left of the study, rooms are the library administration offices and staff desks. To the right is the “Collaboratory,” which provides a room for library users to work together on researches. The Collaboratory provides facilities like computers, a large plasma screen, multimedia presentation equipment, wireless internet connection, and sitting equipment for a group of 12.
The fourth and last floor has the “Tech Services Department,” which repairs damaged cooks and texts. This department makes orders for new books and manuscripts or publications for the campus. To the right is the “Periodicals and Microfilms” that processes, stores, and distributes microfilms and periodicals including newspapers to library users. There are over one hundred part-time and full-time students working in the library besides the full-time staff.
The library trip revealed various important aspects of the management of a library. I learned the value of effective business communication. This was required in accessing the library resources and departments, especially the special collection room. I learned that business communication is important as this enabled me to create a rapport with the staff that explained to me the working of the library. Business communication is widely used in the library as staff refers students to different areas and workstations in the library. Memos and letters are used between library staff and management, while notices are posted to communicate between the library and users. There is communication between the information desk, library administration, circulation desk, special collections, and archives during my interview with the staff.
The field trip revealed that a library is like a business organization that uses organizational structure, culture, mission, vision, value, and objectives. Organizational culture and structure are evident in the overall arrangement of facilities, equipment, and staff from the lobby to the fourth floor. The structure of the library is evident in the different levels of personnel departments. The library administrative offices are on the third floor in the west wing of the library. These are managed by the Dean University library, Associate dean, Secretary, Interim director of IT, and Academic Resources Manager. There is an order in the library in terms of the arrangement of rooms, bookshelves, and reading area. Order is also evident in terms of library user reference from the lobby’s information, circulation, and reference desks to the special and reading room.
I learned a library like a business carries out business functions like receiving, acquiring, selecting, processing, invoicing, and cataloging library materials. It is evident that there more organizational functions like management, communication, and various business processes taking place in a library.
The field trip experience shows the organization of a library as an organization, in terms of structure, workstations, and functional areas. The trip reveals that there are sections not allowed to students, especially the rare book and manuscript archive. These documents have useful and key information pertinent to academic research and studies. Therefore, this report recommends that these documents are electronically documented and their electronic copies made available to undergraduate students.