Author Archives: jlkoste

Hours at Tompkins-McCaw Library

I really feel that the TML hours should be extended to a later time, at least until midnight. Many students on the MCV campus complain that the library closes at 9 pm and think that it should be open longer, just like Hunton. Now that the 2nd floor has been renovated and a lot of students are using it to study, it would benefit a lot of us on the MCV campus. The second floor of TML is the only place on the MCV campus that is large, open, and quiet. Although CIRC and Sanger are open 24/7, they do not have an open environment and are just full of cubicles, which is not very welcoming. Hunton is more open, but there are often people there who are talking; it is not always a quiet environment. All of these are reasons why I feel that keeping TML open longer would benefit medical students such as myself and everyone one else on the MCV campus.

From: a first professional student

Teresa Knott, Director of Tompkins-McCaw Library, replies…

Thank you for your suggestion.  Our Graduate Student Advisory Council has very strongly advocated this position as well.  Among the Tompkins-McCaw Library (TML) and VCU Libraries administration, we have begun to discuss options for how we would execute and fund extending the hours at TML.  In the next year, I believe that we will be able to do this.  We will likely start with a one-year pilot of extended hours where we assess the project at intervals.  There are many logistics to work out, but it is possible that we will launch the one-year pilot in early 2013.
In the meantime, the TML Learning Center @ Hunton and Hunton Hall are open later.  Also, the James Branch Cabell Library has a 24/5 schedule where the building opens Sunday at 10:00 AM and closes Friday at 10:00 PM.  As a graduate or professional student, you are entitled to use the John Mapp Graduate Study and Reading Room at Cabell, lcated on the fourth floor. To have access, you would need to ask the staff at the Circulation desk to add your identification card information to the access system.

Purchase Suggestion

Is the VCU library thinking of subscribing to Scopus literature search engine? I think this would be a valuable asset to faculty and students at VCU.

From: a faculty member
Lynne Turman, Head of TML Collections, replies…
Thank you for the comments and suggestion.  Scopus has been under consideration but it represents a significant financial commitment and at this point we are not able to entertain a subscription.  We will continue to evaluate the product and negotiate for more favorable pricing.  VCU Libraries does subscribe to Web of Science which has many of the same features as Scopus and provides coverage back to 1965.  Thank you again for taking the time to send us your comments.  

Printing from the Electronic Theses and Dissertations database

HELLO I print copies of abstracts archived in the Library’s EDT system and use them to confirm dissertation tiles inserted into the SOP graduation bulletin. I thought the EDT screen page had a “printer friendly” icon on the page last semester. When I print copies of the abstract now, I get a print outs that show the abstract title twice in bold print. I tried two other printers in our office and they also print out as you see them. Has any other Dept. contacted your office about how abstracts print out? Is there a way to get a “printer friendly” icon placed on page so that abstracts print uniformly. I have copies of the finished product and can send them to you if you would like to review them. Thanks for considering this request. Page where “printer friendly” ICON would be helpful:

From a staff member

Jimmy Gaphery, Head of Library Information Systems replies…

Thank you for the great suggestion. The print display for the Electronic Theses and Dissertations did indeed need improvement. We have made some adjustments to improve the print display to eliminate the duplicate titles and some of the other extraneous information that was displaying. For most abstracts the printed version should now be contained neatly on a single page.


Please stagger maintenance of bikeshare bicycles in the future and don’t
hold them for a whole week prior to that maintenance, it is unnecessary
and inconvenient.

From: a first professional student

Steve Barkley, Evening and Sunday Supervisor replies…

Thank you for your suggestion about staggering bicycle maintenance. I
am sorry for inconveniencing you as we continue to develop our pilot
bike lending program.

We are trying to work within the schedule of the RamBike coordinator,
and therefore needed to make sure that the bikes would all be available
at once for him to perform maintenance. We have had them on hold since
Monday night because, given their possible loan period of 48 hours, they
would all be returned by Wednesday night and ready for a tune-up in the
morning.. In the future we will suggest a staggered maintenance
schedule to ensure continued bike availability and to avoid
inconveniencing our patrons. Thank you again for your suggestion.

Restrooms and Doors

I am a new student at the School of Nursing and have been using the
Tompkins-McCaw library much this summer. I will to use TML into the
forthcoming semesters. However, I have a few observations, The Men’s
bathroom on the main floor has been in a state of disrepair since late
May, whether it is the lack of cleanliness, broken fixtures or the poor
plumbing, there seems to be a real contradiction in terms here given the
fact that TML is used by mainly future healthcare professionals. It
would be nice to see this part of the facility improved.
My other suggestion is that the door leading from the main floor to the
stacks be fixed or replaced. I am not sure if it is the hinges or the
pneumatic hinge at the top of the door or the door just not being
aligned correctly but every time it is opened or closed it serves as a
distraction to all who are within earshot to both those in the stacks or
those on the main floor. I am sure this is a simple repair or
replacement and it would go a long way to removing a distraction from
the library.
Thank you for taking these suggestions into consideration.

From: an undergraduate student

Jodi Koste, Head of TML Resources and Operations, replies…

Welcome to VCU and thank you for taking the time to submit your suggestions. The doors to Stack Level C are old and quite noisy.  The high humidity of the summers plays havoc with our older doors.  We have submitted a request to VCU Physical Plant to make adjustments so that the doors will close more quietly.

The restrooms in our aging building are also a challenge. They are cleaned nightly with some limited mid-day service. Our staff periodically inspects the facility along with the University’s contractor administrator for housekeeping services. We realized that the restrooms are not always up to the standards maintained in other buildings on the MCV Campus which must meet requirements for clinical facilities. Nevertheless we do try to address both cleanliness and facilities issues in our restrooms. If you encounter future problems with the restrooms, please report them to the TML Service Desk and we will do our best to resolve them. We do hope to renovate and update our restroom facilities in the future.

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Surge protectors and extension cords for loan

Surge strips or extension cords should be on loan during high traffic times, such as during midterm and finals studying!

From: an undergraduate student

Jodi Koste, Head of TML Resources and Operations, replies…

Thank you for your suggestion. At the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences you will find surge protectors/extension cords available for loan for use within the building. Stop by our Service Desk to check out this equipment or to learn more about the items available for loan when you are working in the library.

Library Computer speed

Is it just me or are the computers at TML incredibly buggy and slow? I’m
not sure if this is a software issue related to the new Windows or an
update issue or what. I am having constant difficulty with both IE and
Firefox running incredibly slowly, frequently freezing up, not accessing
certain sites correctly, etc. I just restarted the computer I was using,
and it said it was installing 7 updates. Then I continued to have the
same problems as before. I have noticed this on several different
machines. Any information on whether this is a Windows issue, a network
issue, a hardware issue, or what?

From: a staff member

Jimmy Ghaphery, Head of Library Information Systems, replies…

Thank you for the suggestion. We strive to provide technology that makes a positive difference for our users and thus regret the problems you experienced. We have taken a closer look at our current public computers and have not been able to duplicate these problems. The one point in your message about pending Windows updates is especially interesting, and we will investigate how we might better schedule these. In the future please report problems to a service desk and note the applications you were accessing so we can do more troubleshooting.

Electronic Access to Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology

Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology is book series by Springer and this is series very useful for researches. Its my kind request to make some arrangement so that VCU people can download the full text.

From: a staff member

Lynne Turman, Head of Tompkins-McCaw Library Collections, replies…

Thank you for the suggestion. According to the publisher, the online version of this book series is not available to purchase individually. It is part of a larger package of e-books from Springer. VCU Libraries is interested in obtaining the Springer collection but the cost is over $200,000 for one imprint year. We will continue to try and negotiate more favorable pricing. Thank you again for taking the time to contact us with your comment.

Delivery of Library Materials

I would like to suggest that the libraries adopt a “netflix” type service with all books/journals available in the libraries. If we (faculty, staff) could order materials and have them delivered to our offices on campus, that would be fantastic, and I would use the libraries much more. Currently, it is difficult to walk/drive and make the time to go the libraries to get materials (dropping off is more convenient), and so I usually go elsewhere or do without. I know that many other universities have this system set up, and think it would be great to have here as well.

From: a faculty member

Shirley Thomas, Head of Resource Delivery Services replies…

VCU Libraries currently offers a Book/Media Delivery service to all users. Staff will retrieve and arrange delivery of books and other media held in the VCU Libraries collection to the patrons home or office.

* Patrons who are eligible for our enhanced services receive this service for free. For more information and to determine if you qualify for this service go to
* Patrons who are not eligible for free book/media delivery service are charged a $5 fee per filled request. To request this service, you must make sure
1. your ILLiad profile indicates ‘ Mail to Address’ in the Loan Delivery Method field and
2. you reply ‘Yes’ to the first question on the ILLiad request form….’ Is this item available in the VCU Libraries collection?’.

VCU Libraries also has a ‘free copy pilot’ underway. This pilot provides free copies of articles and book chapters of materials from the VCUL collections to faculty, staff, and Health System employees. Normally, there is a $5 fee for this service.

VCU Libraries has surveyed peer institution and discussed ways to offer these services to all users without charging. Unfortunately, due to staffing and cost, we are not able to provide these services for free to all VCU Libraries users. We hope that when the budgetary climate improves, we will be able to expand these services.

We hope that the current ‘book/media service’ and the ‘pilot free copy’ service will fulfill most of your needs. Let us know if you have additional questions by contacting us at 804-828-1115 or

Encyclopedia Suggestion

I came across this online encyclopedia by wiley interscience – encyclopedia of reagents for organic synthesis. It is pretty helpful but I don’t think it is available to us VCU students. Please see if you could make this available to us.

From: a graduate student

Lynne Turman, Head of Collections at Tompkins-McCaw Library replies…

Thank you for the suggestion to subscribe to the online version of the Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis. A one-year subscription to this reference work is over $6,000 and the print copy can be purchased for $8,500. The present budget for new acquisitions is insufficient to fund a subscription or print copy at this time. However, we are always interested in hearing from you about items to consider in the future. For your convenience, materials in any format may be requested by submitting the Purchase Suggestion Form ( ) located on the VCU Libraries web site. Again, thank you for your interest in helping VCU Libraries build the best collection of resources to serve the University’s research and academic communities.