Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes – Oct. 18, 2018

Presentation by John Ulmschneider

Photos by Jay Paul

Also in attendance: Sue Robinson, Emily Hurst, Steve Barkley, Parker Webster, Nisha Parekh, Hala Hasan, Jennifer Hodge, Reyna Fuentes, Benjamin Mavelil, Danielle Recupero, Kaelah Pou, Zara Zahid, Sharon Lack

Meeting opened with introductions of University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, John Ulmschneider. Photographer Jay Paul was on hand to take photos of the committee members during the session.

Before the presentation began:

  • Question from a student about library opening earlier.
  • Some discussion about who uses Cabell library and how frequently
  • Almost all of the members are also using Cabell Library.  

John provided a presentation on VCU Libraries

  • Stressed the importance of having a new medical library in a research university
  • Overview of ARL status and ACRL award
  • Information about how library spaces are evolving was provided
  • Sanger Series lecture was highlighted

Cabell Library Information

  • Cabell library building use information showing over 2 million visitors
  • The number of visits per student is increasing at both libraries

Big issues for discussion

  • New library for MCV
  • Library’s affordable course content efforts
  • Interfaith meditation space at Cabell
  • Cost of journal subscriptions very high on MCV campus
  • New strategic plan for VCU libraries


How will moving the books impact library access?

  • Library will remain open during relocation of the collection.

What about parking on 12th street?

  • There will be some trucks and noise but we are unsure about how much of an impact that will have on 12th Street traffic.

What about online use?

  • No interruptions expected.

Sanger Series – everyone was encouraged to go

  • Can recording be made virtually available?
  • We have the capability to stream and make those available in other forms
  • Some are put online if they meet closed captioning requirements and the speaker agrees

Affordable Course Content

  • Course textbook cost is very high
  • Students do not want to buy books and this can mean lowered success in the course
  • Free, open educational resources or low cost
  • Materials can be just a good but they are available for free
  • Also more easily remixed
  • Faculty may not know a lot about ACC or Open Educational Resources

Question about would these be digital only?

  • Yes but some have options to print for only $25 per book

VCU has already saved over 1 million dollars through ACC efforts

  • High enrollment courses are the target for early ACC efforts

Open Textbook initiative focused on getting faculty to develop these resources

  • VCU Libraries is hiring someone to focus on this for VCU will aid in accelerating the process

Redesign course efforts

  • Library worked to get the state to fund a statewide initiative
  • General assembly awarded VIVA money to promote this and create a portal
  • More progress expected to be seen

A student shared that they mostly only use PDFs, and that a lot of things are tied to Board Exams are needed.  Faculty members appear to prefer textbooks.

Will textbook initiative impact journal budget?

  • No, they are separate.

University has strongly supported the library’s effort to invest in resources

A student shared that she spent about $400 on textbooks

  • Has access to some e-textbooks
  • Has 3-4 hardcopy text books because ebook was not available

Fundraising efforts at this time for VCU LIbraries is to build an interfaith space at Cabell Library

  • Will be on 3rd floor of Cabell library
  • Large space 40 x 40 space
  • John hopes this will be an exemplar for other libraries
  • There is a need to think about having a space like this on the MCV campus
  • Need to plan this into the building from the beginning

Cabell Library does engraving of stethoscopes in the Workshop.

  • Students were very interested in how they could do this at TML

Students reminded to inform Steve or Emily if there are other things that are needed.

Meeting Minutes – Sept. 20, 2018

Present:Steve Barkley, Emily Hurst, Teresa Knott, Reyna Fuentes, Robin Kelsey, Nisha Parekh, Benjamin Mavelil, Hala Hasan, Kayla Stepanova, Jennifer Hodge, Zara Zahid, Danielle Recupero, Kaelah Pou, Sharon Lack

Start time: 12:03 p.m.

Steve Barkley provided a presentation on the role of the Student Advisory Committee and the Tompkins-McCaw Library. Slides from the presentation will be shared with the committee.

Teresa Knott then provided an update on the library and its relocation plans.

  • The current library building will be replaced by two buildings/towers for VCU Health
  • Overview of what we are hoping to have in the TML space
  • Will add new spaces while also repurposing current furniture
  • Discussion about some of the features that new building will feature
  • Would like the building to be open 24/7
  • Some discussion about space including:
    • The desire for an outdoor location
    • Ability to access items in storage
    • Natural light is needed
    • Will the study rooms be soundproofed?
      • There is hope this will be the case
  • University Librarian and Teresa attended a meeting about the VCU Master Site plan
    • In the future, Woods and Lyons will come down and a new library building will be included in this location


  • Space: Will it be more? No, the library will lose about 6,000 sq of user space in the temporary facility
  • Are all special collections digitized? No, some too fragile and there are too many for them to do this.
  • This move is a temporary move? Yes, this is part of a move before the next library building

The session concluded with Steve and Emily providing an overview of other aspects and services of VCU Libraries and Tompkins-McCaw Library.

Meeting Minutes – Oct. 19, 2017

  1. Housekeeping
    1. Steve confirmed that everyone could access the Google Group. Emails are coming through.
    2. As per suggestion from last meeting: loaner projectors have been purchased and will arrive soon. Can be checked out at the Service Desk once they here.
  2. Recap:
    1. Guest speaker from first session was Teresa Knott. She provided figures about budgeting in VCU Libraries and some information about future plans for the library.  
  3. Today’s Guest: John Ulmschneider – Director VCU Libraries
    1. John thanked all those in attendance and those who were participating on their second year in the committee. VCU Libraries values student feedback.
    2. Happy to announce that VCU Libraries becomes a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Jan. 2018.
    3. Plans for the library and things going forward
      1. New health sciences library is major asset to research and attracts new students.
      2. Will need a lot of student input to create the new library, share stories to help with design.
      3. There will be opportunity for students to shape the future of the library.
      4. Help is greatly needed and we need students to share and get their colleagues to provide feedback as well.
      5. Off-site storage location needed.
  4. Open discussion with students
    1. Need for multidisciplinary care and for all students to work toward value based model of care.
    2. Creating a collaborative space
    3. Distinguishable building – should stand out and be its own space
    4. Open and inviting
    5. Windows are important to add to the new space
    6. Private group study rooms – many are needed
    7. Furniture purchased should be configured as needed
    8. Communities that are served by the library will have different needs at different times
    9. Consider library services for PIs and how to serve students and PIs in one location through the library.
    10. How can the library make grant funding more competitive through space?

Meeting Minutes – Sept. 21, 2017

Guest Speaker: Teresa Knott, Associate University Librarian and Director for Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences

  1. Welcome
    1. Steve Barkley welcomed members to the Graduate Advisory Committee and allowed time for everyone to introduce themselves.
    2. Steve addressed committee expectations and the importance of attendance. Attendance is required and make up sessions will be necessary if you cannot attend the scheduled group meeting. Let Steve know as soon as possible if you cannot make a meeting. At the end of the year each member is eligible for a $100 service award which can be applied to tuition.
    3. Steve then provided a library overview and general orientation. Topics included:
      1. Access to both Cabell and Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences
      2. Address and hours for the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences
      3. How to reserve study rooms at the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences
      4. Emily Hurst provided an overview of the library liaison program and services provided through the Research and Education Department including access to the Community Health Education Center.
      5. was mentioned as the best way to contact anyone in the Research and Education Department.
      6. Steve provided an overview of Special Collections and Archives. Library equipment for loan, and access to other library spaces including the Workshop at Cabell. The library’s social media accounts were also shared.
  2. Welcome from Teresa L. Knott, Director and Associate University Librarian
    1. Provided overview VCU Libraries leadership for the group. She discussed VCU Libraries collections and status and provided an overview of the current budget. She highlighted VCU Libraries commitment to renewing resources. Teresa spoke about funding sources including HEETF and STF how these funds have been used at TML. The student library fee was also discussed. Last year the student library fee was used to fund a renovation of the first floor at the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences. Teresa introduced the committee to the VCU Master Plan update for the MCV Campus which will require TML to relocate. VCU Libraries is advocating for future vision about where the library will be relocated to and how the VCU Master Plan will impact the library.
    2. Some things on the wishlist for a new library include:
      1. Open spaces
      2. More group study rooms
      3. Writing surfaces
      4. Configurable spaces
      5. Accessibility improvements
      6. Recording studio
      7. Natural Light
  3. Open discussion followed and students were asked about what they would like to see in a new health sciences library.

Meeting Minutes – Oct. 22, 2015

Guest Speaker: Associate University Librarian and Library Director for Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, Teresa L. Knott
Topic: Possible Library Renovations

Teresa thanked group for their feedback and encouraged them to share any ideas either during this meeting or after.
Announced plan to renovate first floor.
Working on having a plan in place in case library gets funds at the end of the year.
Still not sure if funds will be available but want to have a project in place if the library does.

Teresa shared plans from architect with the group.
Same firm was used for the Multimedia Collaboration Room and for Cabell so they are familiar with academic library needs and design.

Teresa provided the following in her overview:

  1. Desire to make service desk smaller
  2. Adding more transitional space
  3. Computers around pillars remain
  4. Addition restaurant style banquette seating
  5. Moving large group seating/study booth from second floor to first
  6. Removal of security guard station
  7. High table for fly-by activities in central area
  8. Possibility of removing some computers from first floor (will not replace)

Student asked about kiosks for laptop loaning: Teresa said it is not currently something that the library was considering. Laptops can still be checked out at the service desk.
Tables added to the first floor would likely be easy to move.
Students expressed concern over the removal of computers from the library.
Students said they liked to have the larger screen and used computers in the library frequently. Students with Macs said it was easier to use a library PC to gain access to Microsoft Office programs.

Teresa and Steve assured the group that they were looking at data and trying to understand the data to help the library make a decision about removing computers, if any.

Students said they liked having ability to connect to their laptop to a large or dual screen
Steve reminded the group that there are some dongles available for checkout at the service desk so even those with Macs can connect.

Teresa asked the students if they preferred chairs with fixed legs or with wheels.

Student said it depends on what options, lumbar support, move-able arms, etc the chair can provide.
Students were surprised that previous feedback suggested fixed chairs were more popular.
Student said they like more comfortable chairs but rolling tables.
Student mentioned Hunton as a good place for comfortable chairs.

Teresa mentioned that treadmill desks were a possibility in Hunton.

Students were excited about this and asked for more information on having more standing desks on the first floor of Tompkins-McCaw Library. Student would like more standing options, not just drive by areas, more larger are to spread items out while standing. Teresa mentioned that the drive-by space would be powered. Students also expressed interested in sit/stand options.

Teresa will speak with designers about current cafe space and the space upstairs once large booth is moved to first floor.

Students shared their desire for more private spaces.
Students like the dog bone style desks already on second floor because space is separated.

Teresa mentioned that the fake plants would likely be removed as they are dated and collect a lot of dust.

Students expressed interest in:

  1. Bringing coffee/cafe back to the library
  2. Having rental lockers
  3. Making sure the exhibit spaces were still easy to see and get to/attractive
  4. Having more hand sanitizer stations in the library
  5. The possibility of bringing the Lego Exhibit to the library

Steve reminded the group about our potluck Thanksgiving event next month and will send an invite to the group. Date for event is Nov. 19.

Group was invited to the art exhibit opening tonight.


Meeting Minutes – Sept. 17, 2015

2015-16 Welcome meeting

I. Introductions – Members and librarians introduced themselves.

II. TML GAC Expectations – Steve Barkely

  • Provided an overview of the  Graduate Advisory Expectations.
  • Students were reminded that if they cannot make a session they will need to make it up the session and to let an advisor know as soon as possible if you cannot attend.

III. Communications – Emily Hurst

  • Provided an overview of how communication would work
  • Announced that Google Group would be coming soon and serve as the main form of communication.
  • Group communication can be used by the rest of the group, not limited to just Steve and Emily.
  • Reminded group about access to the website and that minutes will be posted there.
  • Watch for an email to the group linking to the website and the minutes.

IV. Introduction to VCU Libraries and the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences – Steve Barkley

  • Overview of spaces and floors was provided
  • Special Collections & Archives Reading Room as well as holdings were mentioned
  • Study Spaces located on second floor, can be reserved online
  • 2nd floor is quiet study space – Comfortable seating
  • Stacks (throughout building) – are also quiet area
  • Multimedia Collaboration Room (Basement) provides access to software, whiteboard walls, movable seating
  • The TML GAC helps the library make decisions about future space plans, we listen to your recommendations.
  • This group has contributed to things that impact facilities and operations which includes library hours. Example: This year opening at 9 a.m. on Sundays.
  • Other things that have come out of this group include the Writing Center, loaning Macbooks, having display adapters available, presentation clickers for check out,  coffee machine and more.

V. Emily provided an overview of Research and Education services including search consultations and in-class sessions. Emily also mentioned library workshops and other upcoming events including:

  • Oct. 9 – Edith Cavell Exhibit Welcome Reception
  • Oct. 22 – New art exhibit opening reception

VI. Other business

  • Steve announced Cabell construction tour opportunity. Students expressed interest in this. Email will be sent to students for sign up.

Meeting Minutes – April 30, 2015

  1. Teresa L. Knott, Director of TML and Associate University Librarian, led a discussion on the 2015-2016 Student Technology Fee (STF) Proposals
    • Discussed TML-related requests, including:
      >>> Updating the TML Distance Education Classroom’s videoconferencing equipment
      >>> Replacing public computers that will be going off warranty
      >>> Purchasing GoPro cameras
      >>> Purchasing solid state drives for TML mobile classroom
    • Some student comments on our STF requests:
      >>> Strong support for dual monitors at the public computers on TML’s 2nd floor
      >>> GoPro cameras
      ——->>> Need to be well advertised.
      ——->>> Suggestion to advertise for its use in labs, where graduate students or PIs record a certain procedure for junior students to review when needed.
      ——->>> Suggestion to rent for 48 hours at a time.
      ——->>> Make sure we purchase associated accessories — head mount, helmet, etc.
      ——->>> Target instructors — good potential teaching tool. Especially for simulations.
      ——->>> Ask liaisons to advertise that GoPro cameras are available at TML.
  2. What did you enjoy doing as part of TMLGAC this year? What would you like to see us do next year?
    • Enjoyed learning about the variety of services the library offers; suggestion to include database searching/liaison services for one TMLGAC session
    • We recruit a diverse group of students from different schools so we could ask them to advertise (e.g. forward emails) for us; you’re more likely to read an email from someone you know than from someone you don’t.
    • Filling out surveys prior to meetings made one student feel more engaged with TMLGAC.
    • Assign TMLGAC members mini-assignments. Eg) “Ask 5 people you know in your school at different levels….”
    • Work more closely with SGA (or GSA).
      >>> SGA may be able to cover the cost of therapy dog donations.
      >>> Table at SGA stress free zone in Larrick.
    • Request from Teresa: Share the names of faculty who you think would be receptive to library services or instruction in the classroom!
  3. TML Hours during Bike Race in September (
    • TMLGAC students didn’t feel that having limited hours (8am-5pm) at TML during the bike race would negatively impact them.

Please contact Karen at if you do not receive your $100 honorarium within the next couple of weeks.

Thank you for your contributions to TMLGAC. We appreciate the feedback you’ve provided us and hope that the experience has been informative and enjoyable for you as well. Have a wonderful summer!

Meeting Minutes – March 26, 2015

There was no meeting in February due to inclement weather. A survey was completed by TMLGAC members to count toward their February attendance.

  1. Emily Hurst, Head of TML’s Research and Education department, led a discussion on our survey results
    • There are library liaisons for each school on the MCV campus:
    • VCU Libraries is on social media. TML has its own accounts on Twitter and Facebook — students are invited to like and follow us!
    • Some student comments:
      >>> Publicize news in our bathroom stalls (via The Well or our own newsletter)
      >>> Assignments are helpful for retaining information.
      >>> Online, asynchronous webinars would be useful.
      >>> Some interest in scientific writing workshops — reports, grant writing, how to start a proposal (formatting), how to prepare for publication — although one student said that he defers to his PI for that information.
      >>> Use social media for changes in our hours, etc.
      >>> Social media contests are interesting to students.
      ——->>> VCU paraphernalia make good prizes.

      ——->>> Free printed posters are also good incentives for student participation.
  2. Request for Certificates indicating TMLGAC participation
  3. Introduction to Margaret Henderson, Director of Research Data Management
    • Research data management support
    • Discussed Scholars Compass, VCU’s Institutional Repository
      >>> Read your publishing agreement and negotiate with your publisher if you want to retain certain rights. SPARC’s author rights.
      >>> Add posters to Scholars Compass.
      >>> Add pre-print/post-print/publisher’s version of your article (if your publishing agreement permits you to do so).

Meeting Review – January 22, 2015

  1. Introduction to Emily Hurst, Head, Research and Education department at TML
  2. Introduction to VCU Libraries’ web team
    • Erin White, Web Systems Librarian at VCU Libraries
    • Shariq Torres, Web Application Analyst
    • Alison Tinker, Web Designer
  3. Task run-throughs
    • TMLGAC members broke up into small groups (with 1+ observer/group)
    • Talk-aloud protocol explained
    • TMLGAC members completed tasks using the talk-aloud protocol
      — Task 1: Make a study room reservation using VCU Libraries’ website
      — Task 2: Cancel the reservation
      — Task 3: Switch to mobile and repeat
  4. Group discussion
  5. Clarification on TMLGAC email list policy
    • For now, TMLGAC emails will remain limited to library-related posts
    • We highly encourage TMLGAC members to publicize events that others might be interested in by bringing that information to one of our meetings

In November, TMLGAC members were invited to join TML for its Thanksgiving celebration. The December meeting was canceled due to a scheduling conflict.

Meeting Minutes – October 30, 2014

  1. Student Discussion: PhD Posters vs. VCU Libraries’ poster service
  2. Guest: John Ulmschneider, University Librarian
    • A student library fee ($50/year) was recently implemented.
      • This fee will be used for things relevant to students on both campuses, but will not go towards costs related to collections, research services, and automated services.
        • At Cabell Library, the student fees are being used to:
          • support the new Innovative Media Lab, which will include a makerspace with 3D printing, data visualization tools, a gaming room, among other things.
          • staff and sustain 24-hour service in the expanded library space.
        • At Tompkins-McCaw Library (TML), the student fees are being used to:
          • staff our new, extended hours.
          • conduct a consultancy and design survey for TML.
        • When Cabell Library’s construction is complete, there will be a dedicated facility on the 4th floor for all VCU graduate students and faculty.
      • VCU leadership is interested in ensuring student success for graduate and professional students, not just undergraduates.
  3. Open Discussion
    • Has providing 24-hour service at Cabell been a strain on library finances?
      • There are nontrivial costs (e.g. security costs) involved in keeping Cabell open around the clock, but heavy library use during the overnight hours makes it worthwhile.
      • Usage rates during extended TML hours are being closely monitored.
    •  Late night transportation is an issue.
      • There are different telephone numbers for escort services on each campus.
      • Escort services on the MCV campus are slow to respond.
      • Limited bus service during the summertime is inconvenient and unfair since the MCV campus doesn’t go on break during the summer.
      • Security is key to longer hours at TML.
    •  Access to library resources.
      • Why are students who are affiliated with the MCV campus being directed to pick up their library books at Cabell? (Steve B. will investigate.)
      • Interlibrary Loan is fantastic for articles!
      • For articles and book chapters that are physically available at TML/Cabell, are we scanning and sending them to students electronically, free of charge? (Karen G. will investigate.)
    •  Suggestions for additional services/resources that TML could offer:
      • 24-hour service (including weekends) when final exams are taking place.
      • Statistics consulting services through graduate assistantships.
      • Workshops on how to use specialized software for presenting data.
        (John U. is currently in discussions on how to support extensive data visualization/modeling capabilities at Cabell and will extend some of those conversations to include TML as well. He also commented that there are many useful services offered within programs/departments that are not widely available to the VCU community; he would like to see this change.)
      • Online, on-demand recordings of regularly held workshops, like ones for PubMed and RefWorks. Suggestion to use Echo360. (Karen G. will follow up on this.)
    •  VCU Libraries needs to make a stronger effort to educate the VCU community on:
      • the advantages of publishing in open access journals.
      • using metrics other than impact factors (e.g. altmetrics) to determine where to publish and/or to measure the impact of a scholarly work.