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Readying the Olive for Fall 2011

By Christian Feuerstein ‘94

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio – November 1, 2010 – The Olive Kettering Library moves steadily forward with facility renovations and updates to its collections as the College prepares for the fall 2011 arrival of its first 25 students.

The library exterior has already received a face-lift – new brickwork on the south-facing wall as well as pressure-cleaning of the front entrance, which requires some further renovation.

The interior, however, still needs work, said Ritch Kerns, head of technical operations (Photo: Kerns [left] with Scott Sanders, archivist). The library needs cleaning, painting and carpeting, Kerns said. “We’re under a time crunch, and there’s a lot to do.”

Kerns has been with the Olive Kettering Library since June of 2000. In September of 2010, he became a full-time employee of Antioch College, as the library is now a fully College-owned asset.

Tom Kirk is the College’s interim academic administrator. In addition to leading faculty searches, the former library director and coordinator of information services at Earlham College is lending his 39 years of experience in academic library and resource management to strategic planning for Olive Kettering Library.

“What [the College] is aiming for is to create a place that’s comfortable and inviting, and is an academic and social center for the campus,” he said. “Students need a quiet place for individual study and spaces for group study.”

Kirk has already made some significant recommendations. For instance, he has recommended that Olive Kettering subscribe to JSTOR  to complement its subscription to OHIOLink. JSTOR offers a large collection of full-text journals.

Kirk has also recommended a systematic review of the library’s print collections. “The building is full, and it’s not clear how applicable the collection is to supporting the new curriculum,” he said.

“The goal is to serve the curricula, and make available high-quality scholarly material for students, faculty and staff,” Kerns said. “We are aware and sensitive to the fact that this collection represents our institutional memory in many respects, as our faculty throughout the decades have contributed the ideas on what items would best represent the College’s scholarly endeavors—not to mention many of the friends of the library who have donated their personal collections.”

A review of the library’s collection will be a slow, deliberate process with many levels of vetting. An overall review of the collection hasn’t occurred in approximately a decade, Kerns said.

A review of the print collections will begin with the journals. The library staff has already compiled what is available electronically through OhioLINK and JSTOR with its print collections. “Bound periodicals, when the electronic versions are available, will be offered to other academic libraries in Ohio,” Kerns said. “We are way over capacity in regard to bound periodicals, and for the most part, electronic versions of journals are easier to access and more familiar to students. There will be exceptions to this approach as we look at the data further.”

Reviewing the library’s collection of books will be an “intensive task,” Kerns said.

Kerns said the goal is to “create a robust and abundant scholarly environment with a balance of online and in-print resources that respects and reflects Antioch College’s rich tradition.”

Kerns and Kirk are also looking at opportunities to maximize the space available in Olive Kettering Library.

“The furniture and layout need to be modernized,” Kirk said. He added: “We need more group study spaces for collaborative learning. We need furniture that is comfortable and flexible, that can be repositioned. We need to create an environment that is open to today’s students.”


Gariot P. Louima 

Chief Communications Officer
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