Skip to content

TOUR – Serving Our Users: An Ohio Dominican Perspective

WHEN: Monday, February 22, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00pm
WHERE: ODU Library
Spangler Learning Center
1216 Sunbury Road
Columbus, Ohio 43219
COST: Free!

RSVP: by February 17, 2016 –

Join the Central Ohio Chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology (CO-ASIS&T) and presenters Michelle Sarff and Christina Bonner for a program about Ohio Dominican University’s patron-driven Library.

Ohio Dominican University is a small, private, Catholic university. ODU Library’s mission is to promote information literacy and inspire lifelong learning by providing personalized service and access to resources while addressing the research needs of the university community. Attendees will gain an understanding of ODU Library’s unique users and the Library’s response to serve its constituents, including user services, online presence, building space planning, curriculum engagement, involvement in university accreditation, and collaboration with other departments.

Michelle Sarff is the Head Librarian at ODU Library and the liaison to the Arts & Letters Division. She has a Master of Library and Information Science and a Bachelor’s degree in English. As director of the library, Michelle’s responsibilities include services management, budget management, outreach, grant writing, as well as reference, instruction, and collection development.

Christina Bonner is the Reference & Instruction Services Coordinator at ODU Library and also serves as liaison to the Division of Business and the Mathematics and Computer & Natural Sciences Division. She has a Master of Library and Information Science and a PhD in German.  Her responsibilities include reference and instruction, online learning, related web page management, and collection development.

CO-ASIS&T visited the Ohio Dominican University Spangler Learning Center on February 22 for a tour and presentation to learn about their users and challenges. The tour and presentation was conducted by Michelle Sarff, Head Librarian, and Christina Bonner, Reference and Instruction Services Coordinator.

Ohio Dominican University, a Catholic liberal arts university in Columbus, is home to 2,700 students in 45 undergraduate programs and 10 graduate programs. The library primarily serves the students, faculty and staff of the university, but services are also open to public users who visit the library. Their mission statement reads:

We, the staff of Ohio Dominican University Library, promote Information Literacy & inspire lifelong learning by providing personalized service & access to resources while addressing the research needs of the university community.

The focus of the collection is academic resources, such as reference databases and print resources. Recently, programs in health sciences, online programs, and continuing education programs have grown, and this has prompted the library to collect more resources that support these programs, particularly with their online presence. Being a member of the OhioLINK consortium has allowed this small university library to provide access to an array of resources they could never afford on their own. A unique choice of this academic library – they use the Dewey Decimal System. It was originally implemented when the university was founded, and at this point would be too confusing and challenging to change it.












The library building is in need of an update, but without a budget for a renovation, the staff have gotten creative. They conducted a survey to find what students and library users wanted and needed the most from the space (a little bit of everything, it turns out!) and are making frugal adjustments, such as rearranging spaces, to meet these needs and make the space more inviting. Students want space for collaborative work, quiet independent study rooms, study break space, and food and drink options – like a cafe. The staff emphasized that coffee is a must!









The Spangler Learning Center is also home to the university’s archives. The archives have been unmanaged for a long time but staff are hoping to obtain a grant to change this. The archives contain history related to the founding Dominican sisters, the history of the university, and the university’s athletic history.









The Library’s current focus is preparing for the re-accreditation of the university for 2017, renovating and adjusting spaces, redesigning the website and migrating information to the new space, migrating research and course guides to LibGuides, and migrating the library management system to D2L.

Thank you Michelle and Christina for a successful tour and providing insight into some of the challenges facing small academic libraries!



Link to the PowerPoint presentation given on the ODU tour