Staff Spotlight: Kate Montgomery and Amy Olivares
Behind the scenes, Kate Montgomery, Amy Olivares, and the rest of the acquisitions and electronic resources team in Tulane University Libraries’ Technical Services Division play a fundamental role in the library’s day-to-day success without much fanfare. This group is responsible for ordering all materials that come into the library, both print and electronic.
“It is incredibly rewarding to find materials for research or a class when the faculty member is in a real bind and needs something immediately. The library liaisons are very helpful by connecting us to the various Tulane departments and Book Chairs to meet the needs of everyone on campus,” shares Kate.
When classes converted to virtual and then hybrid instruction during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kate and Amy had to adjust their usual orders and cataloging process. Instructors no longer required as many DVDs or CDs, or as much printed material. Instead, requests for e-resources skyrocketed, and the team had to figure out how to best acquire these materials. When a DVD or book is purchased, the library owns that material in perpetuity. However, the license for a streaming item may only be valid for one to three years and may need to be reordered on a schedule. The department can save money with longer licenses, but most vendors will not contract over three years, creating new budgetary considerations to factor into the acquisition. Fortunately, eBooks are a more established technology, and the model for licensing and purchasing is less complicated.
To handle the surge of electronic materials, Amy trained three members of her team to catalogue and record the influx of electronic items. Initially, Technical Services utilized five different management platforms for electronic resources, but since July 2021 when TUL transitioned to Alma; a cloud-based library services platform that manages print, electronic, and digital materials in a single interface, the team has been able to handle all the materials much more efficiently.
With classes returning in person for the Fall 2021 semester, Kate and Amy have received more balanced requests for print and electronic resources, at least before Hurricane Ida threw everyone for a loop. Many of the book orders were delayed or cancelled due to interruptions in shipping lines in September and even October. Now, Kate and Amy report that everything is now back on track after working out updated logistics with various vendors.
“The best part of my job is to work with my amazing colleagues: Madeline Cominos, Esterlina Garcia, David Jaynes, Will Judson, Traci Price, and Kelly Richert on the Acquisitions team and Beth Elmwood, James Lien, Greer Robinson, and Frank Schiavo on the Electronic Resources Management team. They deserve recognition for all of their hard work,” says Amy.