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UCM Library Planning & Assessment

Research Excellence and Academic Distinction

Research Excellence & Academic Distinction 

As an essential partner in UC Merced’s pursuit of research excellence and academic distinction, the Library will:

  • Support scholarly communication & open access to information.
  • Enable access to collections of high quality and unique information resources that support the research areas of the UC Merced intellectual community.
  • Serve as a center of expertise for the stewardship of campus intellectual output.


Library Liaison Outreach to Faculty

Spatial Analysis and Research Center (SpARC) 

Digital Curation & Scholarship

  • Completed NEH-funded digitization of UCSF/SFPL/GLBTHS collections documenting San Francisco's response to the AIDS epidemic: 156,955 pages over 2 years
  • Completed digitization of 35,851 pages and 3,690 photographs from UCCE collections. Published collections from UCCE Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo and UCCE San Joaquin counties on Calisphere. Published finding aids for Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Modoc, Tulare, Sutter, Yuba and Butte collections on Online Archive of California. Processed total of 252 LF. Acquired records from Butte UCCE office.
  • Processed additions to Dunya Ramicova collection and updated finding aid.
  • Hosted MLIS intern to process University Archives materials.
  • Continued to administer Carpentries instructor training and Carpentries workshops
  • Delivered report on faculty publishing habits to LASC and deans' council

Engagement with UC Merced Academic Senate Committee on the Library and Scholarly Communication


Collections Statistics

At the end of 2019-2020, the total holdings of the UC Merced Library numbered as follows: 

  • Electronic Books:  2,417,702
  • Print Books:  149,096
  • Electronic Journals: 199,605
  • Print Journals:  20
  • Databases: 883
  • Digitized Collections: 18 collections--356,592 items--298,612 views


Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

N.b.: The Interlibrary loan statistics for 2019-2020 reflect the complete shutdown of ILL services beginning in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The above numbers show all items loaned and borrowed, including returnables (books, etc.) and non-returnables (copies). 

Third Annual Carter Joseph Abrescy and Larry Kranich Library Award for Student Research Excellence

Did we give out the award this year?


Student Success

Student Success

UC Merced Library Research and Learning Services

As an active, engaged partner in student success, the Library will:

  • Create user experiences that promote and encourage collaboration, exploration, and intellectual curiosity through direct user engagement, exemplary service and support, and welcoming learning spaces.
  • Invest in scalable and innovative teaching and learning projects and services that align with and advance the University’s core educational missions while encouraging the active and inquisitive discovery and production of knowledge.

Open Educational Resources

Goal: Assess Zero Cost Course Materials program to support student learning.
During the 19-20 AY, the Library supported 6 courses, 2 single section courses and 4 multi-section courses, through the ZCCM grant program. Based on course enrollment numbers and course materials cost estimates, the transition to zero-cost materials for these 6 courses resulted in approximately $99,919.00 in student savings. Students and faculty in the ZCCM supported courses were invited to participate in a survey capturing feedback about the use of zero-cost materials.

Goal: Raise awareness of OER benefits with campus partners and faculty.
In February 2020, the Library hosted two representatives from the Open Textbook Network (OTN) for a day of workshops and meetings. During their time on campus, the OTN representatives offered two workshops, a faculty workshop and library staff/student success partners workshop, and met with campus leaders and ASUCM officers.

Goal: Reach out to all SSHA academic department chairs requesting a conversation with the chair and/or department regarding how to increase students’ information literacy in their program. Work with a minimum of two departments to identify their priority information literacy outcomes and how these can be achieved through their curriculum with librarian support and expertise.
In October 2019, Sara Davidson Squibb (R&LS) reached out to all undergraduate department chairs in Social Sciences and Humanities (SSHA) to request an individual conversation or a time slot at a department meeting to discuss information literacy (IL) development for undergraduate students in their program.  Of those ten departments, seven responses were received and Sara was able to make five visits (two individual visits; three visits to department meetings) in FY 2019-2020.  For two of the departments, the timing wasn’t good for them and follow-up in 2020-2021 will be required. Though there was some good discussion and interest by some faculty members, there currently isn’t any work taking place at a program level to embed information literacy.  Sara will plan to resume this work in 2020-2021, at some level, depending on faculty band-width.  See: Sample handout of discussion points

Student Success 
Goal: Make research guides and instructional content more visible to library users.
This past year, we investigated ways in which to make our research guides and instructional content more visible to library users.  Two key changes have been made to reach this goal, and the Research & Learning Services (R&LS) group continues to pursue this outcome into 2020-2021. 1) One of the most significant changes has been a revised landing page for the Library’s Research Guides (formerly Course & Subject Guides).  This format with the tabs for Subjects Guides, Course Guides, Learn About, and Programs & Special Topics makes this categorization more visible to end-users and reduces the numbers of click to get to this content. Our group investigated how other libraries were displaying their research guide content as a means of informing our practice and highlighting what we might be able to do within the confines of the LibApps platform. 2) In summer 2020, R&LS also proposed and coordinated a revision to the Library Instruction Services landing page. This page has a dedicated column for Learning Materials intended for an instructor audience. Instructors interested in library resources in support of student learning can find links to available resources at this one-stop-shop page.  

Goal: Demonstrate the reach of the library and its impact through thoughtful and systematic data collection and analysis.
We are in the infancy stages of trying to demonstrate the reach of the library and its impact. However, we did make some strides in setting up better data collection practices for this purpose. In summer 2019, we started to revise some of the workflows and processes for gathering information related to course instruction and workshop attendees. For course instruction, we started to retain specific class AND section number information in case we want to conduct a research study that would require knowing what students had attended library instruction. (This could be similar to the work of the Greater Western Library Alliance and its multi-institutional study of information literacy instruction impact on student success). In addition for workshops, we have started to capture attendee lists through iCatCard check-in other sign-in sheets. iCatCard information provides a limited amount of demographic information but can tell us more about what students (e.g. major, year of study) are attending library instruction and related events. In the past, we have had raw numbers -- but very little other information. We have yet to parse the iCatCard data from 2019-2020. We will continue to see if we can learn more about our library users. Our hope is to use this information to gain a better picture of who we are (or aren’t reaching) in order to help us target our outreach efforts and follow-up on library impact. Note: Gathering this data may present some challenges in the near future. For instance, in fall 2020 we will not be using iCatCard check-in due to remote instruction. 

Digital Curation and Scholarship

  • Continued to administer Carpentries instructor training and Carpentries workshops as well as targeted workshops for graduate students
    • The Library offered three two-day Carpentry workshops during the 2019-2020 academic year. Each workshop covered a main topic (listed below) along with several supporting topics. 
    • The attendance for the workshops was as follows:
      1.    Plotting and Programming in Python: 24 students
      2.    R for Reproducible Scientific Analysis: 25 students
      3.    Data Analysis and Visualization in Python: 35 students
      Based on our pre-workshop surveys, the modal workshop participant is a graduate student in the social or natural sciences who is dissatisfied with their computational abilities or with their current analysis workflow. They may already use a programming language in their day-to-day work, but they are not confident in their ability to work on their own or troubleshoot problems when they get stuck. They are highly motivated and believe that the workshop topics are immediately applicable to their work. Post-workshop feedback has been uniformly positive. Post-workshop surveys indicate that participants are much more confident in their ability to work independently and find to resources on their own after completing the workshop. Based on our informal conversations with participants, they find both the main topics and supporting topics useful
  • Conducted workshops in support of SSHA Luce grant for new model of humanities graduate education

Spatial Analysis and Research Center (SpARC

Organizational Sustainability

Organizational Sustainability

As a learning organization committed to ongoing quality improvement, the Library will:

  • Provide its employees with ample opportunities for professional development.
  • Foster a culture of assessment which values data-driven decision making.
  • Support a diverse workforce and embrace fair and open processes for hiring and advancement.


Research and Learning Services

Goal: Make stats more easily accessible for planning, reporting, and analysis e.g. via Tableau.
Historical and current statistics capturing Research & Learning Services’ reference and instruction statistics are currently housed in a Tableau dashboard created on our behalf by Edmund Leung of the campus’ Institutional Research and Decision Support (IRDS) office. Kelli Abrescy prepared R&LS data for entry and provided feedback on dashboard iterations.  Some statistics will be made fully available to the public while other stats will require a library staff member to login for viewing. Library staff will be able to easily pull stats for program reviews, analysis of trends, and other reporting purposes. The dashboard is still in draft form but will be available by the end of 2020 for embedding on our library website and for general use. Future R&LS stats will be added to a master spreadsheet, stored in Box. Tableau will be able to periodically pull in this new data for display. Stats made available in this way will not only improve our ability to provide accurate and timely stats but also will minimize the time needed to maintain ongoing stats.

Goal: Recruit and onboard Instruction & Outreach Librarian
In summer 2019, we launched a recruitment for our Instruction & Outreach Librarian position. Our search committee consisted of five library staff members: Jim Dooley; Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco; Joe Ameen; Kelli Abrescy; and Sara Davidson Squibb as chair. We proceeded with an initial set of Zoom interviews in October 2019 and then invited three candidates for an in-person visit in November 2019. We extended an offer in December to Olivia Olivares who started at UC Merced on February 3, 2020.  Olivia joined us from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. She brought extensive experience with liaison work, outreach, instruction, and business librarianship. As per our organization’s onboarding process, Olivia met with numerous members of the organization to learn more about the library’s services and resources.  Additional onboarding included observing library sessions hosted by colleagues, attending local professional development workshops, and meeting regularly with individuals from Research & Learning Services.  

Digital Curation and Scholarship

  • Implemented ABBYY FineReader Server for improved OCR capability
  • Quantified digitization output/rates based on NEH and UCCE work completed
  • Six people (2 staff, 1 lecturer, 3 graduate students) participated in the training required to become certified Carpentry instructors 

Spatial Analysis and Research Center (SpARC) 

  • SpARC generated approximately $XXXXXX in recharge fees. 

Community Engagement

Community Engagement

As a research organization committed to building strategic collaborations, the Library will:

  • Build partnerships with faculty, campus stakeholders, and other community members to pursue mutually beneficial projects, programs, and collaborations.
  • Create an outreach program to identify potential community partnerships and gift opportunities.


UC Merced Library Research and Learning Services

Goal: Provide workshop offerings focused on helping researchers work with data. 
During the 19-20 AY, the R&LS group offered a series of workshops introducing data resources, tools, and data literacy competencies, to support undergraduate and graduate student research. A number of these workshops complimented and were promoted alongside workshops offered by the Digital Scholarship & Curation unit. Over the 19-20 AY, the R&LS group offered a total of 16 individual workshops covering 8 different data focused topics, to 52 student, staff and faculty participants.

Goal: Build relationships and connections with faculty through targeted communications, department visits and event attendance. 
This year has seen a continuation of our efforts to reach out to faculty as liaisons and in other capacities. All Research & Learning Services librarians serve as liaisons to various departments, providing information to both faculty and to graduate groups. Information has been provided in various forms including newsletters, informal emails, targeted email communications, and informal networking. We also collaborated with others on campus, including by participating in continued instruction and planning work with the Merritt Writing Program and the Carpentries. Though currently on hiatus, the Faculty Author Series partnered with various faculty members up through Fall of 2019 to showcase faculty scholarship and work.




1. Faculty Networking Hour in Celebration of Open Access Week, October 23, 2019.

  • Approximately thirty faculty members attended the networking hour, many of whom engaged in conversations about open access and scholarly publishing. 

Development Activities:

Digital Curation & Scholarship:

  • Community members (Merced Farm Bureau) appointed to CARA Steering Committee
  • Conducted tours and presentations to UCCE staff and retirees, other community members

UC Merced Library Annual Assessment Plan and Report 2018-2019

This plan and report is based on the four areas outlined in the UC Merced Library Strategic Plan.

The Library's Annual Assessment Plan and Report for 2019-2020 was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in several ways. Most significantly, the closure of campus delayed not only the Library's strategic planning process, which was scheduled to be completed in June 2020, but also delayed both the related campus-wide Academic Planning process and the Library's second-ever Periodic Review. Information created and decisions reached as a result of all three of the above processes would have been incorporated into the Library's Annual Assessment Plan and Report had not the pandemic interfered. 

The closure of campus and move to online instruction imposed, of course, unprecedented burdens on Library collections and services, including the disruption in-person consultation and instruction, public access to physical collections, the processing of interlibrary loan requests, work on archival collections, the hiring of new staff, the hosting of public events such as the Tenth Annual Central Valley Geosummit, and more. Faced with the closing of campus and the jump to online instruction, the UC Merced Library was able to respond quickly and effectively, in part because the digital nature of much of the Library's collections and services meant these resources could be provided remotely with little or no additional effort. Examples of how the UC Merced Library responded to the challenges raised by the pandemic include: 

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Access Services

  • Although print-format materials could no longer be loaned or borrowed via interlibrary loan (ILL) continued to provide electronic materials, including recent articles from Elsevier journals that are no longer available to UC affiliates. 
  • Staffed the Kolligian Library building with a skeleton crew. 


  • Managing relocation of staff to work from home (including telecommuting agreements) and access to the building for essential employees. 
  • Managing the disruption of student library-employees' scheduling and work responsibilities. 
  • Ensuring that ongoing administrative processes, such as staff hiring, were not disrupted. 

Collection Services

  • Access to millions of in-copyright books via the Hathi Trust Emergency Temporary Access Service. 
  • Continued acquiring and processing new materials being added to the Library collection. 
  • Something about SILS? 

Digital Curation and Scholarship

  • Continued digitization of course materials as well as materials in support of faculty research projects
  • Continued digitization of UCCE archival collections
  • Provided Carpentries and research computing workshops via Zoom.
  • Developed and submitted proposals for CARES funding and other grants (UC MRI, IMLS, Mellon)

Research and Learning Services

  • Expanded time commitment to 24/7 digital chat services. 
  • Provided one-on-one reference consultations (via Zoom) that Library users could schedule using the Library's existing Make an Appointment webpage.
  • Provided instruction to UC Merced courses via Zoom.
  • Provided a drop-in office hour service via Zoom.  


  • Continued to support faculty and administrative GIS projects. 

UC Merced Library as a Whole

  • Launched multiple initiatives to communicate with the campus community regarding the availability of Library collections and services.
  • Continued work on the UC Libraries Shared Integrated Library System (SILS), a massive project involving all ten UC campuses and the California Digital Library.