3.8.1 Learning/Information Resources

Comprehensive Standard 3.8.1: Learning/Information Resources

The institution provides facilities and learning/information resources that are appropriate to support its teaching, research, and service mission.

Compliance Partial Compliance Non-compliance


The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF Sarasota-Manatee) provides facilities and learning/information resources that are appropriate to support its Mission Statement, which is to provide “high quality bachelor’s and graduate-level education and scholarly activity in a personalized learning community that prepares successful leaders and responsible citizens.”

The main library facilities and resources that support USF Sarasota-Manatee students and faculty in teaching/learning, research, and service are the following: (1) the Information Commons; (2) the Jane Bancroft Cook Library; and (3) USF Libraries. The Academic Resource Desk in the Information Commons is the first point of access for library resources. The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus is a virtual library. Students and faculty have access to all the electronic resources available through the USF Libraries at any location on campus or at the off-campus locations, which all have wireless technology. The physical collection is housed at Cook Library on the New College of Florida (NCF) campus, a half-mile south of the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.

Core Requirement 2.9 (Learning Resources and Services) discusses in detail the adequacy and appropriateness of learning/information resources. Please see Comprehensive Standard 3.4.12 (Technology Use) for information on technology resources.

Information Commons

Students and faculty can drop-in at the Academic Resource Desk or schedule an appointment to meet with the Librarian in her office adjacent to the Information Commons on the second floor of the Main Rotunda (See Librarian Support Webpage). The Academic Resource Desk in the Information Commons serves as the academic support one-stop for students and faculty at USF Sarasota-Manatee. Library Services works closely with the other Learning Support Services that the Desk supports:  Technology Services, E-Learning Services, and Tutoring Services. Eight (8) open-use computers rest on new ergonomic tables and chairs. Students also have access to two (2) state-of-the-art collaborative work spaces. One computer located in the Information Commons has assistive software installed on it for students with disabilities. Students can also contact the USF Sarasota-Manatee Librarian through e-mail, telephone, or Ask-a-Librarian.

To support learning, research, and service on-site and off-site, Technology Services supports an advanced network of data, voice, and wireless technologies. USF Sarasota-Manatee requires students to provide their own laptop computers for course use (Laptop Requirements). In addition, all students have access to the USF System secured wireless network at all instructional sites, including all of the classrooms, the Information Commons, and open-use areas, such as Jonathan’s Cafe. Students attending the North Port instructional site have access to a variety of technology resources to aid in their learning while on campus, such as GoPro cameras, voice recorders, a full-service printer, and two computer labs. The Culinary Laboratory and USF Sarasota-Manatee Laboratories at Mote Marine Laboratory also have wireless technology. The Culinary Laboratory uses an advanced Skyplay Wireless AV System with state of the art HD televisions for classroom activities and local events. Furthermore, the Laboratories at Mote offer students the ability to interact with mentors through videoconferencing software installed in the labs, a Smart Board for classroom learning, and network printing access through the USF Sarasota-Manatee printing system.

E-Learning Services delivers Canvas Training to all incoming students and new faculty. Technology Services supports setting up Net IDs, accessing application portals (such as apps.usf.edu to gain access to free academic software), and assistance with printing in the centralized campus locations. E-Learning, the Information Commons, and Technology Services each have a staff member attend all student orientations, providing details on available resources to all students, whether they are attending classes remotely or in-person. Students attending online orientation receive the same handouts as students who elect to participate in-person.

Learning Support Services (Tutoring) provides free tutoring to all actively-enrolled USF Sarasota-Manatee students. This service is available as a result of funding provided by the Student Government Association and Academic Affairs. Tutoring services are offered in: Accounting, American Sign Language, Finance, Math & Statistics, Spanish, and Writing (Tutoring Schedule).

Cook Library

Both the teaching faculty and the library faculty at USF Sarasota-Manatee and NCF participate in collection development for the library, whose collection is now at approximately 280,000 volumes. The library subscribes to more than 400 serial titles, including magazines and journals and several state, national and international newspapers. USF Sarasota-Manatee students studying at Cook Library have access to six (6) computers and collaborative, quiet, and silent study areas. Wireless access is also available in the library, allowing students to use their own laptop computers. In addition the Cook Librarians provide research help to USF Sarasota-Manatee students and faculty.

USF Libraries

USF Libraries provides an extensive collection of on-line resources to which all USF Sarasota-Manatee students and faculty have access. These resources include 55,629 e-journals, 914 electronic databases and reference sources, 616,919 e-books, and 39 on-line datasets. Additional electronic collections include access to USF electronic theses/dissertations, image collections, digital archives, and oral histories. USF Libraries is a member of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), whose CRL Catalog provides students and faculty access to over five million rarely-held books, journals, and other primary-source materials from all over the globe and listed in the USF Libraries on-line catalog. USF Sarasota-Manatee students and faculty may search either the CRL Catalog on-line or the USF Libraries Catalog and request materials through InterLibrary Loan. The USF Libraries webpage provides a how-to, interactive Interactive Tutorial Playlist about finding and accessing USF Libraries resources and services. The USF Sarasota-Manatee Librarian purchases materials in accordance with USF Libraries’ Collection Development Policy, which supports the teaching and research mission of the campus.

If they choose, USF Sarasota-Manatee students and faculty may also use the facilities and services of the other libraries within the USF System, including USF Tampa Library, FMHI Research Library, Shimberg Health Sciences Library, and Poynter Memorial Library in St. Petersburg.  ILL transfers materials among the USF System libraries. It also provides current USF Sarasota-Manatee faculty and students with materials that are not owned by a USF library.

The libraries at all of Florida’s colleges and universities share library resources through the Library Borrowing Privileges Agreement, which guarantees that current USF Sarasota-Manatee students, faculty, and staff have borrowing privileges at other state university and community college libraries. This means that students taking courses at USF Sarasota-Manatee in North Port have access to the library collection on the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota campus in Venice, just five miles away.

Assessment of Library Resources

Librarians assess the perceptions USF Sarasota-Manatee students and faculty have of its learning resources, services, and facilities through the use of surveys and informal data gathering techniques.

In 2009, USF Sarasota-Manatee librarians implemented the nationally-recognized library service quality on-line survey, LibQual+. Due to the structure of the survey and the unique joint relationship with the Cook Library, overall survey completion was poor amounting to only 4% of the total faculty and student population and the results yielded little useful data. However, USF Libraries has regularly implemented the survey to measure the perceptions of faculty and students for a number of library-related dimensions. The Fall 2013 implementation of the LibQual+ survey produced 1,315 responses and followed the provision of new and innovative services and technology. Faculty commented positively on the quantity of collections, and graduate students were very complimentary about services such as ILL.

A  Student Success Survey administered in February 2015 to collect background data for the new strategic plan indicated that USF Sarasota-Manatee students are satisfied with the library services offered on campus. USF Sarasota-Manatee students indicated they were dissatisfied with the library services offered at Cook Library, if they use them. The USF Sarasota-Manatee Librarian is working with the librarians and administration at Cook Library to improve students’ level of satisfaction at that location. Two recent changes took effect in Fall Semester 2015. Students will no longer have to sign in at Cook Library to check out materials nor will they have to go over to Cook to pick up inter-library loan materials. They have been entered into the Cook Library computer system, and ILL will drop materials off at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus for students requesting them.

Library Services participates annually in USF Sarasota-Manatee’s annual cycle of assessment. As the Information Commons has developed and grown, the assessment of units in that area have been reported through several ways as leadership changed within Academic Affairs. In 2012-13, Library Services was part of Academic Support Services, in 2013-14 it had its own report, and in 2014-15 Library Services combined with Learning Support Services. Assessment of Technology Services, E-Learning Services, and Learning Support Services (Tutoring) are contained in the following reports:

Academic Support Services Assessment Report 2012-13
Technology Services Assessment Report 2013-14
Technology Services Assessment Report 2014-15
E-Learning Assessment Report 2014-15
Library Services and Learning Support Services Assessment Report 2014-15



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