Library Open House a Great Success

The 2nd Annual Library Olibrarygcpen Houses from Sept. 8-10 were all a great success. Library staff welcomed over 300 students, faculty, staff and the community to the events with exciting library resources, fun activities and food.

Participants learned about the library’s popular streaming video databases such as Films and Demand and SWANK Motion Pictures, tested their library search skills by playing a game of Library Jeopardy, took a self-guided tour of the library through an iPad Scavenger Hunt, tested some educational apps and eBooks on the iPads, created crafts like giant tissue paper flowers and loom bracelets, practiced T’ai Chi Chih as a healthy and productive work/study break, enjoyed a variety of refreshments, and won cool prizes like a Reynolds t-shirt and a set of earbuds!

For some students, this was their first visit to the library and offered them a friendly introduction to the library’s space and services. Participants commented that access to computers and the internet, comfortable atmosphere, friendly staff are the things they like most about Reynolds Libraries.  One student said she likes the “helpful staff and the feeling of sanctuary in the library.” A faculty member added that “my favorite thing about the library are the personable, friendly, helpful people. Thanks to all the good folk at the library for everything you do.”

We strive to be helpful to students, staff, and community users and we enjoyed the opportunity to advertise our presence and promote our services.  We look forward to another exciting year of working with our students and helping them succeed at Reynolds and beyond!

Please check out our Open House photo album at!

Coming soon:  Learn & Lunch Library Style on October 1st at Parham and October 2nd at DTC from noon – 1pm!  Stay tuned…

Quick Facts about Reynolds Library


  1. 360,000+ visits per year, or 1,000+ per day by students, faculty staff and community patrons
  2. 45,000+ book checkouts per year, or 125+ per day
  3. 12 group study rooms checked out by 11,000+ students per year or 35+ students per day for collaborative work and group projects
  4. 2 electronic classrooms, where 220 library instruction sessions and workshops offered to 3,500+ students in the academic year of 2013-14
  5. 148 touchscreen computers, all equipped with internet and MS Office 2013 (PRC 90, DTC 34 and GC24)
  6. 130,000+ volumes of books, including 40,000+ eBooks
  7. 180+ research databases accessing millions of articles 24/7
  8. 10,000+ streaming videos and DVDs

Why I love my ugly headphones, and why it relates to good web design

If you’re one of those people at the Gold’s Gym on Willow Lawn that can lithely run with those tiny, white Apple headphones, I secretly resent you.  In theory, I like Apple headphones for their suave and hipstery connotations.  But in practice, I dislike them because I have big ears and a pirate-like gait. Apple headphones, combined with running, just don’t stay in my ears.

My colleagues and I encountered a similar challenge this past year.  Lots of people liked our old website.  And the site worked well for some people. (They tended to be the people that had used the site for the longest time).  The problem was that the majority, especially new users, couldn’t navigate our byzantine site very well.  I’d find myself explaining to students the four steps it took to find a library sub-page.  Or, I’d need to check something on the site using my iPhone and I’d have to pitch and squint to find exactly what I needed.

The new site attempts to address those issues by making three major changes.  First, the site now functions fully regardless of the device that you are on. The first image is the old site on an iPhone; the second is the new site.  A key difference is that you can do everything on the mobile version that you can do on a regular PC (including searching).  Also, the old mobile version was only six pages. The new mobile version encompasses the whole site.

Old Site New Site


Second, the site uses more visual nodes in an effort to make highly used content easier to find.  An experiment: find the link to citing sources in the two graphics.  Which took more time to find?


Third, the site attempts to do away with as much library jargon as possible.  What makes more sense to us: “Interlibrary Loan” or “If We Don’t Have It?”, “Popular Databases” or “Best Bets.”

This project is over a year in the making, and it has been a deeply collaborative effort.  Starting in August of 2013, armed with data from Google Analytics, a small group of library web soldiers (a.k.a. “The Digital Initiative Committee”), identified key user needs.  From there, we spent a great deal of time exploring other library websites and determining what we would like to incorporate into our new design.  In January, we created several mock-ups, and then evaluated three (web) templates; ultimately, we selected the design that we felt would be most supportive to our students.  In March, using Camtasia, we recorded library staff and students actually navigating the new redesign and made changes based upon those usability studies.  In May and June, we shared the site with more students (during library orientations) and received additional feedback.  Finally, in July, we shared the site with Reynolds faculty and staff.  This was a very recursive, but essential process.  We sought feedback.  We made a change.  We sought more feedback.  We made more changes.  Faculty and student input mattered and will continue to be the fundamental determinant for our site decisions.

So here we are: not at a perfect site –there’s no such thing- but hopefully at a more functional and usable site: an ugly headphones kind of website.  We hope this site works for you, but if not, the best way to change it is to let us know that change is needed.


Mary Hanlin ( and the Digital Initiatives Committee (not a rock band, just yet, but almost as cool as one).

Lisa Bishop

Maureen Hady

Suzanne Sherry

Kate Goodfellow

Denise Woetzel



Suzanne Sherry Selected as the New Coordinator of Parham Library!

SSherrySuzanne Sherry has been selected to serve as the new coordinator of Parham Campus Library effective August 25th! Suzanne Sherry joined the Parham Road Campus library as the Reference/ Emerging Technologies librarian in January 2013. Before coming to Reynolds, Suzanne was the Digital Services Specialist for John Tyler Community College’s library. At Tyler she was responsible for redesigning the library’s website into a mobile-friendly information portal. She also created the library’s blog, Blackboard module, and Facebook presence. Suzanne Sherry was also tapped to serve as the Accreditation Liaison for Tyler’s SACS COC 10-year reaffirmation. During her brief tenure at Reynolds, Suzanne has proved herself as a valuable contributor and inspirational leader. She crafted and coordinated some of the most popular library workshops including Mobile Scavenger Hunt and Library in Your Pocket. A graduate of William & Mary (BA, English), Suzanne holds an MLIS from Florida State University.

Suzanne knew from a young age she was meant to work in a library. She has always been a voracious reader and reads everything that crosses her path (including tubes of toothpaste and the dictionary, when desperate). Suzanne is also an avid vegetable gardener. Most people have shrubs and flowers in their front yard: she has tomatoes (and onions, garlic, potatoes, and raspberries…) Her other hobbies include running with the dog, avoiding bears on family hikes, racking up frequent flyer miles, and keeping her spouse and two children out of the emergency room (which is not as easy as it sounds!)

2014 Open House @ Reynolds Library!

The library staff would like to invite you to join us for our 2nd Annual Reynolds Library Open House!

Come and learn about exciting library resources, take a tour of the library with our iPad Scavenger Hunt, create colorful crafts like loom bracelets and tissue paper flowers, get a bite to eat, and many more fun activities.

We can’t wait to see you there!






New semester, new computers @ Reynolds Library

Not an actual library computer
Not an actual Reynolds Library computer. Promise.

All three Reynolds Campus Libraries installed new computers this summer!

Features include:

  1. Touchscreen—mouse optional
  2. Large 19 inch monitor—bigger work space
  3. All in one units—more space on the desk for YOUR gear
  4. Blistering fast processor—get schoolwork done in record time

All of our workstations still have the tools students need for their research and projects, including

  1. Office 2013
  2. B&W and color printing from every station
  3. Multiple browsers—Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome
  4. Access to expert help from tech specialists and librarians

Feel free to drop by the Downtown, Goochland or Parham Campus Libraries and test drive any of the new machines for yourself.

Image “my lovely new TRS-80 Model 4″ from Blake Patterson on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons License.

Google Street Art Project: More than Graffiti

Icy and Sot mural archived in the Google Street Art Project. Image via Business Insider.
Icy and Sot mural archived in the Google Street Art Project. Image via Business Insider.

Think art can only be found in museums? Think again!

The Google Street Art Project showcases and preserves dynamic outdoor art from around the world.

See the outsider art—much of it illegal—before it disappears.

The Google Street Art Project allows users to:

  • Locate outdoor art in the wild with Google map integration
  • Search by map, artist or collection. (Museums have contributed images too!)
  • Get closer to the art with HD views
  • Spot street art and share it with the Google community

Want to learn more about street art and graffiti? Check out these additional library resources.

Art in the Streets by Jeffrey Deitch
Exit Through the Gift Shop (DVD) Oscar-nominated documentary about Banksy
The world atlas of street art and graffiti by Rafael Schacter