Donnelly Library features latest in technology

The New Mexico Highlands University Thomas C. Donnelly Library not only doubled its initial size as it was expanded to 59,000 square feet in 1997, but it also features the latest in technology where patrons can access information at any time. Although the exterior and interior of the library is quite remarkable, the resources available are what really impress.

Electronic resources have given patrons more flexibility than ever before. Technology today has broadened the capabilities of research by leaps and bounds, as patrons don’t have to rely on hard copies any longer.

The biggest difference in today’s library is the technology format. The delivery of materials is changing from the print form to the electronic format. In essence, the library is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Electronic resources are an increasingly important part of the library collection, especially with the growth of NMHU’s distance education. Leslie Broughton, an assistant librarian and head of collection and instruction at the library, said the value of electronic databases is the ability to immediately access journal articles, many of them full text.

“Presently, we have 20,043 full-text journals, as well as 38,151 electronic books to complement our print holdings,” Broughton said. “We purchased several new electronic databases this year, including the JSTOR Arts and Sciences I Collection; Oxford’s American National Biography; Stat-USA; Bibliography of Native North Americans and two nursing databases, CINAHL and Cochrane Library.”

She has been at her current job since August, 2006.

Broughton evaluates the library collection and oversees the acquisition of new materials, including books, periodicals, newspapers, electronic databases, audio-visual materials, maps, and manuscripts. She selects resources that support the coursework, research needs, and accreditation requirements of the university.

“Last year we made a concerted effort to purchase resources for the new academic programs of nursing, Indo-Hispano studies, and forensic science,” Broughton said.

“Throughout the year, I meet with faculty from the various departments for their recommendations, and I encourage all of our patrons to offer suggestions as well.”

She said that the library has benefited not only from book and journal donations, but also from gifts of artwork. The artwork has contributed to an extensive fine art print collection of more than 1,500 prints representing the history of western printmaking.

The other aspect of Broughton’s job is to coordinate library instruction for the first-year experience classes.

“We teach approximately 20 three-week library skills classes every semester to incoming freshmen,” Broughton said. “The major objective of the library component is to familiarize students with Donnelly Library’s resources and to teach them basic researching skills.”

She said the librarians also provide instruction and library tours to individual classes upon the request of faculty and community educators.

For information about scheduling a library class and for questions or recommendations regarding Donnelly Library’s resources, contact Broughton at (505) 454-3408.