Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month: The Gnomon Library & Learning Resource Center

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month is one that I have admired for years from afar, and I’m so glad that Library Director Lucy Bellamy was able to take my questions this month. I hope you enjoy reading about the Library & Learning Resources at Gnomon’s School of Games, Visual Effects & Animation in Hollywood, California as much as I did:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Gnomon Library boasts an attractive space for study and digital creation.

My name is Lucy Bellamy. I am the Director, Library & Learning Resources at Gnomon’s School of Games, Visual Effects & Animation in Hollywood, California. I came to Gnomon to help build their library from the ground up when the college was accredited to offer their first Bachelor of Art program. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not many librarians experience. Gnomon is an accredited technical college that offers bachelors programs, a two-year certificate program, Foundation in Art & Design courses, as well as individual courses for career professionals wanting to enhance their industry skills.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

The Gnomon Library is part academic and part special library. The collections support Gnomon’s programs and courses first, as well as inspire the creativity of our community of digital artists. While our collections include traditional books, ebooks, print and digital magazines, resources commonly found in most other libraries, there is also a diverse collection of art objects which our students use as reference for course work. These include vintage cameras, light fixtures, skulls(!), and more.

Our collection was started with donations from instructors, working digital artists, and industry publishers. The resources being donated were those that the donors found helpful, even inspirational to their professional development. In many ways, I viewed their donations as a demonstration of their support of our students looking to join their industry in the future.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Real-life skulls, used as artistic references, peek out of the shelves at the Gnomon Library.

That’s a tough question. With so many unique objects in the collection, I think my favorite thing is the 19th century volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica published in 1877. It was originally added for its visual value because the texture of the covers is so unique. Students reference textures to re-create various surfaces in the digital space, thus this part of the collection is used not only for what is in the encyclopedia — as an information resource — but for the actual cover. When any audience appreciates a text, it is exciting, but when an audience values a text, it’s structure, and studies in the same way, it is exhilarating. I have consulted and referenced one or more of the volumes during library instruction sessions specifically for our art history and cultural studies courses, and it is wonderful to share this asset.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

One challenge has been maintaining a print collection of current resources for the different software programs students are learning. Because of publishing lead times, often once a (software) book is published it may be outdated because the software has been updated which then can compromise the value of the information. Simply, our specific technology is dynamic to the point of any given new resource which may be obsolete within months post-publishing.

What we’ve done to address that concern is create catalog records that are discoverable in our online catalog (TinyCat) embedded with a link to the learning resource pages of the different software companies. This access point offers students a connection to the most up-to-date information including reference documentation and tutorials for the programs they are learning and will be using when they work in the industry.

What is your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

Prior to using TinyCat, I had NO experience with cataloging nor an understanding of the “back end” of a library management system. That quickly changed when the new library needed one. Of the different vendors considered, only LibraryThing and TinyCat seemed promising for what our library needed, and my learning curve. The platform is easy to use, understand, and navigate. More importantly, our students and faculty use TinyCat’s online catalog to connect with the resources they need when they need it.

What I’d like to see as a future tool? Perhaps a WYSIWYG “call out message box” that will display on the online catalog home page. Maybe it could be an option included under the “Content to show underneath the search box” category on the general TinyCat Admin “Settings” page. Something that would allow users to post quick messages like “Good luck with finals!” or “Return your books before the end of the term!”

Great feedback! You may be able to add something like this via the Custom JavaScript feature in your Content Settings, though this would show up on every page in your TinyCat rather than just the Homepage. Check it out here, just in case!

Want to learn more about the Gnomon Library? Visit their website here and find their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat


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