May 26, 2018


Evolutionary Library Science

Ryan Litsey


Associate Librarian, Document Delivery,
Texas Tech University Libraries, Lubbock


MLIS, Florida State University, Tallahassee, 2010; MA, Political Science, California State University, Northridge, 2005


Photo by Ryan Burns, Texas Tech University Libraries

As new demands are made on libraries, people like Ryan Litsey, the document delivery/interlibrary loan assistant librarian at the Texas Tech University Library, are developing new ways to meet those needs.

“Librarians were beginning to see requests for new and different types of resources, data sets, and eBooks,” says Litsey, who led the development of Occams Reader, the first foray in addressing the changing demands of resource sharing. “We are experimenting with predictive analytics in ILL (Interlibrary loan), our hope is to be able to gets users the resources they want before they know they want them,” he says.

Litsey, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Political Science from California State University Northridge, along with a Master of Science in library and information sciences from Florida State University, knows the playing field. He’s seen the evolution of materials used by libraries.  He started out as staff member in Course Reserves /ILL at the University of Florida. “The more I worked in libraries the more I realized that I need a MIS/MLIS,” says Litsey. “I enrolled at Florida State University, and while there I learned that I had a real passion for academic libraries and the role of the faculty librarian as an information researcher.”

That approach led him to seek out academic libraries that had faculty status like Texas Tech University. “Texas Tech University Libraries have been a place where my desire to try new things and research new ways of doing things has really blossomed,” says Litsey. It was a dean, Dr. Gerlich and his managers who’ve supported Litsey’s research into new ways of delivering resources that users want when they want them.

“I was attending an ILL conference in the summer of 2011. I had observed we needed to find a way to preserve the traditional notions of Interlibrary Loan / Resource Sharing wile embracing new technologies as the use of eBooks continued to grow in the academic library,” says Litsey.

Most importantly, Occams Reader isn’t being developed in a vaccum. The library community is weighing in on its development. Currently 32 libraries nationwide are using Occams Reader, so they’re able to measure their success by getting feedback from early adopters of the system. “We are also beginning to do assessment on the books requested and how the eBooks are used. Occams Reader provides another opportunity to assess how patrons use eBooks,” adds Litsey.

One of the major themes we’re talking about in the Movers and Shakers series is library advocacy. Litsey shares with us how he works with his administration to get more buy-in for projects. “I think for me I try to evangelize my department by demonstrating what a valuable resource ILL can be. We accomplish this by being very fast and very efficient in supplying our users with items they need. Our motto is resources anytime, anywhere. This has endeared us with the campus and positioned us as an invaluable commodity for the library,” says Litsey.

As the library community tries to respond to the changing needs of users, we can learn from each other as a community.

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