Phillips Academy Oliver Wendell Holmes Library

About Phillips Academy Andover and Oliver Wendell Holmes Library
Established in 1778 as a boys’ school, Phillips Academy has a long history of preparing students for prestigious Ivy League universities like Yale, Harvard and Princeton. The school’s beginnings are firmly rooted in the American Revolution during which it was founded. Paul Revere designed the school’s seal and wrote its motto, ‘Non sibi,’ or ‘Not for self.’ John Hancock signed the articles of incorporation. George Washington spoke at the academy the year it opened and was so impressed that he recommended it for his nephews.

The school became co-educational in 1973, and today, this independent boarding school for students in grades 9-12 maintains a top-tier reputation and state-of-the-art facilities. Located in Andover, Massachusetts, about 25 miles north of Boston, the 500-acre campus is home to about 200 boarding and day students from all 50 states and 34 countries. While proud of its rich 230-year history and the generations of leaders it has educated — including both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — Phillips Academy’s true focus in on today’s students, destined to be the leaders of tomorrow. One way that dedication to the future manifests itself is in a with a commitment to environmental sustainability that includes an on-line ‘building dashboard’ to show real-time energy consumption on campus designed to encourage conservation.

The Oliver Wendell Holmes Library — named for poet and 1825 Phillips Academy graduate, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. — houses 140,000 books, 250 print periodicals, and an extensive electronic collection. Students have access to another 3 million items through the North Of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE). A point of pride is the library’s Garver Room, which houses the most comprehensive secondary school reference collection in the country. Located in the heart of campus, the library was built in 1929 and fully renovated in 1987, and offers wireless network access and public computers throughout the building.

Why BookScan Station?
Elisabeth Tully, Director of the Oliver Wendel Holmes Library saw a demonstration of the BookScan Station at the ALA Midwinter Conference, and immediately set about applying for a grant to get one for Phillips Academy. In her grant proposal, Tully wrote that the goal in getting the unit was “to save money, be more environmentally friendly, offer better service, and better support the digitization activities of the Archive and Special Collections Departments.”

The grant was approved, and in December of 2010, Tully removed the photocopy machine next to the circulation desk and replaced it with a BookScan Station. The photocopier, she said, was being heavily used, mostly by students copying materials on academic reserves. While Phillips Acadamy doesn’t charge students for printing, it does charge five cents per page for photocopies to cover the cost of paper and toner, and students felt that was unfair. Because BookScan Station doesn’t use paper or toner, the library was able to offer free scanning. That, said Tully, was a big advantage for students and an encouragement to go paperless.

“There is no marginal cost unless they scan to print, and we don’t charge for printing,” she said. In addition, replacing the coin-operated copy machine with a free scanner means students and library staff no longer need to make change for the copier.

But the BookScan Station isn’t just saving money for students. It’s having an impact on the library’s budget, as well. “The copier budget is managed centrally,” said Tully. “We include in our Departmental budget our best guess as to our eventual allocated share of the Academy’s copier maintenance contract. At this point in the budget year, we might be on target or overspent. We won’t know until June. We are currently budgeting more than $2,000 towards copier maintenance. The annual maintenance cost of the Book Scan machine is a small fraction of that and is guaranteed.”

BookScan Station has certainly helped the library go greener. Even with no charge for scan-to-print, most students are choosing to save scans to flash drive or e-mail, said Tully. BookScan Station allows users to save scans to a variety of file formats, including OCR searchable Word and Excel files that can then be edited on students’ laptops, which is “much more useful output than paper.” As a result, “there is definitely less printing, but it hasn’t been entirely eliminated,” she said.

Best of all, students have been thrilled with the service the scanner provide, and they have told Tully so. One student said he found himself studying in the library instead of his dorm room because the scanner was such a useful resource. Another commented that “the scanning machine is exactly what the library needed. It is very convenient.” A third wrote, “The scanner is the best machine in the library.”

Unexpected Benefits
Like the copy machine it replaced, the BookScan Station is heavily used to scan items on reserve for classes, like math or science problem sets, or book chapters for supplemental reading. These reserve items have a 2-hour check-out limit, and all the students in a particular class need them. Students have discovered that, with the BookScan Station, “one student in a class can scan the relevant readings, and then distribute them within Blackboard (the school’s intranet) to the rest of the class.”

The staff has also found the BookScan Station useful for quickly and easily scanning photos of alumni for use during class reunions.

The Future
Tully had hoped that the BookScan Station would help Oliver Wendell Holmes Library digitize materials in the Archive and Special Collections Departments. That has not been possible, simply because the unit is so popular with students that the staff can’t get time on the machine. To solve that dilemma, Phillips is planning to get a second BookScan Station for the Archive office.

“We can put that right to use,” she said. For one thing, the BookScan Station is quicker and easier to use than the library’s traditional flat bed scanner. In addition, the patented beveled book-edge protects the spine of the book from the damage that occurs from pressing a book flat into a traditional copier, which “is particularly important when handling rare and delicate materials,” she said. “The scans are also superior, in that the bevel allows the scan to go all the way into the spine, eliminating the shadow made by the spine of the book.”

“In my opinion there is no downside to this technology. It is simple and efficient. It saves money and staff time. The students and faculty love it.”
Elisabeth Tully
Director, Andover and Oliver Wendell Holmes Library
Phillips Academy

Comments are closed.