Unclear Future for Helmke Library

Written by: Sarah Updike, Kasey Gerding, Rachel Stephens, Derek Ewing, Logan Harris, Cameron Seaman

Dean of Helmke Library Cheryl Truesdell said the library catalog and databases could change if Indiana University separates from IPFW.

In January, the Legislative Services Agency proposed IU leave its IPFW campus.

IPFW Vice Chancellor of Financial and Administrative Affairs David Wesse said, “The two presidents of both Indiana University and Purdue University are currently in discussions formed by legislation to bring about an amicable separation.”

Until the final decision is reached, the library is planning the adjustments needed to make the shift to a Purdue library.

Truesdell said she hopes this change does not take place.

“IU brings its own special contributions to our area,” Truesdell said.

However, according to Truesdell, if Helmke does become a Purdue library, one of the first things to possibly leave is IU’s catalog IUCAT. Purdue’s catalog, THOR, would then take its place. This could be an adjustment to students who are accustomed to IUCAT.

Not only would the catalog appear different on a computer screen, but Truedell said there is also a chance about 332,000 books would need new barcodes to align with this new catalog. This process would include placing a new barcode sticker on the books.

“It’s not just a matter of putting the new barcode on,” Truesdell said. “You have to link the barcode to the record in the catalog.”

Truesdell said this job would take approximately five minutes per book which adds up to about one year of ten people working  40 hour weeks. This process will only be necessary if any IPFW barcode numbers overlap with those already in the THOR catalog.

According to Truesdell, there is no set number for how much keeping all databases would cost; however, she said it would be the most expensive part of switching to a Purdue library.

According to Truesdell, IU currently provides Helmke with 67 to 100 databases that Purdue does not own.

Truesdell said, “We’re assuming that we would have access to some of Purdue’s databases.”

If IPFW wants continued access to IU’s databases, they may have to pay out of pocket or negotiate a contract with Purdue to cover the cost. If neither of those options work, IPFW would have to discontinue their subscription to those databases, according to Truesdell.

Purdue Trustee Michael Burghoff said there is no final decision yet. Due to this, the fate of Helmke Library remains unknown until the universities come to an agreement.