SFCP Library Annual Update

SFCP Library Annual Update

by Alyson Barrett-Ryan, MA, MLIS

When I entered library school in 2007, there was much speculation about the impact of the digital revolution on the printed word. A recent article on the subject noted, “The question was always ‘at what share of the book market will e-books settle,’ not ‘when will print books cease to exist.’”* Contradictorily, I remember watching electronic resource use soar and wondering if ultimately the new format would eclipse the printed word. Gradually it became evident that print and electronic resources would coexist to some degree, and six years later, e-book sales are leveling off. It is clear that readers don’t necessarily fall into an either/or dichotomy when it comes to format choice – we choose what we read based on multiple factors such as content (mass market fiction is by far the highest selling type of e-book) and circumstance (who wants to carry a dense printed text on vacation?). This seems obvious now, but several years ago, it did not, at least to me, based on my conversations with all sorts of readers who were sharply divided by their suspicion of or preference for electronic devices.

As it turns out, electronic resource use is more intricate than we initially imagined. Complicating the conversation about format choice, studies have shown that how material is read (whether on a page or on a screen) affects how we learn and understand. Furthermore, online content was initially touted as a way to set information free, allowing more democratic access to information. Yet librarians are finding that site license agreements dictating the use of electronic materials vary by publisher, and in most cases reflect stricter usage definitions than printed materials require. Then there’s the matter of the devices themselves; the printed word may in fact be the most practical method for sharing reading material among populations who are unable to afford expensive e-readers. Rather than rendering librarianship obsolete, the complex digital landscape has provided an entirely new venue for our relevance. The basic questions librarians address have not disappeared, but have changed. Instead of wondering “what, when, and where” people are reading, I now wonder “what, when, where and how/on what device?”

Sweeping technology trends in society have certainly influenced my work here at SFCP. When considering the Library’s annual report, I see the Center’s need for and response to technological change as the underlying theme. Along with the practical and logistical considerations that accompany new resources and services, library staff and administrators consider the multifaceted implications of new technology: How will different membership groups experience using the library and its various resources? By offering new services, how will traditional services change? How can we leverage staff to experience their full potential in a way that brings recognition to SFCP while meeting the needs of the membership? What services will be sustainable for SFCP financially? Many of you are thinking about these changes carefully, as well, and I am grateful for the conversations I have had with the Management Team, Library Committee members and other library patrons about the changes the SFCP Library has experienced in recent years.

Rather than an annual report, I have structured this as more of an annual update, organized by larger themes and with a nod to future plans (but, if you have any questions about the details of library use during the past year, the statistics we keep or library finances, please contact me).

Online Journals, eBooks and the Library Catalog
The most exciting change during the 2012-2013 FY, in my opinion, was enabling remote access to the Library’s journal subscriptions through EZ Proxy. While PEP-WEB allows online access to a full back-run of psychoanalytic journals except for the most recent three years’ content, EZ proxy facilitates access to recently published content online. Extending online journal access to SFCP members and candidates responds directly to the needs of a patronage, from a broad geographical area, who cannot visit the library often in-person. We understand that EZ Proxy has brought another layer of complexity to article retrieval, and I am currently developing an online resources guide to clarify the different layers of online access available to SFCP’s membership groups, as well as planning in-person and online tutorials.

The SFCP Library was able to purchase a small eBook collection, available through EZ Proxy, from Taylor and Francis, receiving a substantial consortium discount. The Library Committee and I worked closely together to choose these eBooks, hoping they will serve as a convenient supplement to some of the Library’s most frequently circulated and assigned items.

Rounding out our year of technological updates, we are in the process of installing a new library catalog to facilitate a more comprehensive overview of SFCP collections (including rare books), a more convenient platform for searching and accessing the Library’s holdings, and for us, a more efficient way to manage the administrative details that go along with maintaining a well-used collection.

Audiovisual Resources
Eric Rosen has served as the SFCP Library Assistant for more than six years. During my two years at SFCP, Eric has guided the establishment of our emerging audiovisual department while finishing his MLIS degree at San Jose State University. As well as being SFCP’s Library Assistant, creating the readers and answering many library requests, Eric is SFCP’s Media Archivist. In this role, Eric is moving forward on several audiovisual conversion projects, making rich historical content accessible to our membership. One step in the complex audiovisual conversion process involves creating an intermediary digital file for possible later inclusion in an online platform. We look forward to learning how the new audiovisual equipment in the auditorium can professionalize our filming and remote broadcasting capabilities. Additionally, we are working toward an online platform within the NCCPL library consortium that could enable hosting and streaming audiovisual archives.

Volunteers, Archives and Rare Books
SFCP has a stunning collection of archives and rare books. Bringing these items to the discovery level will require hours, months and likely years of work. During the past year two volunteers assisted in our processing efforts. Stephanie Donnelly, MLIS, began processing the Wallerstein Papers in early 2013. With a background in military archives, Stephanie obtained her MLIS from San Jose State University in December 2012 and volunteered for SFCP in early 2013, before accepting a full-time pharmaceutical records management position. Stephanie did spectacular work for SFCP, adding to our existing archival descriptions, preparing/refining our records for possible later inclusion in an archival database, and suggesting methods for collection organization and access. Hanna L. Moody served as a volunteer for SFCP during summer 2013. Currently studying at UC Berkeley with plans to continue her undergraduate education at a prestigious East Coast university, Hanna came to SFCP with stunning linguistic skills. Hanna’s valuable work at SFCP involved managing the physical reorganization of SFCP’s rare books and cataloging items from SFCP’s German language collection. I was fortunate to work with two highly-skilled volunteers this year, and we will continue to think about ways SFCP can establish a volunteer program that reflects continuity and resource development while speaking to the specialized abilities of our volunteers.

Administrative Services, the Library Committee and the Oral History Subcommittee
During recent years, the Library Committee has supported me in rethinking the library’s administrative capacity. This has largely been a behind-the-scenes effort, including trimming the library budget without cutting subscriptions or print book allocations, improving our financial procedures, and considering policies in light of new services. Library Committee members include Nancy Ginsburg, PhD (Chair), Sue von Baeyer, PhD,     Bronwen Lemmon, MFT, Amy Glick, MFT, Gina Atkinson, MA, Debora Fletcher, PhD, Jeff Miller, SFCP Chief Operating Officer (ex officio), and myself. As I have learned the position and considered how to best serve the SFCP membership in the midst of library relocations and other transitions, the Library Committee has been    a continued source of professional support, for which I am grateful. The Oral History Subcommittee is      composed of Sue von Baeyer, PhD, Bronwen Lemmon, MFT, Susanna Bonetti, Administrative Director of the Masonic Center for  Youth and Families and former  SFCP Library Director, and myself.  We are  collecting and 

creating individual oral histories and exploring the possibility of panel discussions that will reflect the intersection between members’ personal experiences and the broader history of the Center. If you have ideas or want to participate in a project with us, please contact me.

NCCPL Library Consortium and National Connections
SFCP is a member of the Northern and Central California Library Consortium. Through our membership, SFCP receives free interlibrary loan from CIIS, the Jung Institute, Sofia University, the Wright Institute, Alliant International University, JFKU, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Saybrook University, Dominican University, Meridian University, Saint Mary’s College, Samuel Merritt University and Holy Names University. As NCCPL President this year, I preside over three consortium meetings, deliver the consortium annual report, and chair a task force exploring the possibility of the online platform I mentioned earlier in this update, which would enable the hosting and streaming of audiovisual archives. In addition to SFCP’s valuable local membership in NCCPL, I remain connected with APsaA librarians through an email list-serv. 

Earlier this year, Robert S. Wallerstein, MD, donated a collection of the translated writings and video recordings of the works of Judith S. Wallerstein, PhD, along with hundreds of books from his personal collection, to the SFCP Library. I am grateful for this donation, and for the assistance of Nancy Ginsburg, PhD, and Harriet Wolfe, MD, in helping us retrieve these valuable materials from Dr. Wallerstein’s home.

Fall Hours and Library Website
This Fall, along with welcoming new student groups to the Center and continuing with the projects I have already mentioned, I will be working with SFCP Web Developer Aaron Chow to design and implement a new library webpage. Aaron’s technical knowledge and design sensibilities are great assets to the Center as he maintains SFCP’s complex website, our centralized source of accurate, updated information.

This Fall, there are several changes and additions to library hours:

  • Limited hours September 3
  • Closed September 4 & 5
  • Open until 7:30PM on Scientific Meeting evenings
  • Open until 6:15PM on Tuesday evenings
  • Open Thursday evenings beginning at the end of September, time TBD

Please check the library calendar, always posted online, for details.
Thank you for reading the library news. I hope you enjoy the drawing below by artist Jason Ryan. Let me know if you have caption ideas. See you soon in the library!


* Irwin, N. (2013, August). E-book sales are leveling off. Here’s why. Washington Post (Wonkblog).  Retrieved from:


Carr, N. (2011). The shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

by Jason Ryan


Go to top