Merrill Library Annual Report

Merrill Library Annual Report


Students pose in the library, which was then in Powers Hall. (Washingtonia 1952) dents pose in the library, which was then in Powers Hall. (Washingtonia 1952)


Merrill Library is named after Earle D. Merrill who served Washington State Normal School from 1915 to 1944. Mr. Merrill received his Bachelor’s degree from Bates College in 1912. He joined WSNS as assistant principal in1915.  He took a leave of absence and served in France during World War I with the Engineers of the American Expeditionary Forces from 1918-1919. Upon his return, he continued to upgrade his education, and taught various courses including mathematics, secondary education, and French. Mr. Merrill also served as Washington State Normal School librarian.

The Library was initially housed in Powers Hall. In 1936, a fire destroyed the building. Powers Hall was rebuilt in 1937, and again housed the library.The current Merrill Library was built in 1961 at the end of what was then the new classroom building, Torrey Hall. In 1989, Merrill Library was considerably expanded and upgraded.


The Library is a dynamic partner that empowers and supports the teaching of distinctive baccalaureate programs that focus on an Environmental Liberal Arts core at the University of Maine at Machias. The Library will be recognized as an accessible and exceptional center of research, learning, and creativity focused on student success. The Library welcomes the citizens of the local community and beyond to share in its collections promoting and stimulating intellectual curiosity and creativity while immersed in the cultural milieu of coastal Downeast Maine.




Merrill Library Today



The Library is a dynamic partner that empowers and supports the teaching of distinctive baccalaureate programs that focus on an Environmental Liberal Arts core at the University of Maine at Machias. The Library will berecognized as an accessible and exceptional center of research, learning, and creativity focused on student success. The Library welcomes the 

citizens of the local community and beyond to share in its collections promoting and stimulating intellectual curiosity and creativity while immersed in the cultural milieu of coastal Downeast Maine.

Vision Statement

Merrill Library serves as a gateway to global information, enabling direct and remote access to resources in a variety of formats. By creating a welcoming physical and virtual space, the library is a dynamic and vibrant part of the UMaine Machias academic community supporting an active community of diverse learners. Through student and faculty research assistance, comprehensive information literacy instruction, collection development and maintenance, the Library empowers members of the UMaine Machias community to become discriminating evaluators of information, intellectually curious, and creative lifelong problem solvers.

Who we are

The Merrill Library supports the University of Maine at Machias’ academic programs by maintaining collections in appropriate formats that enhance the teaching and public service goals of the university.  Merrill Library reports to the Head of Campus and is managed through a library director, who is one of the professional librarians. The library employs 2 professional librarians (1.6 FTE) and 1 Library Specialist CL2 (1 FTE). To maintain operations 80 hours per week, the library hires and trains approximately 20 student library clerks during the fall and spring semesters. The library provides the following services: reference, interlibrary loan, instruction, collection development – acquisition and de-acquisition of materials, access services, and technical services, including maintaining the accuracy of the catalog, electronic resources management, and website maintenance.


What we do


Merrill Library serves the University of Maine at Machias students, faculty, staff, students at a distance, Sunrise Senior College members, the residents of Washington and Hancock counties, and the entire State of Maine.

The librarians field reference questions via email, phone, and in person.  Thirty-one instruction sessions were taught, which includes careful preparation of lesson plans and creation of online subject/course guides to support and reinforce the skills introduced. This year 398 students in 19 courses received library instruction in regular class sessions. In one case the librarians were embedded in a Research Methods course, SSC 420, for an entire semester. The Library Specialist CL2 processed 1,771 interlibrary loans, orders and receives materials and supplies via MaineStreet, creates order records, checks in periodicals and catalogs resources in all formats.

The library carefully shepherds all of its resources to support the university’s educational, teaching, research, and service goals. The library’s materials/services budget is $72,583 with an operations and maintenance budget of $4,596. Thoughtful acquisition of resources maintains and ensures a collection that is appropriate for an academic undergraduate library, with many collections available online 24/7. Merrill Library, the largest library in down east Maine, is a depository library for State of Maine government documents. The library’s collections include approximately 60,000 print volumes, 4700 microforms, over 30,000 electronic media, more than 180 online databases, and access to over 50,000 electronic journals, and over 240,000 electronic books.

The library is a member of the URSUS consortium which in 1988-1989, automated the seven University of Maine System Libraries, plus the Maine State Library, The Maine Law & Legislative Library, and the Bangor Public Library. The URSUS catalog currently makes available more than 4 million bibliographic records and 4.6 million shared items, both physical and digital. Patrons have access to the collections in the MaineCat catalog (6.9 million unique titles) which is comprised of the next 100 largest libraries in the state including the collections of Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby college libraries, the community college libraries, and the Portland Public Library. Both the URSUS catalog and the MaineCat catalog provide for patron initiated requesting and delivery of materials statewide.

In addition to URSUS and MaineCat, Merrill Library patrons can access 188 electronic databases covering a wide range of subject areas, many of which provide full text access to journal articles; to government data; to more than 200,000 electronic books; and over 54,000 unique electronic journals containing millions of articles. Funding for these resources is provided through a combination of the following sources: the Merrill Library acquisitions budget, the URSUS database budget, the state E-Rate allocation, the Maine State Legislature, the Maine State Library.

Merrill Library’s patrons also benefit from a discovery service, OneSearch, which can search and retrieve records for all or most of the resources contained in URSUS and the research database articles including physical and digital items.  Students, faculty, and staff have access to interlibrary loan services that enable them to access those materials which are not in our collections or subscriptions. The library has recently launched a new website, providing direct access to OneSearch our one stop discovery service. The website provides links to find books, articles, subject and course guides, “How to” tutorials, policies, hours, and staff contact information.

Merrill Library strives to provide a comfortable and welcoming physical environment that is conducive to both individual study and group study.  Available to enrolled students is a 24 Hour Room accessible after hours by swipe card. The room is equipped with computers, printer, and a scanner.  The library has a total seating capacity of 90 seats. The recent purchase of new seating has focused on softer upholstered furniture.  The library will continue to plan and provide more seating/space for students and devote less space to warehouse books. The library currently has 1 study room, but there are plans to provide another. A new front entrance – lobby doors, stairs, ramp and railings –was begun in August 2017. The contract for this renovation came in at $113,000 and is managed by UMaine Machias’ Physical Facilities Department and the Facilities Management Office at the University of Maine.

The library’s reference services provide one-on-one help whether in person, on the phone, or by email. Students can make appointments with reference librarians for individual help or for group project information needs.  Soon to be launched in time for the coming academic year is a new online chat service. The reference staff also provides stand-alone information literacy/bibliographic sessions as well as partnering with faculty to teach in-depth research skills as embedded librarians/instructors.

Merrill Library at the University of Maine at Machias was selected by the Maine Humanities Council to offer “Let’s Talk About It,” a free public reading and discussion group, with copies of books available for loan through the library as well as a scholar to facilitate the discussion.  The theme of the UMaine Machias program was “Entering Nature: Contemporary Views of the Human Self in the Natural World.” Books that were read and discussed included: “Lives of a Cell” by Lewis Thomas; “The Tree” by John Fowles; “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard; and “Arctic Dreams” by Barry Lopez.

Merrill Library hosted three Libra Writer’s Series events, coordinated by Assistant Professor of English, Tessa Mellas, and Professor of Arts & Book Arts, Bernard Vinzani. Invited authors spent time in the creative writing classroom and the Book Arts Studio talking and working with students and then held a reading with a Q&A session in the Library. Invited authors were: Emma Sovich, Sarah Majka, and Gabby Schulz.


Merrill Library – By The Numbers


Salaries/wages/fringe benefits expenses $176,231
Materials/services expenses $72,583
Operations and maintenance expenses $4,596


Collections Physical Digital/Electronic
Books 60441 214258
Databases 188
Media 1921 29884
Serials 113 54102



Library Circulation

Reserve Circulation 1292
Total Circulation all shelving locations 3557


Interlibrary Loan Services

Total interlibrary loans and documents provided to other libraries 778
Total interlibrary loans and documents received 993


Information Literacy Sessions

Sessions embedded in a class 11
Free-standing sessions 20
Total students reached 389
Total number of unique classes visited 19



Total reference sessions 123
The questions came in a variety of formats:
In person 87
Phone 26
Email 10


Length of sessions:

0-9 minutes 66
10-19 minutes 23
20+ minutes 34



FTE Librarians 6
FTE Other library Personnel 1


Personnel includes 2 Librarians and 1 Library Specialist CL2. This year, Merrill Library hired and trained 18 work-study students (2.7 FTE) with Federal Work Study awards from September until May, and only has funding to hire 1 work-study student with department funds from mid-May through August (1 FTE).

Staff members are as follows: Marianne Thibodeau, Director of Merrill Library (MLIS & M.Ed.) Ben Noeske, Associate Director of the Library (MSLS) Jeanne Vose, Library Specialist CL2.

Commitments to committees

Marianne Thibodeau

  • URSUS Directors Council, System-wide
  • URSUS Reference Committee, System-wide
  • Shared Digital Collections Committee, System-wide
  • Head of Campus Search Committee
  • Business Faculty Search Committee
  • Leadership Committee
  • Planning & Budget Advisory Committee
  • Space Utilization Planning Committee, Chair
  • American Colleges & Research Libraries – New England Chapter (ACRL|NEC), Board Member

Ben Noeske

  • URSUS Cataloging Committee, System-wide
  • URSUS Circulation Committee, System-wide

Jeanne Vose

  • Wellness Committee


  • Replaced entrance doors and glass wall, entrance stairs and ramp. Contract bid for this work came in at $113,017.
  • Added new task chairs, task lighting and new comfortable soft seating furniture.

System Considerations

  • OneSearch, a discovery service, was purchased by the members of the URSUS consortium. We are currently in the second year of a 3 year contract.


  • The UMS Library Directors discussed assessment needs during their 2017 & 2018 retreat.
  • They are also looking into the possibility of using in-house resources to create assessment tools such as graduate students at UM or student capstone projects.
  • They would like to tie library assessment into retention goals at some point.

Looking Towards the Future

  • Future plans – additional study room.
  • Remove a range in the mezzanine to provide more student study space.
  • Begin to plan for 2 mediated study rooms.
  • The University of Maine at Machias will be prominently featured on the University of Maine’s Digital Commons site where UMaine Machias faculty, students and staff will have the opportunity to showcase and share their scholarship, research, and creative projects.