Business Information Center

Business Information Center’s Shaw earns Shapiro Award

Rice News Staff

Life-size cutouts of the Three Stooges wearing signs that read “No Food,” “No Drinks” and “No Cell Phones” greet visitors to the Business Information Center (BIC) on the second floor of Rice’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management.

Photo by Jeff Fitlow
Business librarian Peggy Shaw is the recipient of the 2005 Shapiro Library Staff Innovation Award. She has overseen the Business Information Center at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management since she joined the Fondren Library staff in 1986.

“The Three Stooges were my idols,” said business librarian Peggy Shaw, who propped the cardboard comedians up in the BIC as a friendly reminder to students and faculty to respect the library environment.

Shaw’s dedication to maintaining high standards and her creative approaches to her job are among the reasons she was selected as this year’s recipient of the Shapiro Library Staff Innovation Award by the Staff Travel and Development Committee of Fondren Library.

Since joining the Fondren staff in 1986, Shaw has overseen the BIC, which serves as a business and economics reference library not just for the Jones School but also for the Rice community and the general public. In addition to ordering books, journals and other materials and managing the daily activities of the center, Shaw teaches classes for MBA students on how to use BIC services, how to do job searches and how to research companies.

“Peggy was chosen for the Shapiro Award because of her leadership in the development of the Business Information Center, her dedication to the education process, and her willingness to go the extra mile for faculty and students,” said Susan Leister, catalog librarian and chair of the selection committee for the award. “In addition to the exceptional service she has given to the university for almost two decades, Peggy has strong innovation and planning skills, as demonstrated by her solution to noise in the former library in Herring Hall and her input into the design of the new library in the Jones Graduate School of Management.”

When the BIC started out as one huge room in Herring Hall, students complained they could hear everything at the back of the room, including phones ringing and staff members talking. “That was not conducive to study,” Shaw said. She came up with a remedy after the BIC was used for the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations held at Rice in 1990. A fake wall was built to separate the reading area from the front part of the library during the summit. Shaw noticed that the temporary structure reduced noise, so for capital improvements the following year, she asked for a glass wall, which not only cut out noise but also gave her staff a clear view of the entire library.

Shaw also noticed that students hunched under table lamps to read at night because the ceiling lights weren’t strong enough. “At night it looked like a dimly lit bar,” Shaw said. She solved that problem by having lights installed around the skylights in the library’s rotunda.

When the BIC was being designed for the new Jones School, Shaw knew exactly what was needed for the new space — more shelving, nice reading rooms, areas for small-group discussions and a restricted computer room to house electronic subscription services available only to Rice students and faculty. She complimented Dean Gilbert Whitaker and department heads of the Jones School for incorporating those needs into the planning of the 14,000-square-foot new BIC.

The BIC now houses 5,000 volumes, including annual reports and periodicals, and a variety of electronic databases and services, such as Investexts and online access to the most current financial information.

Shaw loves the new space and her job, which allows her to do the two things she likes best: reference work (research) and teaching. “I thoroughly enjoy working at Rice,” said Shaw, who has bachelor’s degrees in journalism, political science, history and secondary education from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of North Texas. “The Jones School students and Rice undergraduates are exceedingly bright, and the faculty at the Jones School have been very good to me.”

Fondren Library Director Sara Lowman will present the Shapiro Award to Shaw at 2 p.m. April 27 in Lovett Lounge on the third floor of Fondren Library. Members of the Rice community are welcome to attend the ceremony and reception.

The award, which includes a monetary stipend and a plaque, is funded by an endowment from the late Beth Shapiro, who served as university librarian from 1991 until her death in 1995. The award was created to recognize a member of the Fondren Library staff who has developed an innovative program to provide library services at Rice or who has shown exemplary service to the university community.

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