Gaunt reviewed the request for reclassifications. These have not yet been sent to University Human Relations for review and approval, so the amount needed is not a final figure. Nonetheless, it is a reasonable ballpark for planning. The funds to support these positions would come from our permanent salary reserve which is currently low, and Gaunt discussed what other potential needs might be made of this fund. One is for hiring individuals internal to the university for vacant positions, where the Libraries may need to meet the minimum criteria of a 5% raise if the candidate is currently making more than the person who vacated the line. Another is for the recently recruited faculty positions where we set aside a certain level of funding. If our successful candidate's experience and credentials exceed the level for which funds were allocated we may need to use the reserve fund for the recruitment. Gaunt suggested, and Cabinet agreed, that we should wait until the current hiring cycle is completed and determine at that time if the reclassifications can go forward. Most of these positions will be filled fairly soon so we should not have to wait very long.
Boyle reviewed her research following our previous discussion on determining our peer/aspirant schools. She distributed several charts showing how Rutgers compared with other public AAU institutions in several areas. The university uses the public AAU institutions for its comparisons. She constructed several charts comparing a number of factors, such as ARL rank by expenditures, staff, FTE, current serials, volumes, volumes added, and a composite factor rank. She also compared grants from the NSF-Digital Library, Mellon, and IMLS. In the end, a composite chart was created for the top 10, top 15, and top 20 institutions. We felt comfortable with the ranks and the peer schools within each so that we can use this chart for peer and aspirant school comparisons.
She also shared a number of statistical charts comparing the Libraries services and use over a ten-year period. The largest growth areas are in the number of electronic subscriptions, the amount of database usage, and the growth in interlibrary borrowing and lending since 2002/02. Library expenditures in all categories, such as collections, salaries, and other expenditures have risen over the years, with operating expenditures growing at the lowest rate.
The decline in reference questions has been consistent and precipitous from a high in 1996/97 of nearly 600,000 to a low of just over 75,000 in 2005/06. The Ask a Librarian service has been declining slowly since its peak in 2002/03. Circulation dropped precipitously between 1996/97 and 2001/02, but has been declining at a much slower rate since then. With the exception of a peak on 1997/98, the number of classes taught has been relatively flat over the years but the number of students taught is escalating. Building use is dropping with the exception of the year when the new wing of Alexander opened and similarly with the Douglass renovations. The number of titles cataloged has remained relatively flat over the years, but the collection growth in the number of volumes added is declining. Cabinet thanked Boyle for the data suggested that the Councils review the data for what they might imply about resource allocation and the strategic plan.
Puniello discussed the issues surrounding the public's use of computers in the Libraries. The situation varies from library to library depending on use patterns by the public. As a public institution we wish to make our resources available to those outside of Rutgers; as government depository libraries we need to provide access to government publications for the public; and to fulfill the agreement for the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative the public needs access to the NJKI databases. The main problem is the inability to easily restrict the amount of time spent on the computers to the detriment of our primary clientele, and the apparent use of the computers for non-research/scholarship needs. Cabinet re-emphasized the right of all users to privacy when accessing resources, such as reviewing medical information. The use of privacy screens and locating computers in a way where screens were not visible to others is appropriate. We may also restrict the number of computers that are available for non-Rutgers users, and/or provide logon restrictions for certain machines. Puniello will discuss various implementations with systems staff.
Boyle provided a de-briefing on the program hosted by University Vice President Pazzani recently on enabling the development of a national cyber-infrastructure. She distributed the power point from the program. She noted that Libraries were included in the overall plan for the cyber-infrastructure development, the purpose of which was to catalyze the development of a system of science and engineering data collections that is open, extensible, and evolvable, and to support the development of a new generation of tools and services facilitating data acquisition, mining, integration, analysis, and visualization. SCILS and OIRT folks have discussed follow-up activities after the meeting to keep the discussion open for potential collaborations on grants. Agnew noted that we have not yet escalated out own skills at data management, and we need to gain some experience with small internal projects. We may wish to work with a few faculty members who have such data before we take on a grant project.