The video about the Rutgers Libraries that was created for Rutgers Day was shown. It was narrated by a student and put together by many students in the Sharon Fordham Lab. Harry Glazer prepared the text. It was well received and we suggested that it be edited slightly so that it can be put on the website for general use.
Gaunt noted that at the recent Deans Council meeting there was a discussion about the current flu virus and the possibility that it might mutate to a stronger form in the fall. It is important that all units have plans in place should there be a serious outbreak that would threaten programs at the university. Sample plans for two units were distributed. We will look to documents prepared by the Libraries' Health and Safety Committee for disaster planning to see if they can be adapted for use under these circumstances.
The University's Budget Advisory Committee has met and Dean Jim Hughes gave an excellent presentation on the state of the state compared to the nation in the current economic environment. The NJ situation does not look good and it will be difficult for the next several years to see any increases in the budget. Both substantial revenue and jobs have been lost in the state. Ideas provided by the NB Dean's Council and the unions were shared. It appeared that furloughs were not a good choice for higher education because of the many grant funded position and an inability to work across the board. It was agreed that any reductions should be focused in the right areas and that no single group should bear the burden of the cuts.
Gaunt reminded everyone to review and make comments about the ARL profile for RUL, and that comments need to be in by Friday, May 15. ARL is trying to compile a qualitative profile of the research library in the 21st century and gathering data from all member libraries on their current activities and collections. Denda suggested that we highlight the IJS and Griffis Collection under the collections topics.
Gaunt also asked about diversity recruitment planning, as we want to make a proposal for Target of Opportunity faculty hires for the next three years. A few positions and possible candidates were discussed. Gaunt asked members to continue with more ideas so that we can present a plan for the next three years. She would like responses in the next two weeks.
Winston was congratulated on the AEF proposal for a social sciences data program and for the collaborative work between Newark and New Brunswick on the proposal.
Boyle reported that the Task Force on Cost Savings had an excellent first meeting with many creative ideas. The TF is working in subcommittees and they expect to have a number of things to report by June 1. Gaunt noted that this work can be ongoing as we may be able to implement more ideas throughout the year.
Gaunt welcomed Don Smith to Cabinet for an update on IT and a free flowing exchange of ideas.
Smith discussed a number of projects and activities underway at IT including the work on new learning spaces. He noted the renovation of Records Hall with spacious computer work spaces, controlled printing using swipe cards for print release, lounge chairs and group work rooms with large plasma monitors. He asked about potential collaborations for such space in the Libraries. He mentioned the need to have more sophisticated software in other labs and not just in specialized places like the Writing Lab. We talked about a laptop lending program in the Libraries as a potential collaboration with IT taking on the machine maintenance part and the Libraries doing the circulation; he noted that batteries were another problem as the Libraries mentioned putting in more outlets to recharge batteries. Other areas discussed included: network saturation and the need for increased bandwidth; proposals for the federal stimulus funding and agency grants; the use of Zotero and the promotion of such tools; moving to open source software and promoting it; the challenges of multiple e-mail systems and privacy/security issues in using non-university accounts; the delivery of media on demand and streaming and how the Libraries could collaborate on providing the infrastructure that is used in the NJVid; decoupling identity management and authorization by 2010 as RIAS rolls out; decoupling the netID from the email name; security of information using a new swipe card; VOIP that would mean one wire for everything and the potential cost savings. He finished with a quick overview of budget reductions.
We agreed that there were a number of areas where there is great potential for collaborations. Boyle and Agnew will compile a first draft of some areas to which others can respond. We will invite Don and other IT people to future discussions.
There is no changing news on the budget. The university continues to work with the unions on possible ways to reduce the impact of existing agreements on salary increases and on other ideas for cost savings. As noted earlier, furloughs for higher education employees do not work well, so it is unlikely that the university would implement furloughs. A number of departments have already implemented personnel layoffs. We have not yet had approval for our budget reduction planning, but Gaunt will inquire as to status of notification. Until then we will have to hold off implementing any recruitment on open lines. We do not believe there will be any additional reductions this year because it is so late in the budget cycle, but it is unclear about whether there will be greater cuts than planned for next year based on the revenue shortfalls.
Agnew suggested a demonstration of the current ETD platform.
Next meeting: May 26, 2009