Gaunt asked Cabinet members to encourage their staff and librarians to attend one of the focus group discussions for the Strategic Plan. It is important that we have as much input early in the process on the direction of the libraries over the next three years.
While ALA mid-winter is primarily for committee meetings, Gaunt attended three program sessions of interest. In a session entitled “Beyond the Topic,” Carol Tenopir, University of North Carolina, reported on research conducted with teaching faculty on how they selected publications to read after they located something on a topic of interest. She noted that over the last ten years, the trajectory of the amount of articles faculty is reading is constantly escalating; the amount of time they spend on each item is declining. While the specific amounts vary from discipline to discipline with the sciences and professional schools reading more than the humanists, and the humanists spending more time reading each item, the trajectories are still escalating and declining as noted. The faculty was given seven additional values to choose from when asked what other factors beyond the topic cause them to select an item to read. Free availability of the text on the internet was the only constant when it was paired with six of the other factors. The other factors rated most highly were author reputation and journal reputation/impact. Factors that ranked lowest were institutional affiliation of the author and cost of access. She noted that the library’s role in making full text articles freely available on the web was a major contributor to faculty’s research. She also noted that publisher’s ability to attract the best authors would make their journals more likely to be read and have the greatest impact.
Another session on the library’s role in the selection and use of research analytical tools was also interesting. These tools/databases are those that help institutions rank faculty productivity—amount and impact of publications compared internally and externally. The tools are becoming increasingly popular as institutions focus more on research impact and grants, and seek to identify departments/centers in which to invest. Several academic libraries have been involved in helping their institutions select and use the tools, as well as prepare reports. In some cases the libraries inserted themselves into the process; in others they were asked to be involved. Gaunt explored one of these tools at the conference exhibit. There is already interest at Rutgers in some of these tools, so the Libraries may be helpful in identifying a product and assisting in the roll out.
The SPARC forum focused on how publishers were engaging in open access publications. There is a new consortium for those publishers who are doing open access; and commercial publishers are still exploring the appropriate business models to support open access.
Womack reported that for the last several years, the Rutgers University Libraries have used one of its gift funds to cover for the ongoing decline in state funding and loss of purchasing power for monographs, relying on it as the primary support for the New Brunswick approval plan. Every year, more of the principal of the endowment is used up, and now there are only a couple of years remaining if we continue to purchase at current rates.
As a response to this, the New Brunswick Collections Group has just completed a review of the approval plan, and has eliminated coverage of 225 university and commercial presses in an effort to cut approval spending from over $400,000 to roughly $300,000 per year. This cut will save an estimated $118,000 based on the purchase pattern of the first six months of 2010, and would result in the loss of approximately 2,800 titles per year. While many of these are low volume publishers, they publish in quantities that are simply impossible for our meager budgets to match. Selectors will need to devote an increasing percentage of their discretionary funds to purchasing titles from these publishers simply to insure basic coverage in their disciplines.
These changes will buy us some breathing room, extending the life of the gift fund into FY 2013, but not much further. So, we must examine the potential impact of the loss of the gift fund and solutions to this dilemma.
The current publisher cuts will significantly reduce the strength of the Libraries’ collections. While we have had many cutbacks and cancellations in the past, the loss of approval funding can justly be called a crisis. It must be emphasized that failure to find funding will result not in an incremental reduction of service, but in a collapse that will cause the RUL collection to drop below the bare minimum of what is needed to serve the University. We have only until FY 2013 to stave off that collapse. Gaunt will include this need in future budget discussions.
Fredenburg reported that the best way to characterize the transition to the new HR/payroll system experience is “team building.” The system is up; UHR has been slow in migration of the data, but the team got the Libraries through the first payroll period. Everything went well with Type 1 employees; there were a few glitches with the hourly employees. We are still working on perfecting the student payroll. Kudos to all who worked on the transition.
Gaunt noted that the Task Force on Higher Education Report is available and hopes everyone had an opportunity to take a look at it. It was a great report, and positive for higher education in New Jersey. Gaunt asked Cabinet to think about the report’s recommendations and those areas where we should be focusing attention. The major one affecting us is the Robert Wood Johnson/merger recommendation; recommendations are for another task force to look at medical education. We should identify the areas of concern that would have to be addressed from a library perspective; next would be our recommendations on any of these. Gaunt asked the AULs responsible to their areas to outline the issues from personnel to facilities, to collections to public services; will put on a future Cabinet agenda. Boyle noted that it would be worthwhile to have a folder on our Sakai site for the task force report, the Vagelos report, and any other planning documents.
Gaunt has sent to Cabinet the list of the committees that have been formed for the three new positions; the AUL for RIS committee still needs to be formed. Tom Izbicki has graciously agreed to chair that committee. We have draft position descriptions for all the positions; want to get together with the search committees to do training; Fredenburg is pulling together. Would be ideal to have one session for all committees and the chairs could meet afterwards. Want to get the descriptions polished for positing. Hoping all can be done by the end of January. Search committee chairs and AULs and Directors should remind people this is high priority so try and arrange your schedules to meet. Gaunt will be happy to write letters of recommendation to people being considered.
By this time next week, the new reference desk in Alexander should be complete. Café construction is scheduled to begin on February 7. Walls have been taken down in DTS, giving more light.
At ALA, attended Washington office session “Turning the Page on E-Books”; focused on the big picture of libraries and e-books. Panelists were Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian and Founder of the Internet Archive; Tom Peters, CEO of TAP Information Services; Sue Polanka, Head, Reference and Instruction at Paul Laurence Dunbar Library at Wright State University; and moderator, Rick Weingarten, information technology policy consultant. Boyle learned that we can put links from our catalog to public domain books in Hathi Trust and Internet Archive. Internet Archive is working on a loaner type of software; also a lot of discussion about buying the books rather than linking to them. Emphasis on permissions for the print challenged that copyright books are made available.
Attended ALA; Brewster Kahle had a discussion of WikiLeaks. At a reception of RUSA, the Digital User Services librarian position received a lot of attention.
The implementation of E-ZBorrow has been delayed until the week of February 7. The extra time will be helpful; the catalog is looking good, and we will be sharing it with rul_everyone so the reference librarians and others can take a look at it before it flips over.
Work has started on the Robeson project on the first floor; identified space for 190 computers; the whole area will be totally renovated.
Looking forward to focus groups, search committees, and training; please be reminded that the Libraries Human Resources office is down one person.
Social networking and its implications came up in the HR group at ALA. We are working on a program for the June ALA meeting called “Social (Not) working”; there are many issues related to staff using social networking at work and as a means for recruitment.
The Libraries employee orientation has been postponed.
Meeting with collections analysis group to see where we stand with serials and one time purchasing; issues with the serials agents in terms of changes we made and problems they had tracking their content. The inflation thus far hasn’t been far from our initial projections.
There will be an open house for the Media Center and Sharon Fordham Lab at the Douglass Library from 12-5 on February 1.
Tentatively plan to hold Cabinet focus group session at the February 1 Cabinet meeting. Please let Gaunt know if this is a problem with anyone’s schedules.