Bob deferred his report to concentrate on budget planning but stressed the need for cooperation and communication as we plan for the coming budget year.
Orders are mostly right up-to-date, with the exception of a small backlog of music orders currently being reduced. There are some problems with processing of Strand orders for Robeson, and Bob will notify Mary Page. A Serials Vendor RFP has gone out, and we are hoping to realize some savings and better service.
The crisis is serious. While we can hope for some restoration from the governor, it is also possible that the cuts will be worse than projected. The Libraries are using as a planning figure a cut of 8%, or approximately $2,000,000 from the current permanent budget. The major areas for our budget are Personnel, Collections, and "Below the Line" expenses. Contractual obligations limit how much we can realize in savings from personnel (although there are possible savings through leaving lines temporarily open); there is little money in "Below the Line" or operating budget (which is underfunded as is), so much of our funding that can be cut resides in Collections.
The permanent state materials budget for FY 2006 was approximately $7.1 million (temporary money increased the state total to just short of $8 million). Of that, approximately $6.5 million went to serials. Assuming an inflation rate of 7%, FY 2007 serial expenditures project to $6.955 million, an increase of $450,000.
An 8% cut in the permanent budget would leave us with $6,595,000--or a deficit of $360,000 (without any money for firm orders or approval). If we face a larger cut of $1 million, the immediate deficit would be $786,522. If we retain the full funding for the student computer fees of roughly $305,000, the deficit would be decreased, but not eliminated.
In essence, everything is on the table.
There seems little prospect of the university setting clear guideline for programs to be de-emphasized, so we cannot expect much guidance in that regard. Our own strategic planning does provide us with direction.
While it would be helpful to be able to quantify the cost of interlibrary loan processing, the best studies were done several years ago, and do not include innovative services like E-ZBorrow and Rapid--thus we have no precise current data. The possibility of charging users for ILL or perhaps limiting ILLs to graduate students and faculty has been raised, though there are concerns about inflicting further pain on our users.
A number of overall principles were suggested. We should privilege electronic sources--networked and available to all campuses and remote users--over print or microfilm in most cases (it was noted in passing that we need more data on the use of print collections). We also need to consider usage statistics and the price per use of databases. Little used databases with high per use cost might need to be sacrificed.
Another principle is the cancellation of print titles where there are electronic subscriptions (without strings, without embargoes), though exceptions might need to be made for areas like Art where the quality of reproductions in electronic form is clearly inadequate.
Duplicate subscriptions are another area for cuts, though here the task is complicated by overlaps with other databases, vendor contracts, and embargoes. And of course the labor to investigate these issues is also a cost. This area will be looked at closely by a task force.
It was noted that we are increasingly leasing our collections rather than owning them, though the current budgetary situation makes this choice inevitable. It will be important for the libraries to prepare an FAQ or some other information sheet explaining the need for the cuts that we will have to make.
The possibility of canceling Lexis Nexis Academic (because of the overlap with Access World News) was raised, but the legal component of LN is so important as to render this an unacceptable option unless we could either get a less expensive subscription to WestLaw or somehow partner with the Law Libraries.
Shall we protect journal and database subscriptions at the expense of books? It is noted that our users see the borrowing of books as a core function, but there are non-state moneys to fall back on, and indeed the state budget funds barely 1/3 of the approval plan, and many firm orders are already paid for on non-state funds. It might be appropriate to limit duplicate copies of books, and to perhaps narrow approval profiles in some subject areas.
Consensus was reached that we need to eliminate substantially about all print subscription duplication (except where contracts specify copies on each campus). Gracemary will provide a spreadsheet of these duplications, and the teams will work out agreements, with full consultation, deciding the location of the single copy. While it was urged that 24 hour delivery of electronic copies be provided for, it will not be feasible in the short-term, considering the dire budget situation. Such delivery remains a goal. Gracemary will also prepare other lists of duplicates (electronic and print; multiple electronic subscriptions) that will inform additional cutting. We agree to cancel all but one copy of even the popular news magazines (Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News), and distribute the remaining subscription among the campuses. We will cancel microfilm subscriptions to newspapers available in Access World News (with a few exceptions like the Star Ledger in Newark).
Consideration is being given to not binding for a year. While bindery expenses are already mostly taken from non-state funds, eliminating binding would release the money for firm orders. But there are costs--the loss of issues, the likelihood of much higher prices whenever we resume our practice of binding, difficulties with the display of holdings. One solution--a closed stacks periodical collection--but this appears difficult to carryout quickly.
There was a discussion on the fate of the most recently approved new databases and electronic subscriptions. One argument is that canceling these titles will cause less harm because users have not gotten accustomed to them, but there might be critical titles among that group that we might want to prioritize. Gracemary will update us on the status of these titles.
A quick review of Central memberships revealed few we feel can be safely canceled--most bring too many benefits and are also a part of our professional good citizenship. Metro and the UK Serials Group are two we'll consider, though they will yield relatively small savings.
Selectors should be looking at their own funds to see where they might realize savings. On a larger scale, we need to investigate opportunities to realize savings by switching vendors, getting different "suites" of titles, and altering payment schedules.
We are certainly looking at a short deadline--probably June at the latest. Once we determine the
"easier" cuts from duplicates, we can assess the level or percentage of cuts that still need to be
[Since this meeting, we have learned the reduction figure for the Libraries is greater than previously thought.]
Kevin P Mulcahy