The Committee discussed the current draft of the Mentoring Program Report. The report will be discussed and voted on at the Library Faculty meeting on March 3.
The Committee discussed future budget scenarios. It will explore in the coming months various strategies to deal with budget cuts in the 2006-2007 fiscal year. This will be an ongoing dialogue.
William Paterson University, NJEDge, and VALE are applying to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a grant to develop a statewide media consortium.
If the Board of Governors adopts the report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education, the Libraries will make plans to implement its recommendations.
The Committee discussed the status of open lines in the Libraries.
The Committee will discuss in March the current policies on travel funds and relocation costs for new employees.
The meeting was called to order at 9:30 am. The minutes of the January meeting had been approved earlier via email.
The Faculty Coordinator distributed copies of the current RUL policy on travel funds and discussed RU practices on relocation costs for new employees, as well as copies of these policies from other universities. These two topics will be discussed at the committee's meeting in March.
Tom Glynn, Rhonda Marker, Laura Mullen, and Eileen Stec will review the remaining RUL group questionnaires and report on them at next month's meeting.
Mary Beth Weber, chair of the Mentoring Task Force, distributed for discussion copies of the current draft of the Mentoring Program Report. The report includes supporting documents, such as guidelines for mentors and mentees, a mentor volunteer application, and program evaluation forms. The program envisioned would be administered by the University Librarian and would begin with a two-year pilot phase with four mentors. Participation would be mandatory for mentees and voluntary for mentors. It was emphasized that the mentoring program is not intended as a substitute for the guidance provided by a tenure-track librarian's unit director or peers, but rather that mentors would provide an additional perspective on the Libraries, professional development, and the tenure process.
The committee discussed the draft at length and offered a number of suggestions to strengthen it. It was recommended, for example, that the report emphasize various means for assessing the program's effectiveness. The Faculty Coordinator will circulate via email a revised draft of the report to library faculty prior to the RUL library faculty meeting on March 3. There will be a discussion of the report and a vote on implementing a formal mentoring program.
The financial outlook for the state, and therefore for the university and the Libraries is not encouraging. At the last meeting of the Deans Council, Vice President Furmanski warned that cuts for the 2006-2007 academic year could go as high as eight percent. At this point it is still unclear what our budget will be and the actual reduction might be five percent or less. In any event, we need to plan ahead for some level of reduced funding. As a first step, the University Librarian has asked the Collection Development Council not to commit to any new subscriptions at this time. This may change as we learn more about the 2006-2007 budget. In addition, we will probably pre-pay certain memberships, subscriptions, and other expenses in order to reduce expenditures in the coming year.
Regardless of the level of the cuts, our options are fairly limited. About sixty-five to seventy percent of the Libraries' budget goes towards staff and faculty salaries. The "below-the line" operating budget is minimal and is financed to a large extent through salary savings on open lines. "Below-the-line" includes voucher money used to support temporary appointments and part- time staff. What remains is the collections budget. One way to realize substantial savings would be to freeze open lines. In addition to the three that are currently in recruitment, we have seventeen positions system-wide that are either vacant or filled with a temporary librarian at a salary below the amount on a typical tenure-track line. Everyone agreed that it is important for many reasons to fill these open lines. But cutting collections is almost the only other way to save substantial amounts of money. Practically speaking, we will have to balance next year's budget with some combination of unfilled lines and reduced funding for collections. The committee will consider various budget strategies in the coming months as we find out more about state funding for 2006-2007.
On February 21, Don Waters of the Mellon Foundation addressed library staff and faculty on "Managing Digital Assets." He raised a number of issues that we will need to address as we develop our strategic plan. In particular, he emphasized the role that metadata plays at the article level in making digital assets readily accessible. This is especially vital as the Libraries develop cross-database searching capabilities. Waters also stressed that libraries' unique assets will become increasingly important as commercial digital resources make the collections of research libraries increasingly generic. For the Libraries, this means that unique collections will become even more central. In addition, he referred to the more active role that departmental liaisons will need to play in order to find out what faculty want from the library in a changing research environment. For a version of the talk that Waters delivered in October 2005, see: http://www.arl.org/forum05/
William Paterson University, NJEDge, and VALE are applying to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a grant to develop a statewide media consortium. Even if the application is not successful, this is a project that is worth pursuing. New Jersey would be the only state with such an organization. Not only would it be able to take advantage of consortial pricing, but it could also create a delivery network throughout the state for unique media materials. There might be opportunities for partnering with the New Jersey Digital Highway (NJDH).
The Faculty Senate will soon vote on the report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education. If the Board of Governors eventually adopts it, the Libraries will need to take steps to implement its recommendations. In particular, it would change the way we organize first-year library orientations, since undergraduates would no longer be enrolled in separate colleges. We would also need to work closely with faculty to teach information competence as part of the "Rutgers Core."
The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.