The meeting was called to order, and the Agenda and was approved. The minutes for March 25 were approved.
We will move the June meeting of the Planning & Coordinating Committee (P&CC) to June 16. Mary Fetzer will report to the P&CC in June on the activity of the Library Resources Council (LRC).
Cassel reports that the User Services Council (USC) is functioning well. It is large and it is a challenge to get everyone together, but they work through it. The USC has met every month, and twice in one month. Representatives have been good about securing substitutes to attend in their place. As a large group, the USC works best with subgroups for task forces.
The USC believes it would be useful to include the Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems (AUL-DLS) among the members. All elected members are going off the USC at the same time, so staggering the terms would be desirable.
Conducting work virtually has not been very effective. There is still some resistance to working with Sakai.
There have been some joint meetings with the LRC in order to hear reports of mutual interest. Cassel suggested a joint meet be held regularly, perhaps in December, to deliberate upon funding for matters of mutual concern, and Denda supported the suggestion. She is discussing with Sara Harrington (Rules of Procedure) the possibility of staggering elections to the USC.
With regard to adding the AUL-DLS, it was asked whether this would be in addition to the current representatives of Technical and Automated Services (TAS). It was agreed that more coordination is needed, and the inclusion of the AUL would help engender a more holistic viewpoint, so Denda will invite her to participate in the USC.
Denda distributed a flyer on the project. Grace Agnew and Valeda Dent Goodman had appointed a task force co-chaired by Denada and Choong Liew with the goal of creating a replacement for the current staff, collection development and liaison librarians, and libraries and centers directories of the Rutgers University Libraries, with better integration of the integration in a single place.
Liew gave a demonstration of the draft new page combining all three directories. An image of the staff member is optional; publications and presentations can be linked to RUcore. The current page doesn't provide information about which departments and centers librarians liaise with, so this information was solicited. However, the responses were very diverse. One respondent identified fifty liaison units, and another identified only one. Even the meaning of liaison, or the liaison relationship, is unclear. Bob Sewell coordinates liaisons, but in her responsibility for Research and Instruction Services Valeda Dent Goodman needs to be involved also. Rutgers has no master list of academic departments and centers, not even in the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs.
The titles of librarians are a source of confusion, because they do not always identify one's responsibilities, and may change over time. Also, can librarians have multiple titles on these pages? The problem is that policy stipulates each librarian has one official "functional" title. It would be helpful to provide more accurate titles in the directory and even to document changes over time.
Related to the collection development responsibilities, the task force is recommending a separate field using existing vocabulary. This field will be in addition to recommended subject research guides, which are generated by Drupal.
Each directory entry will have its own unique URL to facilitate the sharing of personnel information. It is noted that the project is currently very faculty-oriented, and should have more staff involvement at some point. Research interests may be suitable for the entries, but not lists of publications. We may eventually need a database manager who will be responsible for implementing updates and answering questions. Human Resources (HR) or the manager can provide updates at the top level of the directory entry, while the individual can update roles and responsibilities lower down in the entry-perhaps prompted by a periodic prompt from HR.
We celebrated Banned Books Week for the first time last year. It is time to begin considering what to do next year, and whether to establish a task force with departmental faculty on it. Denda noted that our most effective events are those that partner with outside units, for instance International Programs. Last year Human Rights and Banned Books were a good match. But the new biannual theme is Ecology. How do we match with that?
Environmentalism and access to ecological information appear to be a possibility. In the US, this would include the recent experience with the libraries of the Environmental Protection Agency. The censorship of ecological information has its international dimension, too. Bruce Franklin at Newark has been involved in these issues in a controversy over fish ecology.
A handout listed a target for total cuts of $1.8 million, of which $830,000 for salaries. Any state furloughs could impact our budgets in a downward direction. Gaunt must let Dr. Furmanski know by Monday April 27 what we propose in general, subject to later adjustment.
The overarching strategy is to avoid layoffs, and large freezes in faculty and staff vacancies will enable us to do this. However, if similar cuts occur next year layoffs will be unavoidable. We expect to return 14 positions in all, taken from both faculty and staff lines. Some searches will still go forward, for instance for Music & Performing Arts Librarian.
$725,000 will be taken from the collections budget; Gaunt will contribute $250,000 from Unrestricted Gifts toward this target. $225,000 will be taken from Operations.
In the area of Staffing, we will seek to realign positions, redistribute responsibilities, reorganize workflows using technology or to reflect long term changes (for instance declining need for serials check-ins), and slow down operations.
In Operations, the biggest items are wages & labor, and costs for maintaining systems we use for library operations.
Areas to cut will include discretionary travel, which is divided into support for faculty, budgets of AULs and campus directors, and the central budget; Gaunt will cut the last category by half. Cabinet proposes that faculty travel support be allocated only for tenure track faculty. Units' water coolers will no longer be funded. General belt tightening will include more sparing use of paper, toner, and other supplies. Publications may be produced more inexpensively in-house, and print mailings reduced.
Gaunt wants to reexamine our membership in the Research Libraries Group (RLG), which we use for SHARES (interlibrary loan) and on-site access to member libraries. Cabinet considered, and decided to renew membership in the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Non-members pay $176 per loan; we borrowed 400 times last year.
In Collections, we should identify potential cancellations based on use statistics, and continue to build up collection endowments.
We can explore the possibility of generating revenue through continuing education activities.
Delinquent accounts amount to over $900,000 over many years. We need to explore ways to make the payments easier for students who have graduated, especially grad students, and faculty who leave. We can ask the university to pursue delinquent accounts more aggressively.
Governor Corzine will not provide retirement incentives. The administration is talking to the unions about salary freezes.
Can we reduce the size of permanent cuts by cutting in areas that the university is more likely to restore funding for in the future? This might be staffing for facilities that the university and donors are supporting (like the Fordham Lab), or collections. We should keep a record of the lines surrendered so that we can refer to them in the future if restoration of lines becomes possible.
Not all units will take the same 7.1% cut; the situation is slightly different in every unit.
The New Brunswick Deans' Council delivered a Report on Budget Reduction Strategies that called for a number of items that referred to faculty, including equity in workloads and a closer review of sabbatical proposals to ensure that there is scholarship that moves both the discipline and the department ahead. It also notes that sabbaticals are not automatic.
Jeanne Boyle will chair a task force to find ways to save money.
Conclusion: The Councils and other bodies must continue to assist in articulating our goals as we identify cuts.
-Sabbatical and workload issues from the Deans' Council
Jim Niessen, Secretary