The chair of the Library Assessment Committee, Susan Beck, presented a brief overview of the Libraries' process for determining the appropriate criteria of excellence that the various stakeholder groups (faculty, students, administrators, library staff, alumni, and NJ citizens) would use to measure the Rutgers Libraries' effectiveness. The committee was asked to respond to some general questions about their use of the Libraries and then to the specific DRAFT criteria of excellence for faculty and students.
How do you use the library?:
What do you think is the library's primary role at Rutgers?:
Have you encountered any barriers in using the library?:
If you were creating measures for evaluating the impact of the library on the faculty or students, what measures do you think would be important?:
Of the measures you identified which is the most important?:
Committee members were asked to rank 7 categories in order of importance to them. Their responses were:
An 8th criterion was suggested, "Planning for the Future" but only 7 committee members added it to the questionnaire.
Bob Sewell presented an overview of the library collections budget for fiscal year 2005. Nearly 97% of the budget is for fixed (recurring costs, such as serials) and book orders placed last fiscal year and not yet received. Only about a third of the approval plan books (major university press publications) can be covered from state funds. These figures include an extra one-time funding of $950,000 from the university. This difficult budget situation results from a continuous increase in the cost of journals and databases, especially (but not exclusively) in the sciences that average about 9% per year. Without at least that amount of increase in our collections budget each year we face journal cancellations or reduced book purchases. One very bright side of the budget this year is the state's Knowledge Initiative, a $6 million program to provide access to approximately 6 major databases in science and business to support small businesses and research in New Jersey . On November 15 when the vendor contracts are awarded, Rutgers will find out how much of this funding will come to us. As we already subscribe to almost all of the databases, the question is what portion of the subsidy will we see. If it is significant, it will be applied to the acquisition of additional resources here. If not, most books will be acquired through gift and endowment funds, many of which are restricted to specific subject areas and/or libraries.
Bob Sewell provided background information on a National Institute of Health proposal to place publications based on NIH funding in the open access database PubMedCentral six months after publication or immediately after publication if the NIH funds were used to subsidize the publication (through page charges, for example). NIH maintains the PubMedCentral database. There is a 60 day window of comment on this proposal to NIH and the Committee was asked if it was willing to write a letter supporting the initiative. While many faculty felt the proposal has merit-- government funded research should be made publicly available, and open access publications do get broader exposure-- there were some concerns. Would this have a negative impact on the viability of small scholarly societies who depend on the revenue of their publications to exist? Would individuals not subscribe or drop their membership? The societies can't afford to make their publications available for free. Author fees for article submissions don't always work. Another concern was for monographs based on NIH funded research. Would the NIH extend their proposal to monographs when the university presses already have a difficult time surviving in the current market. Would NIH continue to fund PubMedCentral and retain all the publications submitted? Is this a trusted archive, and where are the multiple sites to assure backup? Gaunt agreed to draft a letter and circulate it via e-mail for comment.
When asked how we could bring the issue of open access to the faculty for broader discussion, Meredith McGill noted that the CCAC was declaring this the year of intellectual property and that this topic might make an engaging symposium. She agreed to bring the idea to Michael Warner, FAS- English in New Brunswick, who will be spearheading the effort.
The report from Gaunt was very brief due to the time, but she distributed information about a few initiatives undertaken by the Libraries. The recommendations from the recently completed communications audit was distributed to provide an overview of what the Libraries will be engaged in over the next 5 years of our strategic plan. The challenges of communicating the collections and services available to the Rutgers community are daunting, and the audit provides some guidance in "getting the word out" in a variety of formats and contexts. She also distributed the table of contents from the Libraries report on Learning Frameworks for Information Literacy. The complete report is on the Libraries' website. As many already know, the Middle States Commission has revised its guidelines and the Library is not evaluated as in the past, but rather the information literacy of students is the outcome that institutions must assess. The Spring Information Literacy symposium that the Libraries sponsored provided some background on how this is might be accomplished, and our associate university librarian, Jeanne Boyle, is on the Qualls subcommittee on curriculum to discuss how information literacy skills might be incorporated into the curriculum at Rutgers.