Ron Becker, Chair of the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee shared the plan noting that Profs. Judith Grassle and Meredith McGill represented the Advisory Committee on the Strategic Plan Steering Committee. The plan is organized around several goals, which are patterned after the University's Strategic goals but adapted for the Libraries. This plan builds on the previous plan that focused on using information technology to advance our collections and services. The themes of focus and integration call for a stronger emphasis on supporting the university's goals and integrating the Libraries better into the research, instruction, and service missions of the University. Rather than pointing out specific goals for each year, the plan describes directions and areas of emphasis. The goals will be determined each year dependent upon funding to achieve them. While the plan will form the basis of our yearly asking budget, we know that state funds are limited. The committee suggested that we begin the plan with a vision statement to show what the plan will do for the university-an outcome statement. They agreed that some mention that this plan compliments the IT strategic plan would be useful, but we should not specifically tie it to the IT plan. They also suggested that a statement in the introduction about our ambitions of becoming a first rank institution be changed to a general statement on the university's ambitions. The Libraries' plan will be broadly distributed and discussed in the Fall. Committee members noted that the timing of the plan is difficult because there will be major cuts in the state budget next year; none the less, the Libraries need to focus on future directions and to be aware that funds need to come from a variety of areas, including grants and external fund raising. The plan will have a prominent place on the Libraries website.
Gaunt discussed the Libraries' planning for potential budget cuts. She distributed an outline of budget guidelines that the Libraries propose to use. There is very little that can be cut completely, as many services are integrated into basic library operations. It is more likely that many areas will be affected by smaller cuts that will reduce productivity or the quality of services, such as a slowing of the cataloging process, shelving, and interlibrary loan operations. While we will focus on our users and their needs, service hours are likely to be reduced for reference service and library hours. The collections budget will be reduced and gift and endowment funds will be used to supplement the cuts. However, if the cut is very large, the gift and endowment funds that are not restricted to collections may be used to for services and not totally for collections. While we will look at where we might find revenues, we have not charged our patrons for services and are not inclined to do so unless it is a "special" service that is not core to our operations.
Our ambitions to introduce new services and create the digital library will be curtailed somewhat, but there is a concern that we not cease moving forward, even if it is with smaller steps than we planned. The Libraries are heavily invested in staff, but we have lost approximately 44 positions over the last 20 years and the digital environment requires more staff with more sophisticated skills. As a result, we are likely to see either layoffs and/or frozen or eliminated positions with the proposed cuts. Because of previous reductions, the Libraries have been forced to used annual faculty appointments because of lack of funds to hire tenure-track positions. Many of the contracts will not be renewed.
Gaunt distributed a list of the most expensive databases noting that our users prefer us to maintain digital collections because they are used so heavily. She also noted that if the state does not continue the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative program that saves the Libraries approximately $500,000 per year, that will mean an additional cut in collections. The program will end in June 2007, which means that we will need a budget increase to stay the same as the current year. Unfortunately, we don't expect the actual figures for cuts to come until close to the end of the fiscal year. The Libraries are currently modeling cuts at 5,8 and 10%.
Gaunt distributed a list of the Libraries management positions related to a reorganization that has been planned over the last two years. In many ways it follows the reorganization of the New Brunswick Libraries ten years ago when the positions of directors of each of the New Brunswick Libraries were combined into a single Director of New Brunswick Libraries in recognition of how each library needed to be integrated into a campus whole. As a result of that organization, all the departments operate across all physical buildings. Both staff and librarians agree that it was a most useful change that brought all staff and librarians together in more cohesive planning and delivery of services.
The next step follows the university organization by eliminating the New Brunswick Library director position (the campus provost) and combining it with the Associate University Librarian for Public Service position (VP for Academic Affairs), but renaming that position, Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services. Francoise Puniello will take on this role in an acting capacity until we can do a national search for the position. By combining these to positions we can also create a new and important position of Associate University Librarian for Planning and Organizational Research. There is a tremendous need for better planning and assessment as the libraries continuously change because of information technology, and Jeanne Boyle will take on this position. Because the position of AUL for Research and Instructional Services will have all the faculty and staff in public service roles in New Brunswick reporting to them, and will also be responsible for coordinating these roles across all three campuses, there will be a "second in command" to assist in these roles, but also be the point person for all facilities development and management activities-Associate University Librarian for Facilities Development and Management, and Francoise Puniello will take this on this role permanently.
As funds permit, we will also move to create an Advancement Office that pulls together the development and communications activities of the Libraries. This will position the Libraries for the next capital campaign and thereafter. We hope to create a Director of Library Advancement position in addition to the Development Officer and Communications Officer and staff we have presently. With the projected budget cuts it is unclear how soon we may be able to move on this, but we will try to create this office incrementally.