Ann Montanaro, Libraries Systems Office, provided a demonstration of the university's digital theses and dissertations project. The Libraries, in collaboration with the Graduate School in New Brunswick, have developed the system that will allow the school to control the submission and approval process for theses and dissertations in a completely digital format. The Libraries will then preserve the digital copy of the work in our repository, saving considerable shelf space, and allowing better user access. The project is just about complete and will be ready for implementation for the academic year. Plans are to implement it with other schools on the three campuses over time. The benefits of this process for the schools is that there is much better information on where the dissertation is in the review process, and about faculty who are on dissertation committees.
Several questions arose from the committee that will be followed up, such as copyright issues concerning some science dissertations that may contain articles already submitted to journals, and availability of the dissertation to the general public, especially in cases where the author might wish to publish a book or apply for a patent. Montanaro responded that the graduate school sets the policies for access, and the software can control access based on the policies. Copyright issues concerning who owns the dissertation are based on university copyright policies. The issue of copyrighted materials in the dissertation would have to be investigated.
Gaunt discussed the final budget implications once the working budget was established. The final cut to the budget was approximately 6.5% or nearly $850,000. This was a little less than expected and came because of salary increases and an overall review of the initial cut. The Libraries basic coping strategy was to take permanent dollars from collections and operating funds, and to freeze a large number of vacant positions to save permanent lines, but to recoup salary savings to cover some of the permanent reductions in collections and operating. As a result, the collections budget was reduced by $800,000.
Gaunt noted that most of the service cuts were felt across all the departments, but primarily behind the scenes. The library hours were reduced initially, but some of them were restored when we had the final budget. Judy Gardner, Head of Access Services, spoke with many student groups and asked for their recommendations. The advisory committee recommended that we also ask graduate students for their input.
In addition to library hours, the results of our LibQual survey and our strategic plan recognized the need for improved library facilities, particularly group study space. We are using gift funds to create at least one group study space in each of our libraries.
Sewell discussed the collections strategy. Duplicate print subscriptions were cancelled if there was an online subscription, or if there was another print copy in the Libraries. Electronic databases that were not heavily used or where coverage could be found in other sources were cancelled, and we negotiated new pricing with the vendors. As a result, we did not lose actual access to journal information content, although any additional cuts in the budget will mean an actual loss to content.
The approval plan by which the Libraries contract for university press monographs based on subject profiles will need to be paid with non-state funding and a small portion of state funds. Other monographs will be purchased with non-state funding. This is why our gift and endowment funds are so critical.
Committee members expressed dismay in the reduction of print books, as it greatly affects graduate programs, especially in the humanities and social sciences.
Gaunt also mentioned a program sponsored by the NJ State Library, the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative (NJKI), which purchases technology, business, and science databases for small businesses, regional public libraries, and the academic libraries. The State Library offers the program as part of its support for developing the New Jersey economy and supporting the science incubator companies. As Rutgers had subscribed to almost all of the NJKI databases, we save approximately $.5M per year. Should this program cease, which it may do at the end of the academic year if it is not renewed in the governor's budget, it will mean an additional loss to the Libraries budget next year.
Judy Gardner explained a proposed new policy for the Libraries to turn over lost book bills to the University's Delinquent Accounts and then to a Collection Agency for collection. Current faculty, students, and staff would be included in the policy and not just guest borrowers and alumni. She explained the sequence of the bills and the reminders, and noted that individuals would have many opportunities to reply before the Libraries turned the bills over to Delinquent Accounts. Once this policy is implemented on a regular basis, Gardner expects that either the books would be returned or the bills paid. Right now we have a number of long outstanding bills to turn over. The committee agreed that this was a reasonable policy and that the Libraries had a fair notification process.
Gaunt and Julia Zapcic, Director of Development, shared the types of proposals for the capital campaign. The proposals fall into several categories: capital projects, collections, digital projects, and general funds through named positions. There are capital needs on all the campuses: a renovations of the Dana Library, a new sciences library in New Brunswick replacing LSM and incorporating the small science branches, and a renovation of the Robeson Library. An expansion to the Libraries' remote storage facility is needed, but we intend to fund that through a bond issue. A major endowment for collections is a goal with all collections benefiting, especially international/global programs. We hope to get an NEH Challenge grant to kick-off the collections campaign. Digital initiatives proposals are primarily to expand the development of our institutional repository, but we will also focus on digitizing unique collections or those where we have collection or university strength, such as jazz, and women in art. Several naming positions are proposed to create general operating founds, such as the university librarian, the director of the Institute of Jazz Studies, archivists, and special collections.
We are also collaborating with other university departments for projects such as the Global Feminist Digital Repository and the renovation of the Balinky Graduate Reading Room in Alexander Library. We suspect that we might be mentioned in other university proposals as well, especially in the area of collection development.
Our proposals well exceed our ability to fund raise successfully for all of them, so there may be winnowing at the university level. All these proposals, however, fit well with our strategic plan, so we will need to find ways to pursue them over time.