Gaunt and Sewell provided additional background on the budget reductions this year. After the working budget was received the Libraries had an additional $300,000; most of this related to salary increases and actual dollars on the 21 frozen positions. Our total budget cut based on FY 06/07 dollars was approximately 4.6%. Some of the new-found funds were used to unfreeze several positions (humanities librarian for philosophy, religion, and classics, East Asian librarian, and social sciences data librarian; Director of Administrative Services, and Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services) and for operating expenses. After reviewing library hours with student groups, library hours were restored on all campuses. Sixteen positions remain frozen permanently (nine faculty, six staff) until we accrue additional permanent salary dollars. As new positions are vacated, we assess the highest priority position to be filled. Many operations behind the scenes have slowed down, such as processing materials and shelving, as have our digital initiatives. Our collections funds were cut permanently by $800,000 and we are making up the loss by using gift and endowment funds. Our current state budget will only cover $200,000f or books, and none of the expenses associated with the cost of shipping or binding. We are concerned about next year, as inflation on our serials is expected to be close to $.5 million. Happily, the state's New Jersey Knowledge Initiative is in the governor's budget for renewal. This initiative purchases about six databases for Rutgers, saving us $.5 million per year.
Bob Sewell discussed the Libraries' plan to create a Scholarly Communications Committee that would address a variety of issues related to new modes for the creation, distribution, and preservation of scholarly information--such as open access journals, self-archiving publications, contributing published and unpublished work to our institutional repository, Rucore. Our plan is to work with the faculty on establishing priorities for the kinds of digital projects we would undertake, assessing the most beneficial operations in this environment that the Libraries should support, educating the faculty on how to retain rights to their works, determining if the Libraries should have a role in creating and/or supporting open access publications. Initially we plan to establish a small internal steering committee to outline and prioritize the work, and then to engage the teaching faculty in the committee. We will need to have the highest level support, such as the Executive VP for Academic Affairs, and the VP for Research and Graduate Education. The Advisory committee members emphasized the importance of engaging the teaching faculty as early as possible in the process. They noted that the sciences may be at the forefront, but all disciplines need to be involved. Gaunt noted that open access is extremely beneficial to the humanities because it exposes their work to greater audiences. Wasserrnan reminded the committee of the difficulties of open access for monographs, because of the copyrights, royalties, and editorial investment.
Prof. Axelrod asked about the Library's policy on paying for faculty contributions to open-access journals, such as Bio Med Central. Many journals now permit authors to contribute a fee to make their publication openly available. If the fee is not paid, then the article appears in the journal but is only available to subscribers. While individual faculty can pay the fee to make their publications open-access, there are lower costs if the Libraries cover these fees through a discount option. Sewell noted that we have not done this as yet, and for a research-intensive school such as Rutgers, these costs could be more than the traditional cost of a journal subscription. One suggestion was that a portion of the ICR be returned to the Libraries for such purposes; another was that these fees be made part of the academic excellence funds. Prof. Morrell commented that the academic excellence funds were one-time funds to seed larger research projects, and therefore would exclude this use.
Jeanne Boyle summarized the Libraries work on the Middle States Self Study teams. There are four representatives from the Libraries on various teams, and our focus has been to demonstrate how the Libraries assess their contributions to student learning, and how they support the development of information literacy skills. She noted that Rutgers has chosen to focus on the undergraduate experience for the Middle States reaccreditation process because of the reorganization of undergraduate education in New Brunswick, and similar reviews on the other campuses. Middle States is also now focused on outcomes and assessment, and the various units of the university are at different stages in how they do assessment. The Libraries have created a new position that she holds, Associate University Librarian for Planning and Organization Research, whose major focus is assessment. We are in the process of defining who our peer institutions are for comparisons. We use the Association of College and Research Libraries standards for assessing information literacy, which is the prime contribution of the Libraries to the student experience. This is the area on whish Middle States now focuses for Libraries rather than on the traditional inputs, such as collection size. Boyle also noted that the state is reviewing the licensure regulations for higher education and the section on Libraries deals heavily with how information literacy is supported at the institution.
While the Libraries teach many classes, provide online tutorials, such as those on plagiarism and information seeking skills, and offer consulting on projects and papers, there is no university-wide or campus-wide planning for how information literacy skills are incorporated into the curriculum. The Libraries are working with the new VP for Undergraduate Education, Barry Qualls, to determine how this might be accomplished.