The University Librarian reported on the state of the budget. The provision of an additional $1.2 million by the Rutgers administration will enable us to continue offering the NJKI databases, but we must model 3% and 7% budget cuts. There is a limit to how long a vacant position can be frozen and its salary savings used for collections.
We reviewed the new guidelines and reporting requirements enacted by the State Ethics Commission. Library faculty and staff must acknowledge receipt of the documents, report annually on all external remuneration, and be mindful of potential conflicts of interest arising from vendor-hosted visits and conference events.
Boyle distributed the RUL Action Plan and an Implementing Strategy diagram. It will enable us to incorporate goals and strategies into annual reports and identify barriers and difficulties that stand in the way of fulfilling our Strategic Plan.
The Faculty thanked retired colleagues Howard Dess, James Nettleman, Patricia Piermatti, and Lourdes Vázquez for their many years of service to RUL.
The University Librarian reported on the forum about E-Scholarship at the ARL meeting and led a discussion of its implications for RUL. Data archiving and the transformation of research processes in the disciplines increase the importance of subject knowledge and advanced degrees in the recruitment of future librarians.
The meeting was called to order at 9:27, The agenda was adopted and the minutes for March 7, 2008 were approved without amendment or dissent.
Rutgers administration has provided the Libraries with $1.2 million for collections, but much of the budget is still undecided. The $1.2 million will not be included in the reductions we are modeling, and enable us to keep NJKI. Gaunt learned from colleague directors that many institutions are modeling cuts of as much as 25%. For a 3% reduction we would need to cut $737,000, and for a 7% reduction we would have to cut $1.7 million.
Many lines were frozen in the last budget cycle. These are still in our budget and hence represent salary savings money that we can shift to collections. We can "buy them back" if we find the requisite money to do this. We're perilously close to losing these lines permanently; VP Furmanski may not permit us to maintain frozen lines indefinitely. A line is a line, and does not necessarily attach to a specific title. If we give up a line, we can replace that position with another line if we find one.
We are working on a priority list of positions we want to fill, with faculty lines first, and then staff lines. As soon as we get the budget, we can act on this. We have relied upon salary savings to give us flexibility in the operating budget. On average, we have accrued $1 million from salary savings. Many other academic libraries also operate this way. We will be seeking to raise more unrestricted funds through Development.
In more positive news, Rutgers has hired Douglas Greenberg as Executive Dean of SAS. As an historian he is a great supporter of libraries; he asked many questions about library support during his visit to campus.
The Collection Development Council is examining what the $1.2 million will do for us. Special Collections is suffering from a separate reduction in operating funds that comes as a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission whose funds were cut by the State. It would be unfair to have them suffer a double reduction, so it may be necessary to increase support from the RUL budget to compensate for this.
The State Ethics Commission has produced new guidelines and RUL administration has passed them on to us. They are similar to those of other states.
Three documents were distributed:
Be aware of potential conflicts of interest. Don't accept invitations to hosted events at ALA if you are targeted as an individual rather than as a member of a larger group.
All-expenses paid trips to visit vendors are a special case to be examined individually. This applies to both faculty and staff invitees.
RUL Human Resources will provide annual reminders about these regulations. Remember that if somebody is reimbursing you for something, you have to report it. Be careful to avoid a conflict of interest; vendor dinners should be avoided or you should openly and demonstratively pay your own way. Accepting expensive vendor gifts is not permitted.
What about focus groups with publishers and societies? We need to think more about this. But you should never be reimbursed by a vendor with which you do business.
We will prepare an FAQ about these issues.
Boyle distributed the RUL Action Plan and an Implementing Strategy diagram.
The Strategic Plan has five goals and many objectives under each. The Vision Statement in the Strategic Plan states in its final paragraph that there will be annual action plans. "The Why is simple; the How is complex."
The Fall 2006 State of the Libraries presentation introduced the Implementing Strategy diagram. Groups are asked to reformulate their goals and reports in terms of the Strategic Plan. The Action Plan grid is online now, and the area reports will be soon.
What comes next?
Cabinet will think about how to establish and communicate goals for next year. All action plans will tell us how we've done. We've never done this before, and it will get easier as we go along.
Boyle thanked the AULs, the authors of area reports, and Marker, Womack, and Tipton who served on the planning subgroup of the Planning and Coordinating Committee.
Gaunt noted that the Middle States reviewers were impressed during their visit by our reporting process and accountability. Agnew is pleased that the grid associates our accomplishments with our goals.
The meeting approved this resolution unanimously.
How does the librarian spend his time? Supporting the research process.
What does the faculty want? To be on the cutting edge.
How can the Library facilitate this? It acts as a filter, putting the key research together and organizing it.
With regard to the teaching function, librarians need to work with faculty in instructional design.
Conclusion: As we think about this, we must learn about and become engaged with the needs of the disciplines. The ARL is trying to understand what is changing in the disciplines and what the resulting infrastructural needs are.
In response to these arguments, a colleague asserted that we should look harder at the MLS requirement for librarians, either waiving it or hiring with the understanding that the new hire will complete the MLS later; science degrees are extremely important for science librarianship, and it is difficult to find candidates who possess them as well as the MLS. Another colleague argued that subject expertise is becoming more important all the time, agreed that we should consider hiring without the MLS, with the MLS to be completed later. It was also noted, however, that librarianship is also a discipline. Scientists are looking for librarians to be part of their disciplinary conversations, and to be present at the table as a stakeholder. Academic departments may be inclined to recognize the MLS as a relevant degree and offer informatics positions. CLIR offers fellowships for humanities scholars, but RUL has an opportunity to do something similar in the sciences immediately by hiring a scientist.
Michael Joseph, who is ending his term as Faculty Coordinator, had to miss this meeting to give a paper. He was thanked for his service as was Kayo Denda for hers as his deputy.
The new councils will come into effect in July and Denda will convene both of them, making sure they elect a chair before exiting. She distributed membership lists for both councils. Agnew suggested that an Acquisitions representative on the Library Resources Council was no longer needed in light of the unification of this unit with Cataloging. TAS has elected Melissa DeFino as its representative to the User Services Council.
Jim Niessen, Faculty Secretary