Two additional documents were shared with the committee and will be posted on the website: A CLIR Report that included articles on the library as place and on scholars' needs for digital resources; the other was a report from Purdue Libraries on their plans to support bioinformatics.
The meeting began with a request for comments on the information provided in the background documents, especially recommendations from the various area committees in the Libraries. A question arose regarding potential costs of some of the recommendations, such as the digital repository, and whether we would get the funding and how this would relate to other areas needing support. Some recommendations, such as information literacy, are very important but would not require the same level of financial resources. Gaunt responded that the plan should recommend priorities for library development and would be used to secure funding. We would move ahead on directions recommended in the plan, reallocate from existing funds, and achieve as much as resources allow. In the specific case of the digital repository, an IMLS grant is allowing us to build that infrastructure already.
There were concerns that the reports were more focused internally than externally. The real strength of the Libraries are people and are ability to be an intermediary between information and users-help people find and use what they need. How can we share what we know? How can we add value to user's work? We need to be out working with faculty, meeting them in their own space. Can we also think about how we provide service to administrators-deans, vice presidents, who also have needs for information. This close information-based relationship might help in securing their support.
Some themes emerged from the reports: collaboration and integration, library as place, diversity in personnel, collections, and services.
The library as place is changing and despite many services and collections becoming available online and at desktops, people still come to the buildings. Faculty noted that the libraries are extremely busy late in the evenings and students might want more librarians/staff available for assistance with homework and writing assignments. Many students can't find other places to work effectively. Having cafes and other support is desirable. Faculty needs for library space may be different. How we rationalize where collections are located to make it easy for faculty and staff to do their work was asked, with the sciences as an example. While we can't continuously move large collections to the places where faculty work, we have tried to give each campus library focused collections that are related to the primary work on that campus. The fragmentation of the sciences is historical. The easiest way to provide effective services is one large collection that addresses interdisciplinary needs and has all resources located together. It would make document delivery service more effective as well, as better turn around would be more easily achieved. Building a new science library on Busch would be advantageous, but would require teaching faculty support. The Libraries planning must also be in the context of the university and campus planning, such as any moves contemplated to relocate faculty disciplines. This is an issue in New Brunswick, and not Camden and Newark.
Faculty needs cannot be viewed as a monolith. Disciplines differ and how we provide support needs to be somewhat customized. The role of the liaison is critical. Liaisons need to be closer to their faculty, in the departments and available. They need to anticipate needs and translate those into overall library goals for support. There needs to be a more active relationship between liaisons, faculty and graduate students. While the report from liaisons in the documentation was informative, the information would be more useful if it made some comparisons or aggregated similar and different responses to future directions.
Diversity is a very important goal and how will we achieve it in the Libraries. A discussion followed on the relationship of the Libraries to SCILS and how that worked. While the Libraries have a successful diversity internship, it is only one individual at a time, who may leave RUL for another position. It was suggested that we follow the practice in the disciplines and cultivate students at the undergraduate level who are here at Rutgers.
We need to think about expressing our plan with a user-centered focus. What directions should the Libraries take to support what our users' need into the future. The Library is a central player in the "ecology of the University" and the plan must make that clear. We are common to all units, yet we address cultural differences.
If we follow the theme of being user-centered, our working groups can be divided into these themes: 1) how will we support faculty research; 2) how will we support student learning; 3) how will we support faculty teaching; 4) how will we support our mission for service and outreach to the community?
As each group considers its recommendations, certain areas characteristic to all should be explored. What do your recommendations mean for: library space, collection resources and services, recruitment/retention/training and development for personnel. Diversity and assessment will be an overarching area for all. The committee will be divided into the following groups:
1) Grassle, Golden Boyle; 2) Au, McGill, Smith; 3) Becker, Marker, Wilson
We will leave the fourth theme on service and outreach for development later. Each group will prepare a report will bulleted recommendations for their areas. These will be reviewed at our next meeting: March 3 at 3pm in the Conference Room, 3rd floor. These will be preliminary recommendations for full committee discussion.
Marianne Gaunt, Secretary pro tem