The minutes for the August meeting of the Council were approved. One item was added to the agenda before it was approved. Tibor Purger, Director of Integrated Information Systems, was asked to report on how the new Voice Over IP telephone system in New Brunswick would affect the Libraries. This was added as agenda item number seven.
Gene reported that the initial implementation of Libguides was highly successful. There are now approximately two hundred "published" LibGuides posted. As a follow up, the AUL for RIS will appoint a LibGuides Working Group. There has also been interest expressed in some kind of program in which we can all share ideas about how best to develop guides. Gene will follow up on this. Gene also reminded us that we can use email@example.com to post any questions we might have. In a very few cases, new LibGuides were not available to replace an old guide, in which case a "placeholder" LibGuide was posted that simply links back to the old subject research guide.
The IRIS Public Access Committee, the Web Advisory Committee, and the PC Working Group all report to the User Services Council. Goals for each of these groups were distributed to the Council and, after some discussion, approved. WAC will continue its work in collaboration with the new Web Board, focusing on content rather than design.
It was noted at the last Council meeting that of the seven goals we approved for this academic year, none of them relate to instruction. It was suggested at that meeting that we simply carry over the goal relating to instruction from 2009-10. Mary reported that she added this goal to this year's planning grid, along with the same outcomes and indicators from last year. The instruction goal from last year was: Explore instructional effectiveness and efficiency in order to transform teaching and learning.
The Council reviewed, discussed and approved the charge. This is a new group whose work will supplement the work of the Information Literacy Task Force, which submitted its final report on October 1. The ILIAC was requested to submit a preliminary report on April 1 and a final report, an information literacy plan for the entire University, on May 2. The task force will focus primarily upon basic, introductory instruction for freshman and sophomores and will include discussions with approximately five to eight members of the teaching faculty who have previously brought their classes to the library for instruction. The VP for Information Services will bring their recommendations to the Dean's Council and will need concrete, specific recommendations to garner support and action from the University administration. Some suggestions from the Council for the task force included referring to the VALE Information Literacy Progression Standards released last fall and also to the learning goals that each department developed as part of the Middle States accreditation process. The Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research is collecting these goals.
The Council reviewed, discussed and approved this charge as well. The task force will assess the software currently available for chat reference, paying particular attention to features such as queuing and the ability to push pages. Following a discussion with Anne Butman, Mary added a bullet requesting that they also investigate opportunities that may become available with the implementation of Voice over IP (see below). The anticipated deadline for their report is Feb. 15, 2011. The task force will include a recommendation as to whether the chat service should continue on a voluntary basis.
Voice over IP (VoIP) simply means that our telephone calls will in future be transmitted over IP- based computer networks rather than telephone lines. This is a major project that the Telecommunications Division (TD) will implement over the course of four years (http://voip.td.rutgers.edu). It will be phased in geographically, depending upon where phone switches are located, rather than by unit. Although TD did not consult with the Libraries beforehand, which makes it more difficult for us to plan for the change, in the long run this will be to our advantage. We will have new phones and phone numbers that will work the same way they do at present, but VoIP will allow us do more with them. For example, we will be able to easily channel calls from one phone to another at different times of the day. This means we could, at no additional cost, offer a centralized phone reference service in New Brunswick. TD plans to introduce VoIP at Kilmer Library on December 3. We do not know when the other libraries are scheduled. There was some concern expressed that the transition at Kilmer would take place during a very busy time for students, staff, and faculty, including librarians. It was pointed out, however, that schedules at Rutgers are not always adhered to rigidly. Tibor will attend a future meeting of the New Brunswick Information Services group to discuss the implications of VoIP for a centralized telephone reference services.
Last August the PC Working Group (PCWG) discussed the possibility of providing wireless Internet access to non-Rutgers users in the Libraries. At that time, PCWG informed the Users Services Council that they recommended not to provide public access on the grounds that such a service is not part of the mission of the Libraries. In September the Working Group decided to revisit the issue and, in preparation for a discussion at the next Council meeting, all of the PC Coordinators were asked to survey their colleagues in their respective buildings to get some sense of the need for wireless access among guest users and the opinions of RUL faculty and staff. Tibor Purger, the new head of Integrated Information Systems, supported this decision. The Council discussed whether there was sufficient interest to explore various options for public wireless options.
The comments and opinions gather by the PC Coordinators, as summarized in a written report by Joseph Abraham, the chair of PC Working Group, largely mirrored the USC discussion. On one hand, some members reported that there were repeated complaints at their libraries about the lack of wireless access and that, as a public scholarly institution, we should provide the most extensive range of services practically possible to serious researchers from outside Rutgers. They contended that providing such a service was good PR for the Libraries at a time when state support is dwindling and an important issue for visiting scholars. Others argued that in the midst of a severe budget crisis it was ill-advised to assume any additional costs on behalf of non-Rutgers users. They also expressed concern over providing unfiltered Internet access to minors and the possibility of cybercriminals using the network. Although there was no consensus, it was decided that the issue at least merited further exploration. Tibor will collect further information about the pros and cons of providing public wireless access, Mary will survey her counterparts at other public research universities, and the Council will continue the discussion at a later date.
Francoise Puniello, AUL for Facilities Planning and Management: There is a contest for naming the new café in Alexander Library. The winner will receive a new iPad. Construction on the café is scheduled to begin at the end of December and a grand opening is planned for early spring.
Mary Fetzer, AUL for Research and Instructional Services: Mary is working with Marty Kesselman and others on a $18.5 million USAID grant proposal for an outreach program with the University of Liberia.
Li Sun: the Digital Interface Group (DIG) is currently addressing issues relating the change from Serial Solutions to Ebsco for our link resolver service. There was a brief discussion of problems that users have encountered thus far.
Vib Cvetkovic: The renovations at Robeson Library are proceeding and the new reference area was recently finished. The Council is invited to visit in the spring, when the project is complete.
The agenda next month will include: