Sec’y du jour: Ilona Caparros
Attendees: Ilona Caparros, Jeris Cassel, J. Consoli, Howard Dess, Mary Fetzer, Rebecca Gardner, Ellen Gilbert, Helen Hoffman, Jackie Mardikian, Kevin Mulcahy, Feris Olin, Mary Page, Addie Tallau
1. Discussion of NBCG letter to the faculty:
Some wording changes were suggested, to be made by HMD and letter redistributed for final approval by NBCG. Recommended distribution: deans, senate, CSPAD, NB faculty council, departmental library liaisons for further distribution to local faculty.
2. Reports from the Chair:
a) Collections Funding for New University Programs
HMD contacted Bob Sewell for information about this important issue. Bob informed us that a university new program approval process is in place. An outside consultant is brought in to discuss the program and make a report. Bob is usually invited to meet with the consultant for any particular program re impact of the new program on library collections. Recent example cited was a meeting with a consultant about the new BS program in Evolutionary Anthropology, which involved Bob, and Helen Hoffman (Lourdes Vazquez had also been invited but was out of town). Helen noted how difficult it is to speak frankly about our budget problems to an outside consultant.. Other examples were also discussed.. What was clear from this discussion, and confirmed by Bob Sewell, is the fact that consistent, ongoing incremental funding for collections needed by new programs is virtually unheard of at Rutgers (aside from one shot start-up funds that have been offered in a few cases).
It was agreed that NBCG would come up with a set of recommendations to give to Bob Sewell about how to deal with these new program consultant visits in the future. For background documentation, Joe Consoli will attempt to compile a list of new programs over the past 10 years, and then draft a statement that conveys NBCG’s recommendations.
b) Collections budget allocation of state funds
A special task force is in place to carry out this function. Members include H. M. Dess, Jeris Cassel, Ben Beede, Connie Wu, Mary Page and Addie Tallau. First meeting is scheduled for Dec. 21.
3. Discussion of current collections budget situation
We still have no word about whether or not we will receive the remaining half of the $500,000 promised as an “inflation increment” this year. Without the balance of $250,000, further reductions in book and journal acquisition plans will be required.
Additional discussion about budget matters (which, it must be emphasized, are not limited to NB but are system-wide) highlighted certain aspects that were profoundly disturbing to NBCG. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the length of time it has taken to get SIRSI operational, we are basically operating without any effective financial controls in place, at least none that are visible to selectors and which would be of great value to help them stay within allocation limits. A related problem is the excessive lag time between the date an order is placed by a selector and when the dollar committment actually appears on SIRSI in a form that can be understood or readily interpreted by a selector. This means that at any given time we simply cannot obtain an up-to-date picture of the current state of our expenditures in the context of our budget framework either in total or for specific fund codes that can be considered anything more than a rough approximation. Another outgrowth of this situation is that many vendors are not being paid in timely manner, which at the very least means loss of discounts, and in general leads to loss of good will (if not worse) among our vendors, some of whom have been threatening to stop doing business with Rutgers.
Discussions with Ryoko have revealed her willingness to authorize introduction of a budget control feature that would prevent expenditures on any given fund code from exceeding some agreed upon limit, e.g., 110% above allocation level. However, questions were raised as to how or whether this scheme could work in light of the other larger problems noted above.
Mary Page agreed to draft a memo summarizing these various concerns of NBCG, and which could provide a basis for helping to decide what further actions might be taken by NBCG that might help ameliorate these problems.
4. Proposal for managing reference collection purchases in NB
Addie distributed a set of recommendations prepared by the Reference Collection Team, which offers a set of guidelines or principles to use in the purchase of reference materials for the NB libraries (this will be appended to the minutes). Key points include: 1) purchase of reference materials will be the responsibility of each individual selector who will choose what is relevant to his or her discipline, 2) reduction of duplication, 3) more emphasis on electronic access.
Comment and further suggestions are invited by the committee.
5. Follow-up on earlier NBCG projects
Ferris Olin raised the question about follow-up on earlier NBCG recommendations. The specific example cited was the Location Sub-Committee Report, chaired by Jane Sloan. What if any actions had resulted from that study and set of recommendations? Ferris agreed to contact Jane for further information on this matter.
6. Year-end assessment of NBCG’s role and mode of functioning
This subject was posed by the Chair as a means of soliciting ideas, comments, criticism, etc. about NBCG’s operations over the past year with a view to improving our effectiveness and relevance, and to determine in a general sense, “Is NBCG living up to our expectations?”. The overall report card from the attendees was good----no major criticisms were expressed. Some of the most positive comments related to “speaking with one voice for NB” about collections, and intra-library conflicts had waned because NBCG provides a forum where problems can be resolved by those most directly affected. No suggestions were offered about changes in mode of operations.
Meeting adjourned on this positive note.