New Brunswick Collections Group
Meeting Minutes
January 26, 2007
9:30 am LSM Special Collections Room

Present: Jeris Cassel, Kayo Denda, Howard Dess, Mary Fetzer, Constance Finlay, Rebecca Gardner, Tom Glynn, Sara Harrington, Karen Hartman, Marty Kesselman, Mei Ling Lo, Kevin Mulcahy (chair), Laura Mullen, Jim Niessen, Pat Piermatti, Robert Sewell, Gracemary, Smulewitz, Ryan Womack (recorder), Connie Wu

  1. Agenda was approved.

  2. Minutes of 11/3/06 were approved.

  3. Chair’s report
       Kevin distributed summaries of the current and historical fund balances for state and non-state funds. Issues regarding encumbrances and delays in ordering will be discussed at the February meeting when Mary Page is able to attend. Selectors were reminded that they can always cancel individual orders and free encumbrances. Changes to the approval plan are beginning to take effect. Spending is down, and the proportion of paperbacks are up. The reference plan has been shut off. Too many titles of marginal relevance were being received, such as the Encyclopedia of Duke Basketball.
       Acquisitions currently has a four-week backlog for foreign and special orders, with no backlog for routine domestic orders. Concern was raised that there is already a delay in foreign and special orders before the majority of ordering has begun. Also, books that are apparently readily available through sites such as Amazon sometimes arrive after several months of delay. The group recommended that foreign and special orders be given higher priority than regular orders, since these titles need longer lead times in order to be paid in the current fiscal year.
       Lack of cataloging is also causing serious delays. Discussion of this issue was reserved for agenda item 7.

  4. Team leader updates
       Ryan reported that the Social Sciences Subgroup met in December, and encouraged selectors to continue to maintain lists of desired and must-have resources in order to be ready for the future, and to compare with peer institutions. SSG will be experimenting with Director’s Station reports as well. An additional chunk of Alexander endowment money will be distributed to the social sciences.

  5. Aresty Research Center
       Karen, Jackie, and Jeris met with Aresty program leaders. Jeris reported that in this program, students (primarily sophomores) serve as research assistants to the faculty on a variety of unique projects. Due to the variety of the projects, the general library session that the program leaders wanted was not the ideal format for bibliographic instruction. Jeris proposed establishing a liaison program to the relevant New Brunswick subject specialists, so that students could set up research consultations as needed. Requests will be filtered to ensure that no librarian is overloaded by consultations.
       The group endorsed the idea. Jeris will send out a reminder asking librarians to sign up for this program.

  6. Announcements
       Selector’s toolkit – Laura reported that there is a demo site for the toolkit currently available. The focus is on practical needs. She will send out the URL again.
       100th anniversary of Rutgers’ status as a federal depository land grant institution. Mary is preparing an exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary, to be staged in March-April. There may also be a related brown bag event.

  7. Looking to the Future
       Kevin distributed a handout with suggested discussion points on three issues.

    1. Balance of fixed versus non-fixed costs.
         Would it be possible to impose a ceiling on the percentage of the state budget devoted to fixed costs? When the budget is tight, books and other discretionary purchases are often disproportionately affected. Is there a solution for this problem?
         Science selectors in particular spoke against any measure that would limit the libraries’ budgetary flexibility. Journals and other subscriptions such as e-book packages are the most important resources in these fields. An across-the-board restriction may not work for this reason. Other issues, such as ensuring access to e-books by purchasing MARC records, also need to be considered. A more creative approach to increasing funding, such as the capital campaign’s goal of increasing endowments for collections, may be more fruitful.

    2. RUCore
         Has RUCore taken priority over our traditional mission to collect research from around the world? What is the appropriate mission and scope of RUCore?
         Cataloging, which is also down several lines, seems to be delayed. While RUCore is important, routine operations and getting books to the shelf in a timely manner must be upheld.
         Various opinions were expressed on the mission of RUCore. Some felt it should focus on content unique to Rutgers, not just any faculty writing. It is most closely aligned with Special Collections and Archives. RUCore is both a community (e.g., NJDH) and institutional repository.
         At many institutions, faculty buy-in for such projects is scarce. In some cases, universities have “seeded” the repository by purchasing posting rights for articles from commercial publishers, which was seen as horrible idea by some. Liaison activities must go beyond populating the repository, but include educating the scholarly community about Open Access, copyright, and author’s rights.

    3. Planning for next year
         Several ideas were proposed. Comparison to peer institutions will be important in justifying general collections funding and specific acquisitions. Promoting funding for the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative will save the Libraries a great deal of money. Other universities (e.g. Cornell’s VIVO project) have collected detailed information about faculty needs, grants, and other activities in order to target their support. A small task force (Kayo, Jim, and Mei Ling) will begin to investigate these and other proactive strategies.
         In addition, selectors need to consider cancellation possibilities and to keep Newark and Camden involved in the discussion.

  8. Meeting was adjourned at 11:30.