The meeting was called to order at 9:30. The agenda and the minutes of the February 15 meeting were approved without amendments
Kevin handed out spreadsheets with summaries of our collection expenditures for this fiscal year and approval plan expenditures for 2006-07 and 2007-06. Our collection funds are nearly spent for this year. We have approximately $107,000 remaining, taking into account deficits in various funds. The remaining balance in non-state monograph funds, however, is about $211,000. There were complaints at the last Collection Development Council (CDC) meeting about selectors submitting these orders so late in the fiscal year. Orders sent to Acquisitions at this point may not come in during 2008-09 and will either be cancelled or carry over into next year. The Associate University Librarian for Collection Development may change the rules for non-state funds so that we can encumber more than 90% of the total.
The CDC discussed the potential impact of the projected budget cuts for 2008-09. Regardless of whether we model a three percent or a seven percent reduction, we also have to take into account the loss of a majority of the state funding for the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative (NJKI) and inflation rate for serials at about ten percent. With this in mind, a three percent cut would total approximately $737,000 and a seven percent cut would total approximately $933,000. This would be on top of successive reductions in the state collections budget for most of the last several years.
These repeated cuts have had a significant impact. At the last CDC meeting, the AUL for Collections pointed out that in 1998, Rutgers University Libraries ranked seventh among the 123 Association of Research Libraries members in terms of total collections expenditures. By 2006, we had dropped to 43. If the projected cuts for next year take effect, we could drop into the bottom third. It was noted that most of our "peer institutions" regularly factor in serials inflation when allocating their collection budgets.
The CDC has discussed various strategies for coping with the budget cut. When possible we will prepay next year's subscriptions and memberships and also renegotiate with vendors for reduced pricing. We will identify remaining duplicate journals subscriptions. With a reduction of this magnitude, we will also be forced to cut journals and databases and reduce the number of simultaneous users for certain databases. Selectors were urged to lobby the governor and their state legislators to restore NJKI funding and to reduce the total budget reduction for Rutgers.
Jeris Cassel, reference subgroup leader, reported that the Collection Development Council approved and will subscribe to Gale's e-book reference package.
Ryan Womack, social sciences subgroup leader, reminded social sciences selectors that there will be a subgroup meeting on May 15. He also urged them to send out any remaining monies they may have in their funds.
LibX is a Firefox and Internet Explorer tool bar extension developed by Annette Bailey and Godmar Back at Virginia Tech. Mei Ling Lo and Choong Hoong Liew have developed a version of it for the Rutgers University Libraries. Mei Ling is currently working with the Office of Information technology to have the toolbar installed on the machines in the computer labs. Among other uses, the toolbar features a drop-down menu that will allow our users to access IRIS and other library services and information from any webpage. It will also display a Rutgers logo in sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble for titles we own. Mei Ling demonstrated a number of possible uses for selectors. For example, if the tool bar is installed, ISBNs in GOBI3 become clickable. Clicking on the link will execute a search in IRIS not only for that particular edition, but for any edition of that title.
Jim Niessen, co-chair of the Committee on Scholarly Communication, reported on RuCore development and current and prospective activities of the CSC. He provided a handout with general information about our institutional repository's policies, procedures, and objectives. His main purpose was to give selectors the opportunity to ask questions, particularly about their role in the development of the repository. Most of the concerns raised had to do with how we can find information about RUcore and how or even whether we should play a role in promoting its use to teaching faculty. There were also questions about the monies and personnel that have been devoted to this project over the last several years and also about whether departments have been asked to support it financially. Jim said the best person to contact for information is Rhonda Marker. The CSC will probably arrange a workshop in the near future and would also like to create a web page for selectors. Suggestions for content should be sent to Jim.
The New Brunswick selectors discussed their priorities for filling open lines. They prioritized the positions in question as follows:
1. Physical Sciences Librarian
This position was ranked first by two thirds of the librarians and second by most others. The specialized skills, particularly chemical structure searching, required to support research in Chemistry and Physics are essential for the Libraries. Since no current RUL librarians have this knowledge, it is critical to find someone in this area. With a new $42 million grant going to Chemistry Professor Joachim Koan, lack of support in this area would be embarrassing.
Commenting on the possibility of sharing responsibilities with Newark, NB librarians felt that this would be setting up the individual in this position for failure. It will be difficult enough to recruit a candidate with the necessary skills who is interested in our type of librarian position, and asking this librarian to handle two campuses would be burdensome. This is not an area we can economize on and succeed in recruitment and retention.
2. Area Studies Librarian
This position came second in the rankings, including five first place votes. Librarians felt it essential to have high- level Spanish language expertise for collection development, and the broad coverage of two continents and many cultures requiring specialized knowledge necessitate a dedicated librarian. Given the University's stated commitment to diversity, it would be very undesirable to neglect these areas.
3. Business Information Services Librarian
This position was quite close to Area Studies in the voting, and received four first place votes. The Rutgers Business School is rapidly expanding in New Brunswick, with a four-year undergraduate program beginning in Fall 2008, and plans for a new building on Livingston Campus in the near future. Again, given the specialized nature of support for business information, and the volume of students in New Brunswick, something close to a full-time librarian is needed on the ground at Kilmer Library. The only difference in this case is that there is existing business expertise across RUL, and it is possible to envision scenarios that provide the necessary support in NB without a new hire for business (although shifting of personnel might require other support).
4. Instructional Technology Development Librarian
Although RUL clearly lags in this area (it was noted that our faculty are pointing their students to other Universities for their guides), the current position was described as lacking clarity and a clear connection to the most urgent goals of the Libraries and the University. Since the loss of the first three positions was described as "crippling", the fact that this is a new position that we have managed without places it lower in priority.
5. Environmental Sciences Librarian
This position would strengthen and expand our coverage in areas of science and the coordination of instruction in the sciences where we are currently stretched. The position was created when the Science Libraries took the opportunity to re-organize responsibilities in order to fill the open line vacated by the recent retirement of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Librarian. However, similar to the Instructional Technology position, the fact that we have done without this coverage until now makes it less of a priority than the urgent need for expertise in those positions where we have recently lost expertise and risk falling further behind.