The Information Services Steering Group (ISSG) met to discuss the current budget situation in relation to to the provision of information services, and especially as it relates to the five unfilled faculty lines in New Brunswick. To date the discussions of the budget among the New Brunswick faculty have focused primarily upon collection development and liaison relations with teaching departments. The ISSG believes it is important to highlight the potential impact of lost lines for reference and instruction as well.
While we appreciate the collegial relations we enjoy with the library faculties in Camden and Newark and recognize the importance of information services on those campuses, at the same time it is important to realize that any loss of faculty lines will have a disproportionate impact in New Brunswick. At present seventy percent of Rutgers students, undergraduate and graduate, attend the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus. Approximately only half of the librarians system wide are members of the New Brunswick Library Faculty. Part of this imbalance is the result of a steady and continuing erosion of information services lines in New Brunswick. We have lost positions while other units, generally speaking, have maintained their numbers or added lines. For example, from 2007 to 2008 alone, New Brunswick went from 42 to 32 faculty lines, including the 5 that are currently frozen.
We need a substantial faculty of information services librarians to serve the 35,000 students and 2,000 faculty in New Brunswick. At present we are already shorthanded in many respects, particularly in terms of instruction. In the future we intend to expand research and instructional services to reach out to faculty, staff, and students in a variety of formats that best meet their information needs and preferences. Planning and implementing this expansion will require time, talent, expertise, and energy. We cannot prepare for our future if we continue to lose lines. Considering both the history of lost lines and what the information services librarians in New Brunswick hope to accomplish in the critical years to come, the Information Services Steering Groups feels it is imperative that the New Brunswick Library Faculty not lose any additional faculty lines.