New Brunswick Libraries Faculty Meeting
January 21, 2005
Douglass Library, Margery Somers Foster Center, 9:30 a.m.
Jeris Cassel, Kayo Denda, Mary Fetzer, Constance Finlay, Rebecca Gardner, Tom Glynn, Brian Hancock, Sara Harrington, Karen Hartman, William Hemmig, Tony Joachim, Marty Kesselman, Linda Langschied, Mei Ling Lo, Jackie Mardikian, Kevin Mulcahy, Laura Mullen, Jim Niessen, Ferris Olin, Pat Piermatti, John Shepard, Jane Sloan, Lourdes Vazquez, Myoung Chung Wilson, Ryan Womack (recorder).
The agenda was approved.
The minutes of the November 19 meeting with corrections were approved.
3. Introduction of new librarians
F. Puniello introduced Tony Joachim, who is now Librarian V, and will be involved with reference, instruction, and instructional databases under the direction of M. Wilson. Mira Foster (not present at the meeting) is now Librarian V at Alexander Library.
4. Director's Reports
F. Puniello congratulated Ferris Olin on her receipt of a $149,000 Getty Grant for the project "Contemporary American Women Artists: Discovering Their Presence in Archival Collections”. Puniello also encouraged library faculty to apply for Research Council Grants and the Ernest McMahon Class of 1930 Award for teaching and service.
M. Fetzer reminded the group that she is beginning to spend time in Douglass and Kilmer Libraries, and to bring any facilities' concerns to her.
5. Travel Policy and Committee
The travel policy, budget, and committee will be clarified at a later date.
6. NBLF Structure
The faculty began a general discussion of the structure of the New Brunswick Libraries, in anticipation of recommendations for structural changes from the University Librarian. The following is a summary of some of the points made by faculty members in that discussion.
The current NBL structure has some positive features, such as flexibility and local control over the collections and personnel budgets. It also allows for more initiative at the local level, which has resulted in several innovative information services projects, among other things.
NBL has already been reorganized and streamlined in the previous round of reorganization, while other structures remain the same.
Early reports suggest that New Brunswick level groups may be removed, and/or the Director's position eliminated. If Cabinet is already coming to a consensus about this issue, without consulting with the faculty, it weakens the importance of faculty governance and participation. The RUL Administration's communication of its intentions in this matter has been minimal to date, although the Planning and Coordinating Committee has requested a joint meeting with Cabinet in order to work together on these issues.
Several members noted that it was the existing structure of NBL, including faculty governance and the strong support and mentoring provided by the NBL Director, that had attracted them to Rutgers in the first place.
In response to comments about the “failed” search for NBL Director, it was recalled that the Search Committee did recommend a candidate, and did not consider the search a failure. Other positions at RUL have required time to fill, and the result of one round of the NBL search should not necessarily require a reorganization.
Several spoke against the homogenization of the RUL structure, and in favor of respecting the diversity of needs at Rutgers. As the campus housing the bulk of research collections and serving the most students, New Brunswick/Piscataway should have the organizational structure that is most effective for its educational mission, which may not be the most administratively convenient. The overall mission of the Libraries in service of Rutgers University should not be forgotten.
Several members were concerned by the RUL administration's emphasis on rigid rules and structure, which discourage initiative and activity among the faculty.
7. Google Reminder
M. Kesselman summarized Google Scholar's features for the group. This service will be popular and well-known among students and faculty. It was emphasized that this is a “teachable moment” for the libraries, that we can use to promote our databases and services, and oppose the attitude that “Google will solve everything”