New Brunswick Libraries Faculty Meeting
April 11, 2006

Bartz, Denda, Dess, Fetzer, Judy Gardner, Rebecca Gardner, Harrington, Hartman, Kesselman, Langschied, Mardikian (chair), Mulcahy, Mullen, Niessen (recorder), Piermatti, Puniello, Shepard, Sloan, Roger Smith, Smulewitz, Tehrani, Wilkins, Wilson, Wu

The meeting convened in the Pané Room to discuss ideas for dealing with potential budget cuts in the coming fiscal year. Attendees received three handouts: 1) tables distributed previously to Cabinet entitled FY2007 Permanent Budget with 5%, 8%, and 10% budget reduction scenarios; 2) RUL FY 2005 top 25 databases in order of costs and New Jersey Knowledge Initiative Databases; and 3) RUL Memberships FY 2005. Assured that “everything is on the table” but we should prefer those measures that cause the least permanent damage, the group presented and discussed ideas in four major categories:

  1. Salaries and wages (the largest share of the budget in handout 1)
    Several colleagues asserted that the surrender of faculty lines should be the last resort. A vacant line can be preserved as long as it is funded at $27,000 or 57%, hence 43% savings are possible. Other strategies include
  2. Shutting libraries on Saturdays, especially during intersession and holidays, or rolling closures, or reducing reference hours at these times, are ways to save some voucher money and salaries. We should look harder at whether buildings need to be open. We’re paying $22/hour for weekend librarians. Reference stats are very low during summer intersession and holidays. Would the presence of computer labs in libraries impede our option to close them at these times? Not if the labs are closed anyway.

    We can work more with SCILS through work study and internships; career development for junior librarians is also a positive good. Faculty teaching classes at SCILS gains RUL a maximum of only $5k per class, however.

    We can consider whether the amount of instruction we provide for other Rutgers units is reasonable, and even investigate cost recovery for our bibliographic instruction activity.

    Can we afford to recruit for additional AUL positions, or should we consolidate them?

  3. Collections (the second largest share of the budget)

    We should consider the cancellation of databases based on improved analysis of usage statistics, or cost of use per search, or overall cost (there was no consensus among the latter two alternatives).

    We might target citation databases for cancellation (for which GoogleScholar provides some alternative coverage, at least in the sciences) over full text.

    Online subscriptions rarely provide outright ownership of the data accessed during the term of the license; in truth they are leasing arrangements, and the temporary interruption of the lease is an option.

    How do we share the pain between the sciences, social sciences, and humanities?

    Binding costs $125k/year; could we stop it for a year? But we already spend $70k/year for replacements, which would likely increase if we stopped binding. If we placed journals in the Annex and provided desktop delivery of all requests (as does CRL), we would cut down on losses as well as save space in current locations.

    Reexamine remaining duplications of print subscriptions in Newark and Camden.

  4. Below the line costs (These account for relatively minor potential savings)
  5. Individual printers in librarian offices cost a lot more to operate than networked printers.

  6. Enough about cutting costs! How can we raise more money?

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Niessen