New Brunswick Library Faculty Meeting
June 15, 2007

Present: S. Bartz, J. Cassel, K. Denda, M. Fetzer, J. Gardner, R. Gardner, T. Glynn (recorder), M. Kesselman, M. Lo, K. Mulcahy, L. Mullen, J. Niessen, P. Page, P. Piermatti, F. Puniello, J. Shepard, J. Sloan (chair), F. Tehrani, R. Womack, C. Wu.

The meeting was called to order at 9:30 a.m. The agenda was approved without amendments. The minutes of the April Faculty meeting were approved without corrections.

  1. Report of the Acting Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services -- F. Puniello
    The AUL for Research and Instructional Services met with the reference team leaders to discuss coverage at the reference desks for the 2007-2007 academic year. At present, it appears that the budget for the coming year will be the same as last year’s. This assumes that there will be sufficient salary savings in the below-the-line budget to offer essentially the same hours of service at all of the New Brunswick libraries. This will need to be reassessed at the end of the fall semester.

    The searches for the East Asian Librarian and the Social Sciences Data Librarian have been extended. Farideh Tehrani will assume responsibility for collection development for Middle Eastern studies. The new Humanities Librarian will start at the beginning of August. The “Orientation for New Faculty” document authored in 1999 is out of date and needs to be updated. Mary Fetzer and Jane Sloan volunteered to work on this. Francoise will also arrange an orientation for Valeda Dent, the new AUL for Research and Instructional Services.

    Facilities will be adding more group-study space at Alexander and Kilmer Libraries. Francoise is discussing with them the possibility of adding more electrical outlets in the public spaces in the Art and Chang Libraries. Carpeting at Kilmer will be very expensive, around $250,000. Because of this, we may carpet only one floor at a time. The proposal for a new Science Library, which we submitted as part of the upcoming Capital Campaign, is still under review by one of the Priority Committees. The total cost estimated to be $132,000,000. The Physics Department, which has proposed a “Hall of Learning” that would include a museum and observatory, would like to link to the Libraries’ proposal.

  2. Chat Reference -- F. Puniello
    The Public Services Council has created a Virtual Reference Task Force. Kevin Mulcahy, Vib Bowman, Marty Kesselman, and Michael Joseph have agreed to serve. Natalie Borisovets is the chair. They are currently exploring various options for chat reference system-wide. Kevin noted that research by Marie Radford at SCILS shows that students prefer chat to all other types of reference service, except in-person reference. Marty reminded us that student satisfaction in our pilot project a number of years ago was very high. At its first meeting, the task force discussed whether to join Q&A New Jersey (http://www.qandanj.org/). This would provide our students with chat reference twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and Rutger librarians would answer questions from users state-wide, probably in an academic library queue. It was subsequently decided not to pursue that option, largely because Q&A NJ would require us to commit to thirty-six hours of service per week. The task force felt this was unreasonable. MEEBO (meebo.com) is under consideration as an easy and inexpensive way to get started with chat. The task force is also exploring the possibility of partnering with Princeton to provide chat reference. We would like to begin offering this sometime in the fall.

    Jane Sloan reported briefly on a pilot project at Kilmer and Douglass to offer reference service via virtual, desktop teleconferencing using Ameritech. This might provide the means of expanding reference service in New Brunswick virtually by distributing hours across the libraries. The software is free and the only additional hardware required would be a combination camera and microphone that costs less than a hundred dollars. The service would include a chat feature. At present the main drawbacks are relatively poor audio quality and a fairly steep learning curve.  Apparently it also requires an enclosed space for the sound and lighting to work well. Jane hopes to be able report on the feasibility of the project within the next few months. Another possibility for virtual reference would be Skype (skype.com). Conceivably students could use this from home, but there would be fewer features, no chat and no pushing of pages.

    The faculty discussed at some length various options for digital reference. There was a very strong consensus that participation in any new services we offer should not be, as with our current Ask-a-Librarian email reference, voluntary. It was pointed out that all of our position descriptions specify reference and instruction and evening and weekend hours. There are already notable disparities between the amount of time different librarians spend providing traditional reference and instruction. When we introduce new modes of reference we will need to establish procedures and criteria that will ensure an equitable distribution of the effort. Everyone will not be required to do everything, but everyone will be expected to contribute to the sum total of services offered; for example, if a colleague would prefer not to do chat reference, it would be fair if he or she worked more often at a reference desk or taught more classes. Someone suggested we could define and allocate “units of service.” There was some discussion of how this kind of system would be enforced. A number of faculty members felt that this was the responsibility of the Libraries’ administration. These issues will be discussed further as we begin to implement new reference services.

  3. New Brunswick Information Services Group Report -- T. Glynn
    Prospective members of the reconstituted Information Services Steering Group have discussed via email such issues as the schedule of meetings for the coming year and the composition of the steering group. A schedule for the 2007-2008 meetings as well as an agenda for the first meeting should be posted shortly. It was emphasized that these will be open meetings and that all the New Brunswick information services librarians are strongly encouraged to attend.

  4. New Brunswick Collection Group Report -- K. Mulcahy
    Kevin distributed two collection budget reports, one for New Brunswick state funds and the other for non-state funds. We are in a good position to close the 2006-2007 fiscal year. We are very slightly overspent for state funds. The non-state money continues to be spent down judiciously. We have done a good job of slimming down the approval plan. During the month of July we will once again have to use the Van Wagonner endowment to fund it. We hope to receive state funds for approval after that. Apparently new books are being processed more expeditiously in Acquisitions. Additional staff has been hired to unpack boxes, etc. Jane Sloan reported that there is still a serious backlog of in-process media titles.

    We have been asked to move relocate the CD-ROMs that are presently housed in the Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (CETH). We will have to decide whether to allow them to circulate or catalog them to ref-com or some other location. This will be discussed at the next New Brunswick Collections Group (NBCG) meeting.

    Concerns were raised regarding the change in the approval profile to receive paperbacks editions, when available. This was a major factor in reducing expenditures under the approval plan. One member asked whether it would be possible to bind those titles. Another said that he already does this with his own funds and still another said she does this selectively. Kevin pointed out that many of the paperbacks get relatively little use and that those that are heavily used may simply have to be replaced.

  5. Access Services Update – Judy Gardner
    Judy has proposed and the Public Services Council and the Cabinet has approved the electronic delivery of articles in journals held by the Libraries. Access Services will use ILLiad, the same software use for interlibrary loans. Judy hopes to begin offering this service sometime in the fall.

    The software used for EZ-Borrow is no longer being supported by SIRSI. PALCI is evaluating possible replacements for it.

    There is a major shifting of volumes underway at the Library of Science and Medicine. Some titles from the Math Library are being relocated to the Annex.

    The meeting concluded with a hearty round of applause for Jane Sloan, in recognition of her service as chair during the past year, and a fond farewell to Penny Page, the Alcohol Studies Librarian, who is retiring after a long and prolific career at Rutgers.