University Librarian's Cabinet: Minutes of the September 29, 2009 Meeting

Present: Boyle, Fredenburg, Fetzer, Fultz, Gardner, Gaunt, Puniello
Telephone: Agnew
Caviness, Hendrickson

University Librarian's Report – Gaunt

Gaunt reported on the VALE discussions related to a consortial purchasing of Wiley/Blackwell journals.

Budget - Gaunt

Gaunt reviewed the budget figures for reductions this year ($522,163) and projected cuts for next year ($1,780,354). Executive Vice President Furmanski had suggested that units consider dividing the reductions evenly over the two-year period to ameliorate the impact. RUL must prepare a two-year plan by November 1. Since we had planned to make reductions of $1,764,195 for this year, we would need to increase that amount by $506,005 by the beginning of next fiscal year to cover the two-year reductions. As a strategy, we could consider keeping our current plans in place -- $866,586 in position give backs (15 vacant positions), $725,000 in collection reductions, and $172,609 in below-the-line. Then we would need to decide how best to divide the additional reduction amount between salaries and collections. Sewell will be asked how much might come from collections; the rest will come from salaries. Since we only need to return the $522,163 this year we could keep all the potential give back positions frozen this year and accrue salary savings until they are returned permanently at the beginning of next fiscal year. Since collections were reduced by $725,000 at the start of this year, we could return all of the reduction in collections funds this year and still have extra to spend on collections this year.

Boyle prepared statistics to compare service activities among the libraries; she also prepared a cost per use chart based on the number of people using each library. Cabinet considered services that are growing, those that are declining, those that could be done in different ways, those that we could slow, and those that we could cease. In all cases we should consider what users want most. For example, longer library hours are the one constant request from students. We have managed previous budget reductions by continuously revising work processes in units and/or cross training staff, so that previous budget cuts have not had the negative impact on services to the patron that they might. How should we express the impact of these cuts in compelling ways—what were we unable to do for faculty and students that matters to them; where have these cuts had a negative impact; where could they have had a positive impact?

At the same time that we review reductions we need to consider revenue generation. One area is related to the payment of lost book fines. The feasibility and the desirability of a library fee was also discussed—either a separate fee and/or an increase in the student computer fee. Fredenburg will gather information about such fees at peer institutions. Escalating fund raising is a major goal.

Gaunt reminded everyone that requests for reclassifications need to be submitted and they will be reviewed once we determine our budget plan.

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