New Brunswick Libraries Faculty Meeting: Minutes of the April 11, 2008 Meeting

Stephanie Bartz, Jerris Cassel, Kayo Denda, Valeda Dent, Mary Fetzer, Judy Gardner, Rebecca Gardner, Tom Glynn, Kevin Mulcahy, Laura Mullen, Jim Niessen, Donna Schulman, John Shepard, Myoung Wilson, Ryan Womack (Chair), Tao Yang (recorder)

Adoption of agenda

The agenda was adopted as submitted.

Approval of the minutes of the February meeting

The minutes of the February 8 meeting were approved with minor corrections.

Faculty Compensation Program

Ryan said that in previous years the increase of faculty salary was made in steps and the salary adjustments were tied to rank. This year everyone is considered equally and the award will be made in dollar terms, not in percentage terms. The criteria of librarianship, scholarship, and service were applied in this process, with a greater emphasis on librarianship.

NBL web site

Ryan distributed an information sheet about the NBL web site. The background is that NBL is no longer the unit that it was when the site was established, so the NBLF group needs to consider various options to continue to host the contents and maintain its functionality. Ryan confirmed that the NBL website is not linked from any RUL public page. In response to suggestions of linking specific contents (e.g.: map, directory) on RUL pages, Ryan said that the pages need to meet certain technical standards before the web master can post the links on public pages. Members of the group also suggested to look at the elements of the NBL website in the context of information services, cautioned against abandoning the contents too quickly, and advised on where to move the content (e.g. under NBLF). Ryan reassured the group that the goal is not to abandon the site, but to keep the links functional and alive. The discussion about the NBL site will continue at a future meeting.

Committee on Scholarly Communication

Jim first gave a brief introduction to the Committee on Scholarly Communication (CSC). The Committee was created last year and is a non-bylaw, ad hoc faculty committee. It is renewable annually. Upon the request of the Planning and Coordinating Committee, CSC submitted its renewal proposal and was subsequently approved. CSC is planning on increasing visibility and communication, both within and without RUL, and updating its membership. Jim noted that currently CSC only has members from New Brunswick, even though it is a system-wide committee. In respect to RUcore, two major issues facing CSC are to develop a collection development policy for RUcore and to design infrastructure for supporting collection development. Jim noted that within the Committee the communication with the TAS representatives has been very helpful.

When asked about if RUcore can add papers from the research centers at the University and host e-journals upon faculty request, Jim thought those will be part of the committee's discussion on collection development policy. He also acknowledged that the Committee's web site is not up-to-date and the Committee needs to rethink the site. Regarding the open access mandate for NIH grantees, Jim mentioned that Bob Sewell has sent email to 139 Principal Investigators with NIH grants at the University (four messages returned non-deliverable). In addition, five library liaisons have been identified as relevant to the NIH mandate and they will be informed. As for the line of communication, Jim said that normally Rhonda Marker will be the first person to contact for questions or problems about RUcore.

Budget update

Valeda distributed a handout which outlined the main issues. The Libraries have been asked to model 3% and 7% cuts. This year RUL can no longer freeze any vacant lines. In the worst case scenario, RUL may have to give back vacant staff and faculty lines to avoid layoffs. The voucher funds may be reduced as well. At the Cabinet level, Marianne had sent out a message earlier this morning to highlight the importance of system interconnectivity. The Cabinet will determine which operations are critical to system-wide functioning (and which are not) and where more cross unit work and consolidation could ameliorate reductions (e.g. Access Services, Reference, Instruction, etc.). The Libraries' budget reduction plans will be presented to Dr. Furmanski on April 15, but the Cabinet will continue to craft the overall reducation plan as we find out more information.

Valeda then outlined what she needs from NBLF. She wanted NBLF, as a group, to rank the 5 open faculty lines in New Brunswick and present the recommendation to her by May 15. She would also like to establish a Rethinking Reference Task Force and an Instruction Task Force, each charged with the goal of developing service model(s) in its respective area, assuming no voucher support for the next year.

In the Q&A session, Valeda agreed that the two task forces need to incorporate representatives from Newark and Camden. In response to the suggestion of differentiating undergraduates from graduate students/faculty and targeting particular user segments as part of rethinking reference services, Valeda said that the task force needs to focus on the outcome and look at both the philosophy and human resources. When asked about how and when the groups will be formed, Valeda said that she will send out email early next week to ask for volunteers and the task forces will work in the May-June period. When inquired about the priorities of the task forces (reacting to budget cuts vs. focusing on what we want to do), Valeda said that the task forces will come up a statement of priorities. Members of the group also shared the observations that Meebo may take pressure off the reference desks and that the budget crisis may be a good opportunity to negotiate with other teaching units (e.g. Writing Program) for resource sharing.

After Valeda left the room for another appointment, the group continued to discuss the methodology for ranking open lines. It was decided that Ryan will call a straw poll via email immediately and another round of discussion will take place at the NBCG meeting in a week to finalize the NBLF's recommendation to Valeda. Several people also expressed their view about the system-wide focus, particularly the perceived difficulty of splitting people by campus and possible solutions.


Jane had asked people to submit travel report for the next fiscal year in an email prior to the meeting.

NBLF Chair report

Ryan said that an election will take place in May to choose the NBLF Deputy Chair/Chair-elect. Only tenured members are eligible for the position.

Access Services Report

Judy started by mentioning that there are three open positions at Access Services and if/when Access Services lose them, it will mean major changes. Access Services staff will report on Ivy Plus (for access services) meeting and Illiad Users Group meeting at the next Lunchtime Seminar Series. Oracle migration would mean three days of downtime of IRIS after the final exam in May; IRIS will be in read-only mode during those three days. Upon the request of the Undergraduate Admissions Office of the University, Access Services had looked at the library's practice of placing "register hold" (which prevents students with enough fines from registering for classes). In alignment with the University's interest of minimizing the number of students on register hold, the Access Services will stop this practice; "diploma hold" will be used as an alternative.

In the Q&A session, Judy said the dollar amount of the "register hold" is insignificant. The three open positions at Access Services are the Library Associate at Chang Library, Library Associate II at Article Delivery, and the Assistant Head of Access Services; all of which are frozen now. Judy will meet Valeda this afternoon to talk about the impact if the positions are lost. On a positive note, Judy said that people had given good feedback in a survey about free article delivery service and she will share it with people. In response to question about passing ILL costs to users, Judy reasoned that it costs money to collect money from users for ILL items, so free to users makes economic sense.

NBCG Chair Report

Kevin mentioned that the RPMX fund is available for people to buy replacement books. In terms of the budget, he said that the inflation in Journals and databases will be about 8 to 10 percent next year and also called for spending non-state money. Overall, Kevin predicted a bad year for collections next year.

NBISG Chair Report

Tom Glynn reported that at the last ISG meeting, the group looked at the Sakai site and discussed the use of work study students for reference assistance. Even though it might be too late for the SCILS students interested in RA positions in the fall to apply for work study, but it's a good alternative to voucher funds in the future.

Tom said that he may volunteer for the Rethinking Reference Task Force and have tabulated reference statistics; the reference statistics could be used as data for analyzing the trend of reference traffic. During the discussion, Kayo also gave a brief summary of the video reference service between the Kilmer and Douglass libraries. She said that this service is still at experimental stage, the video reference is more comprehensive than Meebo, and a practical issue with video reference is that the Access Services staff usually have to provide initial assistance to users.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:40am.

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