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Governance Minutes Archive

November 1, 1989

                   UNIVERSITY LIBRARY COMMITTEE MINUTES

                             November 1, 1989

 

 

   PRESENT:

   Sharon Brusic, GSA                 Michael Kainer, SGA

   Norman Dodl, Education             Michael Vorster, Engineering

   J. C. Duke, Faculty Senate         Jane Wentworth, Human Resources

   Paul Gherman, Library              David West, Arts & Sciences

 

   GUESTS:

   Bela Foltin, Library               Frances Painter, Library

   Shirley Glazener, Library          Linda Richardson, Library

   Bill Kuster

 

   ABSENT:

   John Bowen, Veterinary Medicine    Provost's Representative

   Arthur Keown, Business             Roderick  Young,  Agr.   &  Life

   Science

   J. Scott Poole, Architecture

 

   MEETING SUMMARY:

 

   The meeting was called to order at 4:05 p.m.  Minutes of the

   October 4,  1989, meeting were  approved as submitted.  The

   committee's action also gave formal approval to the recommendations

   which  were sent forward  to the  Task Force  on University

   Commissions, Committees and University Council Composition.  (See

   attached) The committee unanimously approved a statement of policy

   on branch libraries, which will be sent to University Council.

   Future agenda items were identified.  P. Gherman presented details

   of increased student requests for University Library support of

   home-country and home-town newspaper subscriptions. The University

   Library Committee voted to affirm an internal policy statement on

   newspaper selection prepared by a committee of the library staff.

 

   MEETING DETAIL:

 

   OLD BUSINESS

 

      I. APPROVAL OF POLICY ON BRANCH LIBRARIES (PMG):

 

        There was considerable discussion in committee during the

        past year on the need to reiterate and clarify the policy

        on branch libraries,  particularly in light of the

        establishment of the Roanoke Graduate Center and a request

        from the Equine Center that they be considered as a

        possible site for a branch library. After additional brief

        discussion it was moved and seconded that the document

        be adopted as worded, and sent forward to University

        Council. The motion was unanimously approved.

 

      II. IDENTIFICATION OF COMMITTEE AGENDA PRIORITIES FOR 1989-90

 

        The Chair asked for suggestions for agenda items to be

        considered by the University Library Committee this year.

        Committee members suggested the following possibilities:

        1) discussion of policy about access vs. ownership, 2)

        library space needs, 3) advance warning for the library

        and the committee of new initiatives on campus, 4) a food

        and drink area in the library for students, 5) areas in

        the library where portable computers may conveniently be

        used, or where computers are available for student use,

        6) a need for group study areas in the library, 7)

        library policy regarding acceptance of magnetic tapes

        from campus departments, and 8) review of policy on

        access to the collection. The committee noted that items

        4, 5, and 6 on the list might be combined in a general

        study of space utilization.

 

   NEW BUSINESS

 

      I. NEWSPAPER POLICY (PMG & BF):

 

        The library  subscribes to  newspapers from various

        countries.  International student  groups frequently

        petition the  library to  subscribe to  additional

        international newspapers, or to newspapers representing

        differing and competing political views in their countries.

        In order to be useful the newspapers must be sent to us

        by air freight,  which means that some of them are

        subscribed to at costs ranging as high as $1,000 per

        year.  These requests have recently increased, and in

        September, a committee of the library faculty reviewed

        the library's existing newspaper policy.  The policy was

        found to be sound and rational, and there were only minor

        revisions. A copy of the newspaper policy was distributed

        to committee members. The policy is to support the univer-

        sity functions of teaching, research, and extension,

        to provide  examples  of  editorial and journalistic

        excellence, and to give depth and breadth of regional,

        national, and international news coverage.  It does not

        purport to give equal representation to all countries or

        to all factional views.  In reviewing the policy it was

        found that the library had deviated from the policy in

        some instances by subscribing to a few papers which do

        not meet policy criteria, and this will be corrected.

        However, the library does recognize that somewhere in the

        university there should be provision made for students to

        have access to these papers.  The library has been in

        contact with Dr. Goodale, and others on campus concerned

        with this problem, and with the Cranwell International

        Center.  The library has proposed that the Cranwell

        Center house  international newspapers  that are of

        interest to various student groups, but which do not meet

        library criteria. The student groups might provide funds

        to subscribe to these papers, or ask their embassies to

        furnish the subscriptions.  A solution of this nature

        would remove the pressure on the library for additional

        space and handling costs, and also remove the library

        from the political controversy of the competing demands.

 

        The following motion was placed on the floor by J. Duke

        and seconded by D. West: that the newspaper policy be

        affirmed with the deletion of item III.C.1., and that the

        library bring itself into compliance with the policy.

 

        A motion to table was made by M. Kainer, and seconded by

        S. Brusic. The motion to table was defeated.

 

        The original motion was passed by a vote of 4 for, 1

        against, with 2 abstentions.

 

        (Detail of the discussion on this issue is appended.)

 

   REPORTS

 

       I. L. Richardson announced that the Provost would visit the

          library on November 2, and speak to library faculty. She

          invited committee members to attend.

 

      II. P. Gherman announced that VTLS, Inc. has developed a

          microcomputer intelligent front end. It makes using VTLS

          easier, gives windowing options, allows use of a mouse,

          and other refinements.  The library may be negotiating

          with VTLS to try and obtain a site license to distribute

          the software on campus.

 

   The meeting was adjourned at 5:25 p.m.

 

                  APPENDIX

 

 

        J. Duke:  If student groups paid for the papers, could

        they be housed in the library?  This has been tried at

        other universities and has not worked.  The papers must

        be brought to the library and taken away or disposed of

        on a regular schedule, which is difficult to monitor and

        control. Also, it should be pointed out that students

        from the  United States also  persistently ask for

        subscriptions to their hometown papers. The library does

        not have the space to devote to an ever expanding

        collection of newspapers.

 

        N. Dodl: To what extent is this policy a revision of the

        1984 policy? There have been very minor changes made to

        the 1984 policy statement. B. Foltin, as the Collection

        Development officer, initiated a review of the 1984

        policy by the newspaper committee.  Their slightly

        revised policy was reviewed and approved by the Director

        and the Director's Executive Council.  As with other

        operating policies, the new statement now serves to guide

        selection and maintenance of the library's newspaper

        collection.  S. Glazener was here when the original

        policy was written. She stated that as she recalls there

        was a good deal of controversy when the previous policy

        was  formulated.   It was  promulgated after  much

        discussion, it was very similar to the revised policy

        just distributed, and indeed there was a resolution then

        that papers be placed in an international center, and

        that library funds not be involved.

 

        N. Dodl: Is there any need at this time for this policy

        to move through the university governance system for

        discussion and approval, beyond this body?  P. Gherman

        stated that the policy pertains to normal operations in

        the library and, as such, is no different from other

        internal guidelines for operation of the library.  It

        should not need to be processed through the formal

        governance system of the University. However, the issue

        will probably receive publicity on campus and, as it

        involves  the  international  community  within  the

        university, it will get attention.  The University

        Library Committee should be  aware of the  current

        pressures on the library.  The Director has seen this as

        a student problem, and has brought it to the attention of

        Vice President Goodale, in order to seek a solution that

        will satisfy the need, but remove the library from the

        middle of any political controversy.

 

        D. West:  In  the policy, under III.(Criteria for

        selection)     A.(Geographic     representation)

        4."selection...(of international newspapers)  will be

        based on supporting curriculum and research needs." Can

        that be separated from the social need? In other words,

        the library is subscribing to international newspapers

        under this criterion--which ones will the Cranwell Center

        be asked to take care of? The library looks for input

        from the academic departments on newspapers which support

        curriculum and research, for instance from the Political

        Science Department or the History Department.  The

        library consults with all the faculty that it knows of

        who are interested in international areas of study. If a

        department or  faculty member  asks for  a certain

        international newspaper because it is needed for study of

        a particular area, then it will be purchased by the

        library.

 

        N. Dodl: The library's selections are based on requests

        that are program related, as opposed to those that are

        individual requests? Yes.

 

        M. Vorster: In the policy, under III.(Criteria for

        selection) C.(Editorial and  journalistic excellence)

        1."Titles should provide a balanced collection of diverse

        editorial viewpoints."  That seems too broad, and the

        wording could invite the kind of situation that now

        exists. N. Dodl concurred--that the primary criteria

        should be programmatic.  B. Foltin--there are several

        books that review international newspapers, and their

        recommended list of the fifty great papers of the world

        is used to help make decisions about the papers the

        library subscribes to  under III.C.2."Award  winning

        newspapers and those papers recognized for journalistic

        excellence should  be given  strong  consideration."

        Perhaps this statement should be made number 1 under

        III.C. in the policy statement.

 

        N. Dodl: What is the time urgency for the committee,

        could this be tabled  and brought back before the

        committee later, or should it be acted upon now?  P.

        Gherman thinks there is some urgency, and it would be

        useful for the committee to go on record, if not to agree

        word for word with the document, at least as having

        considered it or agreed (if it does) that newspaper

        selection should be primarily for programmatic reasons.

 

        J. Duke: Moved that the newspaper policy be affirmed with

        the deletion of item III.C.1., and that the library bring

        itself into compliance with the policy.

 

        D. West: Seconded.

 

        M. Kainer: Objected and moved to table until the issue is

        taken back to his constituency.

 

        S. Brusic: Seconded.

 

        The vote was taken by show of hands: 4 against, 2 for,

        and 1 abstention, therefore the vote to table did not

        carry. The committee discussion returned to the original

        motion.

 

        D. West: Spoke in support of the motion now on the floor,

        but wished to express his ambivalence.  From a cultural

        point of view the international newspapers are very

        important, but from a budgetary point of view it does not

        seem that the library should be asked to purchase

        additional subscriptions to newspapers when there are

        journals and books which cannot be purchased.

 

        N. Dodl: Reiterated that the committee is dealing with a

        policy which essentially puts the burden into a program

        driven decision rather than in a user request framework.

 

        M. Vorster:  Thinks the library should be very careful

        about the function of the library--that is, teaching and

        research rather than general information. If the library

        defines its policy very clearly, with a programmatic

        focus, then we should look for other sources to support

        the general information mission.

 

        B. Kuster (guest): The committee is acting to reaffirm

        this policy without members having a chance to consult

        with their constituencies.  If item III.C.1. is deleted

        how will the library assure the collection has a diverse

        editorial viewpoint?  Until some mechanism is in place

        for students to have access to other newspapers, how can

        the library change the policy?

 

        B. Foltin:  The Cranwell International Center does

        currently have some other newspapers.  Mr. Foltin is

        meeting tomorrow with the President of the International

        Students Group, and is consulting with other interested

        parties and meeting personally with petitioners. Most of

        the papers which have been asked for are not in English,

        and their use to the general student body for research

        purposes  would be  limited.  Also,  the budgetary

        limitations are severe.  If the choice must be made

        between a research journal and an additional newspaper,

        then the choice becomes obvious.  We do subscribe to a

        broad number of international newspapers which meet the

        criteria of the policy, and will continue to do so.

 

        The vote was called on the original motion and was passed

        by a vote of 4 for, 1 against, and 2 abstentions.

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