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Governance Minutes Archive

February 7, 1990

  These minutes were approved  as submitted at the  March 7, 1990  ULC

  meeting.

 

                  UNIVERSITY LIBRARY COMMITTEE MINUTES

                            February 7, 1990

 

 

  PRESENT:

  Cindy Bennett, SGA (for M. Kainer)    J. Scott Poole, Architecture

  John Bowen, Veterinary Medicine       Robt. Sismour, GSA (for S.Brusic)

  Eugene Carson, Provost Rep.           Michael Vorster, Engineering

  Norman Dodl, Education                Jane Wentworth, Human Resources

  Paul Gherman, Library                 David West, Arts and Science

  Arthur Keown, Business                Roderick Young,Agr.& Life Science

 

  GUESTS:

  Bela Foltin, Library                  Frances Painter, Library

  Paul Metz, Library                    Linda Richardson, Library

 

  ABSENT:

  Sharon Brusic, GSA                    Michael Kainer, SGA

  J. D. Duke, Faculty Senate

 

  MEETING SUMMARY:

 

  The meeting was called to order at 4:00 p.m. Minutes of the January

  10, 1989, meeting were approved as submitted. Issues pertaining to

  library space utilization and to guidelines for handling serials

  cancellations were discussed with no action taken.

 

  REPORTS

 

       I. LIBRARY ANNOUNCEMENTS (P. Gherman):

 

          The library is working on the requested plans for a 3%, 5%,

          and 7% reversion, as are all other university units. The

          university has submitted to the legislature a budget

          amendment which asks for $704,000 in the first year and $1.2

          M in the second year of the biennium for the library

          materials budget.  Should the library receive these funds

          and at the same time lose positions, there will be a problem

          with cataloging the new volumes in a timely manner.

          (Handout attached)

 

      II. CANCELLATION OF INTERNATIONAL NEWSPAPERS (B. Foltin):

 

          The library has cancelled 16 newspapers, amounting to about

          $4,000, to bring holdings in line with the newspaper policy

          guidelines. Further cancellations may be necessary. A few

          new newspapers may be subscribed to, in order to have all

          major areas of the world represented in the library's

          newspaper selections. (Handout attached)

 

     III. SPACE COMMITTEE (P. Metz):

 

          The library will run out of space in Newman and Cheds by the

          mid 90s.  The Space Committee has been appointed to study

          the issues this raises. The state has left the door open to

          consider off-site compact storage facilities, but have said

          there won't be funding for new full-service library space.

          Perhaps campus space in another building might be available

          on a short term basis.  The Committee will study

          alternatives so that the library is ready with contingency

          plans.  The Committee is charged with determining a) what

          functions of library service could be moved out of this

          building, b) what use should be made of the space gained, c)

          how much storage space do we need, how could it grow, d) how

          would materials be moved and kept track of, if located

          elsewhere. The Committee will identify the library

          functions students use without necessarily needing access to

          other areas of the library (for instance Reserve) and also

          identify little used parts of the collection which could be

          housed elsewhere on campus, but where they would still be

          accessible for browsing.  The Committee has met only twice

          so far so there is little to report. However, the plan is

          to submit interim reports on specific aspects of the

          assignment, rather than a single report at the end.

 

          The library will be adding some new shelving this year, but

          it will be less than a year's growth.  Further moves to

          Cheds will be necessary this summer.  Historically the

          materials moved to Cheds have been heavily drawn from the

          science area.  This summer's moves will have to draw on

          materials from the humanities, but the selections will not

          be made in mainstream areas. There are bound back issues of

          general purpose magazines such as Hobby, or Numismatist,

          that have limited research appeal.  We have Atlantic Monthly

          back to before the Civil War, decades of Der Speigel, and

          for some journals we will be able to take the oldest part of

          the bound back issues, but leave the last one or two

          decades.  In science areas we may not have to take any

          serials this year.  The balance to be struck in this

          exercise is to take enough to make the move worthwhile and

          buy at least a couple of years of space, but not take so

          much that you are storing more than necessary.

 

          The University Library Committee can be of great help by

          being aware of what the Space Committee is doing, by helping

          to allay exaggerated fears and by explaining what we are

          doing to the university community. We are not talking about

          sending one unnecessary volume to Cheds. (Charge to Space

          Committee attached.)

 

          Discussion of Space Committee Program Report:

          M. Vorster:  When we last talked about space issues we

          touched on the need for finding a way to measure usage

          statistics. If we are going to study space needs again we

          need a technology for obtaining hard data.  We cannot

          indefinitely answer these questions without hard data.

          N. Dodl:  This keeps coming up.  We talked before about

          counting titles of reshelved items with a portable bar code

          reader. I agree that this would be very helpful.

          P. Metz:  We are doing a measurement right now of use in

          Current Periodicals. We know that 29% of our use is in

          Circulation, and have excellent statistics.  Twenty-one

          percent is in Current Periodicals. Fifty percent is within

          the building and we don't have data for that.

          M. Vorster: But the question comes up again and again, and

          without data, each time we have to make an approximation.

          B. Foltin:  On anything that is stored at Cheds we

          automatically have the data on how often it is requested.

 

  NEW BUSINESS

 

     I.   LIBRARY POLICY FOR HANDLING SERIALS CANCELLATIONS

 

          D. West:  My bringing this question before the Committee

          ties in directly with M. Vorster's comments about the need

          for data on usage. The basic issue is simply that when the

          time comes to cancel or reevaluate serials, different

          subject matter areas have different points of view.  The

          Committee should discuss whether there is any way to handle

          this, other than across-the-board cuts.

          B. Foltin:  The last time this was done there were no

          quotas.  The librarians looked at the total subscription

          list and identified subscriptions which were not receiving

          much use. That smaller list was broken into subject matter

          areas and the appropriate subset list taken to each

          departmental liaison, who in turn was supposed to have all

          departmental faculty review the list and reach a consensus

          on titles which were not needed. The list then came back to

          the library, where a composite list of all the suggested

          cancellations was prepared and this entire list was sent

          back to all departments for review, again to be circulated

          to all faculty. In this way cross-disciplinary needs were

          removed from the final cancellation list. The library could

          not individually consult every professor. We had to rely on

          the library liaison from each department to see to it that

          departmental faculty were given the opportunity to review

          the list. Some $35,000 worth of serials were cancelled, and

          inevitably, questions were later raised by some faculty who

          apparently had not had input into the process. As a result,

          some few subscriptions were reinstated.  Obviously, if we

          receive the $2 M asked for in the budget amendment we would

          not need to do any traumatic cancellations. However, there

          are areas of the collection which need to be looked at.

          There are still some duplicates which could probably be

          cancelled. There are also journals with titles which sound

          good, but the actual contents are not very useful. We can

          always get copies of needed articles faxed on request. The

          review needs to be done again whether we have money or not.

          The inflation on subscriptions is over $200,000 per year.

          At the time of the last review drastic inflation was the

          chief problem, and we elected to protect serial purchases by

          cutting monographic purchases.  We can't do that again.

          Currently, serial subscriptions account for 75% or more of

          the library's encumbered budget. That figure ideally should

          be kept to about 60%. At our present level of encumbrance

          we have no maneuvering room when there are budget problems.

          N.Dodl: During the last review, the possibility of across-

          the-board cuts was the major area of contention for many

          faculty members. Humanities and social science journals are

          relatively inexpensive, which requires proportionally a

          greater number of titles to be cut as opposed to areas such

          as the sciences in which single titles are often very

          expensive.

          B. Foltin: That's correct. We got flak from all sides, and

          especially those wanting to know why monographs budgets in

          the humanities were cut in order to protect subscriptions in

          the science areas.  On the other hand, the major portion of

          funded research on this campus is done in the sciences and

          that research must be supported.

          P. Gherman: It's not possible to assign a precise value to

          a program to determine a proportion of the budget.  The

          library does look at the number of undergraduate and

          graduate students and faculty, and the number of programs

          and Ph.Ds offered in a department and balance that against

          the whole budget to make sure something isn't seriously

          skewed.

          B. Foltin: All our experience and reading of the literature

          suggests that in this kind of situation judgments are made

          on the basis of whether a consensus can be arrived at, and

          it is not scientific. It is based on some evidence of use,

          and some political judgement, but nobody has devised an

          allocation system or a cut system that is perfect or can be

          claimed to be scientific.

          P. Gherman:  Engineering may say we comprise x% of the

          university's students, therefore x% of the materials budget

          should be devoted to engineering.  However, engineering

          students take courses in English.  How do you compute

          whether an English book should come from the English studies

          allocation or from engineering. We have a substantial law

          collection here, but no law school.  However, those law

          books are needed by departments in many fields.

          D. West:  The function of my asking for this new business

          item is being fulfilled, because what I wanted to do was get

          this out on the table so that new committee members would

          understand the issues involved. The perception on campus is

          that people are not being told what is going on. I agreed

          with what has been said. This is not an easy issue.

          B. Foltin: When resources are tight you are forced to look

          at everything, which makes this a good exercise to go

          through every three or four years.

          A. Keown:  It's not very comforting to learn that this is

          almost entirely a judgmental decision.  Statistics aren't

          going to replace judgement, but we still need to know the

          statistics.

          N. Dodl: What does the library expect to occur during the

          remainder of this year and during the next biennium? Do you

          expect to be looking at serials and if so, is it to be an

          exercise in prudent management, or will it be to effect real

          cuts in library acquisition costs?

          B. Foltin: It depends on the budget. We want to look at

          serials whether we get the money or not. We're working on a

          way of doing the survey electronically. If we receive the

          same amount of money as this year it is possible to eke

          through the first, but not the second year of the biennium,

          and cuts will be necessary.  Serials must be cancelled by

          September, since that is when the entire bill is paid.  We

          won't know about the budget until April, but are preparing

          now so that the review can begin immediately if the budget

          remains level or is reduced.

 

  The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

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