September 28, 1999
Present: Boyd, Bush, Petrov, Uhlenbrock, Gordon-Walker, Honeywell, Triplett, Uhlenbrock, Vaughn
Ex Officio: Barkan, Braithwaite, Frazier, Null, Rider
Others: Carr, Gilbertson, Guthrie, Murray, Neu, Pfahler, Pitschmann, Pope, Reilly, Senzig
1. Introductions and Welcomes. Bush and other committee members and guests introduced themselves. Bush noted that each library hosting committee meetings during the year will provide a brief overview of aspects of their collections.
2. Memorial Library Collections. Pitschmann stated that despite budget stringencies over the years, Memorial Library has been successful in maintaining a number of national and international topical strengths, including German trade unions, immigration into Western Europe, Reformation, and the Early Modern period. The Department of Special Collections has wide ranging strengths; the Cairns, little magazine, and history of sciences collection are internationally ranked. John Neu, history of science bibliographer and the first bibliographer of Memorial Library, reviewed the development of the Thordarson and other scientific collections in the department and throughout the campus. Bush stated that the history of science faculty was one of the most distinguished humanities faculties on the campus. Rider said that the strength of the collections is a magnet for gifts which complement and extend their scope.
3. Committee Charge. Committee reviewed section 6.46 of the Faculty Policies and Procedures, which outlines the ULC's charge. Bush reminded members that the committee reports to the Faculty Senate in the spring of each year. However, he suggested that standing committees not be named initially and that ad hoc committees were could be designated as needs arose. Members agreed.
4. Meeting Dates. The list of meeting dates for the year was approved as submitted. Meetings will be held in different libraries across campus, as has been the tradition for several years.
5. Report of the Director. Frazier thanked the committee for all its assistance, especially the efforts of Vaughn and Petrov, in making the case for a substantial base budget increase for libraries. He cautioned that though the increase will make a major difference, it will not be enough to fulfill everyone's wishes, and thus discipline will continue to be needed. Additional funding initiatives will come through collaboration with the UW Foundation. Frazier reviewed the annual report from the previous year. He discussed the new automation system, which has received the dedicated attention of staff over the past months. The new system changes almost completely how libraries do things internally. Pope stated that staff are now addressing such issues as improvement of system performance. Questions reaching library staff from faculty, departmental staff, and students receive personalized answers from library staff. The main interface of the new system is a Web-base menu. Staff are conducting many drop-in lectures and workshops for people to familiarize themselves with the new system. Less than 15 percent of the collections are left to be converted to the online system.
Reilly reviewed various grant-funded projects, including the Africana project, KIDS Report, and Asian Studies portal project. She also reported on new projects made possible through the assignment of Niki Graham at the UW Foundation to work on library development. Among the immediate results has been assignment of proceeds from the Parents Enrichment Fund to libraries, allowing the remodeling of room 124 this year into an enhanced study space for students and a much-needed teaching and presentation facility. The Class of 1949 has also designated its reunion gift to libraries; the gift will be used to create a humanities digitized text center within Memorial Library.
6. Journal Cost Study. Frazier announced a new journal cost study sponsored by the libraries, updating the controversial Barschall studies which prompted litigation by publishers. The results of the most recent study, picked up by the Chronicle of Higher Education, reaffirm the Barschall results and the academic freedom standards he championed.
7. Year of the Book. The libraries will celebrate a year of the book, Frazier stated. Several factors conspired to make this announcement, including the renewed budgetary ability to purchase any in-print book a faculty, academic staff, or student requests, anticipation of the purchase of the 6 millionth library volume at some time during the year, and a reaffirmation that the humanities are central to higher education. Library reports can fall into a technological perspective, which the General Library System will attempt to counter with displays and programs throughout the year.
8. NCA Report. Libraries are mentioned in the accreditation committee's report. Implications are that there are too many libraries and that library technology systems are not sufficiently coordinated. However, Frazier stated, fewer than 20 libraries receive 90 percent of budgetary resources, and libraries have a strong mandate to collaborate in collection development and other policies. Information technology and collection monies are increasingly centralized through UW System. Frazier and Tad Pinkerton of DoIT will meet to draft a formal response to the report.
9. Strategic Directions of Libraries. The Council of University of Wisconsin Libraries (CUWL) will discuss Frazier's draft strategic directions document. Key areas of activity and new developments are stressed in the draft. Committee discussion involved issues of licensing and access beyond the university.
10. Other matters. Bush invited members to contact him with ideas about the committee's work in the coming year. Among the plans so far are a possible joint meeting with the Archives Committee, chaired by Vaughn, about preservation of electronic information. Boyd volunteered to become the ULC liaison to the Memorial Library Committee.