University Library Committee

Ask a Librarian

October 10, 2001

Present: Alanen, Baughman, Boyd, Dingus, Hellstrom, Kleinhenz, Osborn, Potter, Tiser

Ex Officio: Barribeau, Frazier, Rouse

Others: Barkan, Carr, Gilbertson, Murray, Pfahler, Senzig, Van Gemert

1. Welcome and introductions.

2. Review of charge of ULC (Terry Boyd):
The charge of ULC: "The University Library Committee (ULC) reviews, consults on, advises, plans for, and receives reports and recommendations on the performance of library services, automation, budget, administrative structure, and allocation of resources. Responsibility for keeping the faculty informed of major issues and for creating opportunities for the faculty to discuss priorities also falls to the committee (see Faculty Policies and Procedures 6:46 B)." ULC has 3 primary roles: To issue an Annual Report in the Spring and distribute to the Faculty Senate; To be active in conveying need for continued financial support of libraries; To increase accessibility of libraries to students on their terms, regarding collections and hours, etc.

Frazier emphasized the usefulness of the ULC Annual Report in establishing and communicating priorities for financial expenditures.

3. Update on Library Planning and Budgets (Ken Frazier):
Frazier talked about the current biennial budget during which the libraries have no increase in funds across the UW-System and across the campus for the next two years. The General Library System has been and continues to downsize number of staff. An extensive journal subscription cutting exercise was just completed and letter sent to faculty from Frazier detailing the reasons and strategies for this exercise. UW-Madison spends over $9 million on collections and UW-System spends $20 million. However, in comparison with our Big Ten consortial partners, we have dropped to the bottom quartile in terms of expenditures (MSU, Iowa and Purdue are lower). Our resources need to be supplemented with private fundraising and we must continue to collaborate in cooperative purchasing and licensing of resources. We are not resource-poor, rather students are overwhelmed by the breadth and variety of databases offered. Students have indicated a wish for more direct partnership with librarians, as well as a need for increased information literacy efforts and instruction.

The financial situation regarding the State budget is not likely to improve - among our peers, Wisconsin is unique in having to rely on legislative funding. Increasing our private endowment for libraries, with ULC assistance, is our goal.

An example of an issue brought before ULC and with a recent positive resolution is that of the journal publication Nature.

Jean Gilbertson described Nature's 3-month content embargo for institutional subscribers, the library community's successful effort to persuade them to change this policy, and UW-Madison's quickly negotiating a license with very good terms and being able to provide electronic access to our library users.

4. Reports from campus library directors:
Tom Murray (Wendt Engineering Library): Library Express (desktop document delivery for campus users) has moved beyond a pilot project and now is available to the entire campus.

Ed Van Gemert (Public Service and Member Libraries): A meeting with DoIT is scheduled for Oct. 11 regarding wireless service. There is a possibility of Memorial Library west corridor including a café or coffee cart in the. Chemistry Library just completed a remodeling project. Geology Library is about to begin a renovation.

Jean Gilbertson (Steenbock Library): The Steenbock basement is evolving into the Science Shelving Facility for older and low-use materials. These are represented in the MadCat catalog. Archives will also be moving some material there.

5. Journal Subscription Cuts for 2002 (Sandy Pfahler):
Sandy Pfahler talked about our journal cancellations, the necessity and difficulty of this task and the cooperation of UW-Madison libraries and the UW-System libraries - most notably UW-Milwaukee. With a zero percent budget increase and with annual subscription increases and new journals to purchase, we sought to collaborate and eliminate expensive duplicate titles - particularly between Madison and Milwaukee and create a shared core list. Shifting to electronic access to journals is our goal but e-journals cost more money - another factor. At the completion of this exercise, proposed journal cuts across UW-System totalled more than $500,000. Sandy also pointed out that we do get access to some expensive resources (Web of Science, EBSCOHost) with UW-System funds -the continuation of which is decided at the State level. Ken Frazier pointed out that various user communities on campus use information and journal literature in different ways. These differences are reflected in some disciplines (humanities) having traditionally "cheaper" journals (although this is changing for the social sciences). The disparity in pricing is most apparent with the science/technical/medical journal titles being much more expensive. Engineering made the deepest cuts and will have the most resources to re-allocate. Tom Murray, in discussing Engineering's journals cuts, talked about the incompatibility of our zero budget situation and the stated profit goals of Elsevier (a major science publisher). He considered the timing of cancellations to be prudent with our document delivery systems in place. The university community contributes to these journals and to scholarly publishing and must regain some control over the process.

6. Future Agenda Items (Terry Boyd):
Some possible future items for discussion at ULC are: libraries of the future and the future of our libraries; space issues for campus libraries; technological issues.

Ken Frazier talked about the ARL (Association of Research Libraries) meeting October 18-20 and the issue of library security, in view of current events, to be discussed there. A systematic audit of our current security systems will be conducted.

He also talked about libraries visibility during the Capital Campaign (fundraising from private endowments) and asked ULC to endorse this. An example of a successful library fundraising effort is the Parents' Enrichment Fund - which has increased giving.

We will receive some new funding from UW-System for digital collections and digital library initiatives.

7. ULC Meeting Schedule (Terry Boyd):
There is no best time for a regular meeting and so the time will vary to accommodate as many as possible. An email will be sent out announcing the next meeting time and location. Brenda Dingus requested that a reminder of meetings be sent out a day before - which will be done.

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