University Library Committee

Ask a Librarian

November 11, 2004

Attending: Althen (minute taker), Barkan, Baughman (chair), Blaine, Braithwaite, Breckenridge, Buckett, Burton, Carr, Edwards (student rep), Frazier, Gilbertson, Hellstrom, Kruse, Lundin, Nelson, Owens, Pifer, Reeb, Roper, Silberman,Van Gemert


1. Introductions and Announcements

Introductions were made and each member gave their favorite Library of Congress classification.

Frazier reported that he sent a letter to Dr. Elias Zerhouni, Director of NIH, supporting the open access initiative proposed by NIH. Copies of the letter were distributed. A piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the UK won't participate in Open Access. The American Association of University Presses (AAUP) sent a letter to Zerhouni "worrying" about the issue. So far, no news from other federal agencies, (e.g., USDA, NSF) suggesting that they will follow suit on open access, with exception of the Department of Education which is very open to including open access. Professional Associations and Societies are fearful this will break them.

Three years ago, the UW-Madison decided not to pursue a $1-2 million storage site and opted instead for the basement of the Middleton Health Sciences Library. Deputy Director Van Gemert reported that the capacity of Middleton's basement is 350,000 volumes. Space Saver of Fort Atkinson will complete installation of the compact shelving next week and occupancy of the facility can begin at the end of the current semester. Van Gemert emphasized that the space will be shared by all campus libraries, including Law, Wendt, etc. Occupancy will occur transparently so that faculty input can be factored in.

Frazier recently traveled to Chicago to see a sizable and significant collection of American Musical Theater that UW-Madison will acquire. Wherever possible, the goal is to acquire more such collections by personal donation rather than by purchase.

Frazier talked about the new library textbook initiative. Student feedback says that many students cannot purchase expensive textbooks because they can't afford them. In particular, some international students are adversely affected. Libraries will play a role in reducing this problem by purchasing multiple copies of textbooks in instances where student access stands to be improved. Plans are in place to experiment first with additional textbook purchases at College Library Reserves. Copies of the new Textbook Brochure for students were distributed. The initiative will be advertised to students through the brochure which will be distributed broadly through the Office of Student Affairs. The best method of communicating with faculty is currently being discussed. While faculty can't be mandated to select moderately priced textbooks, they can be encouraged to consider price as one factor in the selection of a required text.


2. Reports from Library Directors.

Burton reported that Ebling Library has acquired the Cranefield collection consisting of 350 boxes of 18th and 19th century medical materials. He anticipates having to increase the number of computer workstations by 2 and the number of seats by one third.

Wanserski reported that Deborah Helman, currently of MIT, has been hired to be the new Director of the Wendt Engineering Library. Remodeling has been undertaken on the 1 st floor where 40 new computer workstations in pods have been added. 50,000 items have been removed to the Science Libraries Storage

Kruse reported that “Zinefest”, hosted by College Library as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival, was a well-attended and dynamic event.

Gilbertson reported that Steenbock has made a concerted effort to eliminate print journal subscriptions in favor of only online access. Steenbock has eliminated 78 Elsevier and 20 Springer print subscriptions.

Barkan reported that the Law School is undergoing an administrative restructuring. There is the possibility of merging the Law School's IT Department with the Law Library.

Carr reported that the week of November 15 is “American Education Week”. In conjunction with this event, the CIMC will host 3 workshops: 1) Learning Objects in Education, 2) Evaluating Information and Technology Resources and 3) Designing Classroom Assignments. She also said that 3 emeritus professors (Romberg, Carpenter and Fennimore) have provided funds to support some expensive CIMC journals.


3. The Library as Place.

Van Gemert talked about the importance of the Library as a Place [handout], as evidenced from the comments of undergraduates in the LibQual+ survey which was conducted earlier this year. Campus libraries reached or exceeded expectations in the category “community space for group learning and group study". At the same time, libraries failed to exceed minimum expectations for "library space that inspires study and learning". Other areas of concern are the lack of enough quiet study space and hours of operation. Evidence revealed that “help” is “user defined” and means any help that promotes academic success.

Looking toward the future, College Library will be looking at providing more quiet study space. A new Music Library is to be built in the campus arts corridor.

Comments: Edwards commented on the need for even more input from students through the ASM Student Governance Committee. Limited access to materials is an issue for students. Carr described a growing problem with cell phone usage in libraries and described how the CIMC has a “cell phone corner” where users go to talk on their cell phones. Gilbertson described how Steenbock was able to provide a place for “Nutritional Dietetics” groups which lost their group study space after the Health Sciences Library moved. Burton described Ebling Library as having two identities: 1) educational and instructional, and 2) corporate. For users who dont come into the library, Ebling will “push out” the customized journal. Other points included the social role played by computer labs, and the need for undergraduates to have an academic/social environment.


4. Coping with the journals crisis.

Frazier received approval from the Chair to treat agenda item #4 as an informational item. Campus Libraries continue to have a strong serials collection despite cancellations. Journal cancellations within the GLS totaled $109,000 representing 155 titles. Ebling cancelled few titles this year. STM journals continue to be the biggest impediment. 10% anticipated journal price increases in 2005 will be further exacerbated by a weak dollar abroad. Frazier said that WILS (Wisconsin Library Services) received another letter from lawyers representing Elsevier. Elsevier wants WILS to pay royalties for content delivered via interlibrary loan. Campus already pays in excess of one million per year to Elsevier plus tens of thousands in additional royalties through Wisconsin Tech Search. There is a possibility that we would not sign our renewal license with Elsevier.

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