A Bittersweet Year
This past academic year, beginning in July 2008 has been a whirlwind of events that could only be described as bittersweet and busy for your colleagues in the Library. The “sweet” part is that plans for the new library continue, even in the midst of these difficult economic times and Library faculty and staff continue to refine and develop innovative services and access to additional collections. I confess that I wait daily for the “call” that will tell us the new Library has been postponed, reduced in scale, or worst of all cancelled. So far, so good on that topic and as a matter of fact, we are getting ready to see the first round of drawings. I look forward to sharing them with you as we move ahead. The “bitter” part of the year stems from the fact that the Library is preparing for $100,000 in cuts to our budget and the loss of two faculty instruction librarian positions.
As you know, locally and nationally other universities and their libraries are experiencing similar cuts to personnel and services. Unfortunately, the Lupton Library, even when fully staffed and with full budget, is under-resourced compared to just about every library group I could identify. Using information collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, I compared UTC’s Lupton Library to the two other undergraduate institutions within the University of Tennessee system: Martin and Knoxville.
The IPEDs are gathered every two years, so 2006 is the most recent data available.
Here is a brief comparison of how UTC measures against our UT peers in regards to staffing and expenditures on collections:
|2006 UT Library Comparison||Chattanooga||Martin||Knoxville|
|FTE, Students 2006||7,774||6,125||27,045|
|Total Staff, per 1000 FTE Students||4.89||6.20||10.50|
|Total Expenditures, per FTE Students||337.53||283.63||845.68|
As you can see from the above UTC’s Lupton Library has significantly fewer faculty librarians and staff specialists than our colleagues at UT Martin and Knoxville, while our expenditures per students are greater than Martin, but significantly less than Knoxville.
If we cast the net a little wider, using the same data points, we can compare UTC’s Lupton Library to libraries assigned as our THEC peers. Here is a brief comparison of the UTC Library against our THEC Peers:
|2006 THEC Library Comparison||2006 Library Staff Per 1,000 Enrolled (FTE)||2006 Library Expenditures Per Student (FTE)|
|Florida Agricultural and Mechancial Univ.||9.27||539|
|Appalachian State University||7.14||462|
|Western Carolina University||7.06||546|
|University of West Florida||6.98||406|
|U. of Arkansas Little Rock||5.94||320|
|U. of North Carolina Wilmington||5.65||383|
|Sam Houston State University||5.65||317|
|Murray State University||5.63||245|
|Morgan State University||5.59||did not submit|
|Louisiana Tech University||5.5||242|
|North Caroline A & T State University||4.65||412|
|University of North Florida||4.57||264|
As you can see Lupton Library is near the bottom, 11th out of 13th, in staffing, and in the middle of the pack, 7th out of 12th in regards to spending on collections. Our position will worsen in regards to staffing and collections with our upcoming budget cuts, especially due to UTC’s increasing enrollment. These same patterns hold true in comparison to our colleagues at 4 year TBR institutions, as well as a random national sampling of institutions of comparable size.
For the past five years the Lupton Library has been engaged in a reengineering efforts to best serve our campus with our limited resources. These efforts have proven extremely successful as just about every library indicator is up: from our gate count, to students receiving classroom instruction, to the number of electronic journals patrons can access, to mention just a few. I recently returned from the American Library Association’s national conference and came away more impressed than ever with the work that our small band of librarians and staff do for the UTC community. You should know that the Lupton Library is offering more innovative services than libraries with three times our staffing and resources!
As we begin to prepare for the budget cuts that face us, I ask for your patience. These cuts represent a 13% cut to our faculty positions and a 9% reduction to our collections and operating budget. We are pulling together the necessary statistics that document use of our collections, services, and our facilities. These statistics, along with conversation with key stakeholders, will be used to determine how we move ahead. I can assure you that we will consult broadly with the UTC community and that our decisions will be data driven.
If you would like to give us your input on current or future library operations, we would welcome hearing your thoughts. An open campus meeting will be announced in March to offer the opportunity to dialogue with library faculty and staff about the upcoming cuts. In addition, if you would like to provide us input online, please visit our wiki at http://blog.lib.utc.edu/economy/. As always, I am happy to talk one-on-one, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at 423-425-4508 or email@example.com. Good luck with your Spring Semester!