I am putting the final touches on the Library’s Annual Report for 2008-2009 and this message finds me in a reflective frame of mind. I was struck this year by the fact that the life of the Library was dominated by unusual highs and lows, coupled with our ever present, ongoing challenge to continually improve and enhance our services, collections, and facilities for use by students and faculty.
The year’s highs included continued development of the new campus library, including many new partnerships that will formulate in the new shared physical space. The year’s lows were brought about by campus budget cuts with the Library specifically asked to give back approximately 8% of its budget, impacting personnel, materials, hours, and other operating expenses. Dealing with the cut to the Library’s material budget was time intensive and necessitated creating a methodology for review and determining cuts, working closely with 30 academic departments, reviewing thousands of serials titles and usage data, and contacting vendors. The impact on personnel was also dramatic with more than 25% of our already small professional ranks vacant at one time.
Please take a few minutes out of your day and try to join us at the Library’s 1st Annual Open House to be held on Thursday, September 10 at 3:00 pm in Library 208.
In the meantime, below are some Library highlights from the year past and hopes for the year ahead:
The New Building
The new building program statement was completed and approved by administration at the UTC and UT-levels. An IT Infrastructure document was created to forecast IT costs. Conversations were initiated regarding future ITD and Library collaborations. A list of future staffing needs was submitted. In June the legislature debated stopping the Library project due to changes in the funding source. Much to our relief the legislature eventually agreed to continue to fund the project. Ground for the new Library should be broken in January 2010. Read The News You’ve All Been Waiting For for additional information on the new building.
Library Faculty and Staff
The campus hiring freeze made meeting routine services challenging as vacant positions were not filled immediately. At one point the Library had four vacant professional positions, in addition to 1 vacant staff position, amounting to a 20% drop in our workforce. Many, many hours were spent discussing changes to the Library’s organizational structure and position duties in order to maximize use of our limited personnel resources. Recruitments were begun in late Spring to fill two of our four professional vacancies. Meet two new members of the library faculty at these links: Lane Wilkinson and Caitlin Shanley.
The Library’s budget remained flat for 2008-2009, with a planned $100,000 reduction going into 2009-2010. $70,000 in one-time funds were provided to help cover inflation on materials. Many, many hours were spent library-wide discussing what collections, services, and operations to reduce, as well as planning for the implementation of these changes.
Services to students and faculty continued to evolve in the year past though our ability to focus on them was limited in the sense of time, personnel, and money. Library faculty and staff enhanced a range of existing services via the implementation of new technologies, in particular in the areas of instruction, interlibrary loan, and circulation. Read about our upcoming workshops and new equipment available for borrowing.
The focus on collections this year was dominated by the budget cut to journals. All library faculty were asked to review and select journals to cut and to serve as contacts for academic department faculty. Subscription costs were analyzed and organized by academic department or college with the goal being to distribute the cuts in proportion to current departmental support. On a positive note, a number of new online collections were added at the end of the year with salary savings money from “frozen” positions, including a new streaming media collection and over 10,000 electronic books. Read about the cuts to serials and some of our new resources.
In the Fall of 2008 the Library welcomed 23 members of the English faculty to the building while the Grote renovation continues. This Fall (2009), 3 members of the Math Department will join us. In addition, the Library converted two spaces into classrooms, Room 207 and the Southern Writers Room, to meet campus needs. In the year past the Library worked with Campus Facilities on the implementation of a new security system and new overnight cleaning routines. Read about new building hours and changes to the 2nd floor layout as a result of journal cancellations.
If you would like to give us your input on current or future library operations, we would welcome hearing your thoughts. As always, I am happy to talk one-on-one, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at 423-425-4508 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck with your Fall Semester!