VCU Arts Library Committee
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
4th Floor Conference Room, James Branch Cabell Library
Susie Ganch, Sonali Gulati, Khaled Hamid, Lea Marshall, Roy McKelvey (chair), Janet Rodgers, Barbara Tisserat, Roberto Ventura, Stephen Vitiello, Sara Wilson-McKay
Staff: Pat Flanagan, Yuki Hibben, Kristina Keogh, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from November 2009
The minutes were approved as presented.
Library collections and storage/recycling initiative - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that he had sent an email to the Committee regarding the initiative to relocate some collection materials to storage and to dispose of some materials by recycling. To clear off the second floor for the new Learning Commons, materials there will be relocated, either to the first floor of Cabell, to storage in the basement of Cabell, or to the new storage facility at 500 Academic Centre. To make room in these locations for the 2nd floor materials, some materials will be removed from the collections and sent to the University’s recycling contractor. He referred Committee members to the handout, a printout of the page on the VCU Libraries website detailing the initiative and the criteria used as guidelines for the effort. Materials targeted for removal fall into four broad categories:
- Duplicated print journals: In the past, the VCU Libraries had two subscriptions to some journals, so that print copies could be housed on both campuses for access by faculty. The need for duplicate print journals on each campus has virtually disappeared. Where the library system owns two print copies of a journal, the best print copy will be retained and the duplicate copy removed from the collection.
- Superceded print indexes: these are indexes that now exist entirely online. The VCU Libraries discontinued the print version of many of the indexes in the 1990s.
- Superceded reference titles: reference works that have been replaced by later editions and which have no intrinsic scholarly value.
- Materials from the Patent and Trademark collection. VCU Libraries withdrew from the Patent Trademark Repository Program in spring 2009, since these materials now are all available online. Items held at VCU will be returned to the USP&T office.
In discussion, Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that all items are being recycled, not thrown away. Also, the number of volumes being taken in far exceeds the number being lost so the collection will actually continue to grow in size. Faculty have asked about obtaining print copies of discarded journals and some discarded reference titles for their offices; this may be possible.
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that this kind of action for maintaining print collections is commonplace now as libraries struggle with collection size and digital conversion. In fact, the University of California, by 2020, will require that all text books be available online. In another space saving venture, universities are coordinating the retention of journal collections so that they don’t all have to keep all copies of print journal runs, but can identify certain universities to keep certain items in perpetuity. This would allow other universities to discard their copies, and use interlibrary loan to supply print copies when needed.
Reports and Discussion
Update on library space planning
Mr. Ulmschneider said that VCU Libraries has not yet received a report back from the space consultants, BCWH and their sub-contractors, Lucker and Tappe, who are reviewing space needs for VCU’s library system, both now and in the future of both libraries. During November and December, the consultants met with faculty, deans, the Provost, students, staff, and other stakeholders to talk about library needs, and also gathered quantitative profile information about VCU and the VCU Libraries. Together, the interviews and data will allow the consultants to develop a comprehensive view of current library space needs at VCU and projected space needs over the next 20-30 years. The consulting firms completed their research phase in December and will be finishing a final report in the spring. As part of this process, John Duke had developed a projection for collection growth that extended out 30 years. The VCU Libraries will share the draft and final reports with the Committee when it becomes available. The report focuses on the more immediate need for a new library/addition on Monroe Park but also addresses the requirements for renovation of Tompkins-McCaw Library.
In discussion which followed, Mr. Ulmschneider elaborated on the plans for the Learning Commons. He explained that that the furniture will be similar to what has already been added to the 2nd floor and there will also be a multi-purpose room which will be available to students when not used as a classroom. Mr. Ulmschneider also reported that the renovations to all three elevators in Cabell are nearly complete and while the interior finishes are quite nice and less likely to be written on, the best feature is that all 3 have new motors and controls…and are much less likely to malfunction between floors while carrying people! There was general approval about other new features on in the Cabell public spaces, including the computer-use display that allows students to see how many computers are available in Cabell. Also, because of their immense popularity, and to stop students from writing on the windows in the 2nd floor studies, every study space now has white boards.
Restoration of some hours and services; latest budget news
Mr. Ulmschneider began by saying there’s no more “new” news. He referred to Vice-President John Bennett’s presentation which paints a sobering but accurate picture of what lies ahead for VCU. It makes two points very clear:
- VCU is underfunded, relative to other institutions, by approximately $4,000 per student
- VCU is short over 500 teaching positions, again relative to other institutions.
VCU can expect to lose over $65 million in funding by the budget year 2011/2012. As a result, VCU will have to reduce expenses as well as increase tuition and look for other revenue streams, including private funding.
Mr. Ulmschneider told the Committee that to meet budget constraints, some library services and operations had been reduced. However, through staff reassignments and with funding from unexpectedly vacant positions, it has been possible to restore some services. Restoration of hours at Tompkins-McCaw Library had emerged during the fall as a top priority, along with 24x5 service at the end of the semester. In response to those priorities, services were adjusted in three areas:
- TML will again be open on Saturdays and will keep its full hours of operation across the summer months
- Hours have been restored to Media and Reserve Services
- The 24/5 service was restored for 1 week in December and for the full 3 weeks this coming May, 2010.
Mr. Ulmschneider underscored that the VCU Libraries did not receive additional funding for these changes, but accomplished them through reassignments and funding from unexpected vacancies. So far, VCU has not reduced funding for the purchase of library materials, since these are so important to the work of students and faculty throughout VCU, and particularly important to existing and planned graduate programs. However, personnel and operating budgets within the VCU Libraries, as with most other units at VCU, have been reduced.
Exhibit planning for fall 2010
Ms. Hibben told the Committee that through the efforts and generosity of Dr. Gulati, there will be 2 media stations set up on the first floor and these will run a continuous video loop of work in the Department of Photography. These stations will be up and running tomorrow and will be featured in the Library News.
There was extensive discussion about the future of the exhibit space and exhibition of art in general. Ms. Hibben said that it seems to be the consensus of the faculty that they want students to run or curate any art that is to be exhibited. She said this is very difficult to implement because of the elusive nature of the student art community. There are at least 21 student organizations related to art, each with its own membership, some large, some as small as one person, and not every department is represented. Because student interest fluctuates, so do the membership numbers. Creation of a new student group for the purpose of curating an art exhibit in the VCU Libraries has to, by guidelines, come from the student body, again a very difficult thing to facilitate. It’s possible that the existing CLUAC might be a possible group to approach about this.
Mr. Ulmschneider suggested a two step approach to the problem:
- Approach Anderson Gallery about creating a permanent presence in both libraries, in addition to whatever ongoing art exhibit directly from students is eventually installed.
- Add some new artwork to the halls and walls of TML.
He also suggested that he and Roy McKelvey, as chair of this Committee, draft a message to be sent to faculty about this project and see if they can generate interest and a possible volunteer. Ms. Hibben said she had sent a message last year and had gotten no response but perhaps a more enthusiastic message from Ulmschneider and McKelvey might do the trick. Futhermore, Mr. Ulmschneider said he would contact Anderson Gallery about moving this forward and asked Ms. Hibben and Ms. Keogh to join him in that effort. He also thanked Dr. Gulati for her efforts and her support in the media display planned for this week and Dr. Vitiello for his continued support of art exhibition in VCU Libraries
The discussion touched on several points, among them:
- This Committee could spearhead the effort to include dedicated art exhibition space in the design for the new building.
- Performing arts could be represented by video and in set design displays.
- Should a volunteer make themselves known to any of the Committee, please contact either Mr. Ulmschneider or Mr. McKelvey.
- Dr. Vitiello suggested that having the area past the elevators on the 1st floor reconfigured to house a permanent art display might inspire someone to step forward as curator; that perhaps having a dedicated space might make this seem more like a project that is underway and not completely from the ground up.
- Interior Design department might be interested in being involved. Dr. Ventura will look into this possibility.
- A student competition to design a permanent art exhibition area might generate interest, especially if there is a financial reward.
- Mr. Ulmschneider offered to put up the $500 for the student competition.
Demo: VCU Libraries new website - handout
Ms. Keogh began by referring to the handout which gives the reader a step-by-step walk through of the navigation options on the new web site. She then highlighted several new features for the Committee:
- Google search image actually takes the user to Google.
- Presentation rehearsal studio – a new room which allows students to practice their presentations, as well as record them. The student can then take their presentation on a thumb-drive for review, practice or submission. This room on the 1st floor of Cabell in the far back SW corner.
- Resource Guides offer searches in a variety of ways including the familiar A to Z and by subject headings.
- Compass is a compilation of several specific search tools.
- Tools & Gadgets which offers the user interface with multiple tools and library resources.
Mr. Ulmschneider thanked the VCU Libraries staff for this new web site, in particular Susan Teague-Rector, who spearheaded the design and implementation of the site. The overall goal was to have a new site that was utility focused and it seems this has been achieved. The new site was released following the release of VCU’s new site design in August. (Ms. Teague-Rector has also worked with the Faculty Senate on their site.)
Mr. Ulmschneider pointed out the flyer in the packet concerning the Black History Month Lecture, to be held on February 9th. He said that Virginia Union University is planning a series of events and VCU Libraries’ event is designed to compliment those plans. The lecture will be held at the Singleton Center.
The Brown-Lyons Lecture, March 25th, will be an exciting event. The speaker, Dr. Jack Spiro, will speak about his attendance at trial of Adolf Eichmann. This lecture will be also held at the Singleton Center at 7:30 p.m.
The meeting adjourned at 6:10 p.m.